Over the last two years, we've seen a surge in OTT offerings as viewers insist on watching what they want, when they want, on any device, anywhere. Major content creators like Netflix and Amazon have made significant strides to push this technology into the mainstream, however true mass adoption will happen when traditional broadcast companies adopt OTT in a significant way. AkamaiTV's Ian Munford recently sat down with Mark Harrison and Rowan de Pomerai from the Digital Production Partnership to discuss this.
Mark and Rowan liken broadcasters' move from linear to OTT to steering a large oil tanker. These companies have invested 80 years building out linear workflows, infrastructure and the highly profitable advertising-based business model. In light of this, Mark and Rowan argue that OTT's future will rely less on technological advancements and more on viewer behaviors to influence companies to re-invent long-standing business models. To chart a new course, the tanker must be guided by a combination of viewer behaviors, global market trends and collaboratively driven standards across streaming workflows, such as file formats and encoding processes.
The success of OTT will also depend on how well large telcos deploy 5G. No matter how fast their services might be, they have to be able to reach as many people as possible in small, highly-populated areas.
OTT providers are also at a crossroads in the realm of search and discovery. Viewers may face issues streaming their favorite movies and TV shows if the content is hard to find in the first place. Voice search, Mark and Rowan say, will help people wade through the wealth of programming at their fingertips. But if providers limit search capabilities to offerings from their own platforms, we'll all come up short.
Ultimately, the power to persuade these companies to move along rests with the viewer. They curate playlists off of social networks, influence the development of standards and demand access to information.
Mark and Rowan point to the evolution of the publishing industry as an example. As more readers demanded access to content from their phones and tablets, so followed the publishers in providing that access. However, the initial transition limited how authors were compensated. This too will have to be fixed as OTT is adopted.
For a closer look at the challenges the broadcast industry must overcome and the ways it can be persuaded by the global community, check out the full video above.
Be sure to tune in next week when we look at the future of broadcast formats and evaluate the potential winners and losers in the continuing format wars.
Shane Keats is Director of Industry Marketing for Media at Akamai.