With more people “cutting the cord” (a recent study cited that the U.S. Pay TV Sector lost 600,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2015, the most ever), it’s becoming clear that OTT is a burgeoning opportunity to reach audiences with video content. Whether it’s ex-pat focused regional TV shows, like Dramafever, or Hollywood content, like Netflix, there is plenty of room in the market for a variety of different OTT offerings. Yours could be one of them.
But what does it take to bring an OTT offering to the market? Is it as simple as just having the video content and a server to deliver it? Not exactly. If you want to have a sticky, engaging OTT platform where your viewers are returning time and again, you’ll need to ensure the best possible Quality of Experience (QoE). Only there are a host of challenges you need to address. From how you are going to deliver your video to supporting the customer experience, that QoE is dependent upon how you tackle these common OTT obstacles:
- Delivery—how are you going to deliver your video? Sure, you can do it yourself (host your own origins, buy your own bandwidth) but it doesn’t make sense if you want to deliver at scale. To do that, you’d need to install your origin and delivery servers around the world so that your content is as close to users as possible and that can get costly. The easy solution? Utilize Limelight Networks as your CDN to deliver your video around the world.
- Mobile—how are you going to ensure that your video is playable on all those devices? First, you need to know which device is requesting the content and then you need to grab the right file and deliver it to them? Why worry about that hassle when Limelight can do it for you? With our Orchestrate Video delivery services, your content can be automatically converted into the appropriate mobile formats. So you no longer have to worry about pre-converting your content for Apple, Android, and other devices. The network does it all for you.
- Reporting and analytics—if you don’t understand what’s happening with your video consumption (who’s watching what content, where, from what device, when are they abandoning, etc.) then you can’t make the business decisions you need to about your content. Although Limelight offers some great analytics through the Orchestrate Video platform, if you are looking for something comprehensive, you should marry our analytics with Youbora, a client-side plugin for your video player that tracks dozens of KPIs.
- Monetization—whether you are charging per view, a subscription fee, or subsidizing through advertising, you need a monetization strategy and the technology to help you implement it. Limelight Orchestrate Video includes VAST 3.0- and DART-compliant ad insertion features (with integration to popular ad servers) for your pre-and post-roll needs enabling you to quickly and easily monetize your video without the need to utilize additional third-party services.
- Security—how are you going to protect your content? You have lots of options such as Digital Rights Management or DRM (that can encrypt your content), geo-fencing (which limits geographically where your content can be viewed), tokenization (which expires URLs after a certain period of time), and even DDoS mitigation (which prevents attacks from taking down your web portal). Limelight has a comprehensive suite of security services designed to ensure that your content is always available to the people who have the rights to view it.
- Management—everyone needs a way to keep all that content organized but an Excel spreadsheet isn’t going to cut it. You need a way to manage your content while enabling you to quickly and easily publish it to a variety of channels. Limelight Orchestrate Video includes a powerful, integrated OVP (online video platform) through which you can create channels, manage metadata, edit video, and even publish to YouTube directly all from a web-based interface that anyone in your organization can use.
- Interface—part of your QoE is how easy you make it for your viewers to consume, discover, and share content. Without an engaging user interface and user experience, you’ll never get the stickiness that you need to make your OTT platform a success. Limelight helps you build that interface through powerful APIs that enable you to build a robust and integrated workflow to support your specific business requirements. Sure, you are responsible for putting it all together, but we make it easier by providing you the tools to connect your interface seamlessly with our network and software.
- Support—building and launching your OTT is the easy part. The hard part comes after when you need to ensure that your users are having the best possible QoE that you can provide. That means that you’re available whenever your users are consuming your content. Thankfully, when you’re using Limelight’s services to power your OTT platform, we’ve got you covered 24/7/365.
Building an OTT solution is no Saturday night project but it’s also not a Herculean task. Sure, it takes careful planning to provide the kind of experience that will keep users coming back again and again, but building, launching, and supporting an OTT platform is something that any organization can tackle especially with a partner like Limelight.
And in case you are super, super serious about building an OTT platform, this blog post was excerpted from our upcoming book, How to Build an OTT Platform coming out this fall which will have all the nitty-gritty details (including real-world examples) of everything you need to launch your own OTT offering.
Image courtesy of Roku.