How to start your own OTT service?
Starting your OTT service can be quite a challenge. Here, we are going to share some information on what your tech solution provider should be able to do for you and what you should expect.
The past couple of years has been one of the craziest periods of the 21st century so far. With lockdowns and all of the restrictions, most of the things started moving backward. However, OTT was not one of those things as suitable conditions were created that gave the whole industry an unexpected boost forward. OTT has been on the steady growth path for the past decade or so, picking up speed in the last few years, but this lock-down period gave it an extra nudge.
As a result, everyone started looking into the benefits of being present online with their content. What was a long-term plan for some providers suddenly became a short-term objective; getting a streaming service up and running in order to stay competitive.
All of a sudden OTT platforms are popping up all over the world giving viewers opportunities to consume content on their own terms.
With access to content and to potential customers, you decide to start planning your future OTT venture. However, how do you start? What do you need? How do you build a sustainable and efficient OTT service? For even more detailed information we recommend reading our "How to start an IPTV/OTT service" whitepaper.
The first question to ask yourself is do I have enough content? Regardless of the scale of your OTT service, if you are not providing your viewers with enough engaging content the service will have difficulty retaining viewers, period. It does not matter whether you have a small-scale specific niche type of service or you cover a wider market. At the end of the day, if there is no sufficient content even the best-looking, feature-packed solution will not keep you up and running for the long run.
Even before you start thinking about the content you have to offer, you need to answer questions about you, your competition, your industry, marketing segment and other basic questions. We have prepared a whitepaper "How to prepare marketing strategy that will help you supercharge your IPTV/OTT service" that you can download for free, HERE. We created this whitepaper to be used as a step-by-step manual to create a marketing and sales strategy for your OTT/IPTV project.
Next, you would need a tech service provider. OTT service is an investment so chosen OTT solution vendor also needs to be your tech partner that has experience in handling small to large-scale OTT projects and can provide a scalable solution that can easily expand as your user base grows.
An OTT service can be quite a costly endeavor so you definitely need a good tech partner that will help you lower the operating costs and with minimizing the need for extra hardware in order to keep your entry cost to a minimum. A good tech provider will have a ‘we grow as you grow’ approach to new operators. This approach enables operators to start the TV service with minimum investment giving them the opportunity to expand their subscriber base.
Tech provider with extensive experience and knowledge in the multiscreen end-to-end systems, that works closely with the operator will be able to transfer knowledge to the operator’s technical team quickly enabling them to operate an OTT platform. A good, professional provider will be able to provide you with project management services, as well as integration and professional services and that should guarantee both quality and on-time launch of the proposed solution, decreasing the risk to miss the service launch deadlines. Basically, your tech provider should be a 1-stop-shop for all of your OTT needs, and that is exactly what the UniqCast team can do for you. We can offer you a complete turnkey solution that covers each and every aspect of the OTT chain from ingesting of content all the way to its protected delivery to your viewers
OTT service is an investment so a good service provider will be your technology partner that has experience in handling a range of small to large-scale OTT projects and can provide a scalable solution that can easily expand as your user base grows.
With extensive OTT experience on 4 continents, we deliver a great yet affordable service that will enable you, the operator, to build a successful OTT project. Each OTT service is specific so experience in the industry plays a vital role in ensuring that it will be fully functional and provide a great user experience for your subscribers. To learn more about our services get in touch with us at www.uniqcast.com.
What else should a tech provider and the offered OTT solution deliver?
You definitely want to have an OTT turnkey solution built on an open architecture with open technologies that will allow you to efficiently deliver video content on multiple screens while providing a unique viewing experience for your users. Chosen OTT solution should use a scalable and modular architecture that can be easily integrated into existing workflow based on your business needs. In the process of setting up an OTT service, you will have some specific needs so the tech partner needs to be flexible enough to accommodate those needs. That usually means being able to do additional integrations or adding new features.
Make sure that your solution provider has a strong development department that is constantly working on adding new features and optimizing the OTT platform because you want to have your subscribers constantly get the latest and most popular features and not lag behind the other OTT apps. Yes, the content is important, but you need to have it delivered in the best user-experience way possible.
Since you are investing your money in the project it is crucial that you have all hands on deck in actually managing the service you are providing. That means that a great OTT solution always has a very versatile admin management console that gives you a maximum degree of independence in running your service where the solution provider is just your support and help in case you need it. Administration, geo zones, languages, devices, metadata, on-demand content, live content, trailers, posters, analytics, catalogs, packages, in-app communication, personalization, visual appearance and so much more needs to be available for you to manage by yourself.
What about the supported platforms and their management?
Definitely, you need a platform that can support both iOS and Android, STB, web, and SmartTV. All devices should be managed from one platform to minimize operational costs and simplify troubleshooting. Additionally, support for Android STB should enable operators to add other apps like YouTube and other video services and to have control over which apps are shown to the users.
How important is the user experience?
It is crucial! User experience is the most important factor that will render your OTT project a success or failure. With today’s users becoming increasingly impatient the app has to look appealing with fast, responsive navigation. The more the app is user-friendly and has simple content discovery viewers will use it more. Add to the mix features like catch-up TV, nPVR (network personal video recorder), restartTV, and similar features and you are on your way to creating future loyal users. For the best UX, you want to have a consistent-looking OTT service meaning that the user will easily move from one supported platform/device to another while having a seamless experience with the most similar user interfaces as much as certain platforms will allow it.
What about the monetization strategy?
To oversimplify, you need to decide whether you will be going for a subscription-based model or focus on making money from selling individually, usually a premium, pay-per-view content, or a combination of those options. Maybe you decide to go for an ad-based service. Anyway, these days we are going to see more and more services moving into a hybrid combination of the mentioned models, as all of them have some advantages and disadvantages. SVOD in itself is good for having a steady monthly income but if the viewers start consuming more content without new subscribers being added then you might have an increase in operational costs (CDN, DRM, bandwith…). Ad-based model is becoming more popular because of the saturation of the SVOD market and the willingness of users to have too many services’ subscriptions. However, this is a more volatile model dependent on the market and the presence of the actual advertisers.
At this stage, you have decided on the business model. Now you are probably anxious to get your app out on the market. While you need to have a provider that can get you up and running fast, you also want to make sure that you covered all of the necessary aspects of the OTT service because the quality of service is the most important aspect. Also, make sure you are prepared to provide the solution provider with all the required information regarding the OTT service you wish to have. That in itself will speed time to market immensely. Even with everything prepared in a timely fashion going live still does take time, make no doubt about it. OTT service is a complex project with many elements and taking the time to set it up properly with a good plan will prepare you for the best possible rollout onto the market. Again, we at UniqCast always make sure that we guide you through the process in detail from day one.
User experience is the most important factor that will render your OTT project a success or failure.
How will I know how my OTT service is doing?
Getting a plethora of data from your service is extremely important. This data about the service usage, who, when, what, how much will provide you with the invaluable set of information that will enable you to make the best decision regarding your service in terms of where to put your marketing and sales focus in making your OTT service a great success.
In the end, you want to make sure that your OTT provider has great references. There are many aspects to consider and you want to have a trusted partner that can deliver the best solution for your customers.
A great OTT solution provider will have all these elements available, and be your partner in the project, not just a vendor. Uniqcast can show you how a great provider should approach any OTT project. To get you started on your OTT journey get in touch us at firstname.lastname@example.org. With our combined OTT, IPTV, DVB experience on projects both big and small all over the world, we can definitely be your trusted partner.