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Our Guide on Going OTT – Don’t be afraid. Be prepared.

Our Guide on Going OTT. Don't be afraid. Be prepared.

Posted on October 5th, 2017 by Lisa Hagin

In today’s splintered media landscape, finding the right mix of delivery options can be daunting and overwhelming. The list of questions is long. The concerns are real. The complexity is only growing. Many consumers are getting creative in how they consume content. From cable and over-the-air services combined with OTT and TVE solutions, like Netflix and Hulu, it’s clear that it’s time to jump in with both feet. But, fear not, you don’t have to swim alone on this one!  

First Step – A Plan

The first step in the process is to put together a plan. Don’t worry, you don’t need all of the answers today, and there are partners that can help. However, you do need to think about your strategy. At Encompass, we recommend a few steps to get you headed in the right direction. And, by the way, these steps will help answer that long list of questions I mentioned above and that are rattling around in your head (and come up constantly in meetings).

It’s All About the Content

Just like with your linear channel today, you have to define what makes your product unique. Who’s your target audience? You know, the basics, but in the OTT world it is a bit more complex. You must also think about the right content mix. Does a live, linear channel make sense when reaching your consumers directly? Or, is a video-on-demand (VOD) only service the right option? While you are thinking about this topic, you need to make sure your catalog is licensed for digital delivery. And, of course, if you are thinking about an international OTT platform (hey, it is a new world, you have options), you will have to review geographic licensing specifics as well. Revisit your licensing agreements – make sure you have a firm grasp of your options. Review your content, remember your audience, and program a killer platform that folks will want to return to again and again.  

Make Some Money

Again, not a revolutionary concept – and I know you already knew that you have to make money, but, it wasn’t that long ago that content owners were putting video online just for marketing or branding purposes. And, there are options. Programmers are experimenting with various revenue models. There are phases to consider: SVOD, AVOD, TVOD, Linear Subscription and Hybrid models. Your revenue model will need to be thought through relative to your existing affiliate distribution deals (if any). You may need to layer in an authenticated (TVE) type experience for your existing MVPD customers. Just like you do today, you will need to market to your audience. But, in the OTT, direct-to-consumer world, it is a much more intimate experience. Think about utilizing a broad array of methods – SEO optimization, social and leverage any existing platforms you might have (website, print tie-ins, non-video apps, etc.). Ultimately, you are looking to drive potential viewers/subscribers to your platform to sample your content and the experience you are providing. Once they are there, you need a high-quality UI and experience to seamlessly transition visitors and samplers to subscribers or sticky return viewers (for an advertising supported platform).  

Details, Details, Details

What devices do you want to launch on? Web, mobile, Roku, Amazon, Apple TV, gaming consoles, connected TVs, and whatever comes tomorrow? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all at once. This is a perfect area to think about a phased solution. Think about where most of your viewers are today, based on their demographic, and start with the “biggies”. Maybe launch with the platforms that hit 60-75% of your audience. Then, as you drive subscribers and find success, add additional devices. Not only will you limit upfront expenses, this provides an excellent mechanism to go back to your audience with new features and re-engage them. That’s a great way to reduce churn. There are other details to remember as you plan:.
  • Review your agreements for content security and DRM requirements.
  • Think about payment strategies. Do you want to leverage Apple, Google and Roku stores, for example, to drive subscriptions via their marketing reach? Perhaps. But you will have to share revenue!
  • And, of course, this is a direct-to-consumer business, so you will need to think about providing direct-to-consumer support. Again, an area where you can phase in additional features and support as you grow your OTT business.
 

Getting the Team On Board

Nobody likes to jump in the water and swim alone. OTT is a new business and requires total organizational buy-in. Now that you are thinking about planning an OTT solution, this is the perfect time to get feedback and guidance from all groups – content, product, marketing, sales, senior executives, technology and engineering. Going OTT is a living and breathing process. It is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. Make sure you have resources allocated to running the platform. Be prepared to experiment – with content, business models, promotions, look and feel – heck, with just about everything. Churn is a real challenge in the OTT world. Don’t be afraid. Just be prepared. There are content questions to be answered. There are technology choices to be made. There are business models to evaluate. We get it. There is a lot to consider. If you don’t have all of the required knowledge or expertise in-house, don’t let that stop you. You don’t have to walk the path alone. Find the right partners, with real expertise, to guide you down the road. Managed services providers are a great way to get the process started. You worry about the hard part – creating or licensing great programming and selling it. Find a strong partner to help you navigate the remainder.  

Encompass can help you make the shift to OTT.

Contact us today to start navigating the process.  

Posted in: OTT