Verizon Digital Media Services: Executive Predictions 2019
While streaming video has become a ubiquitous part of American life, it has only begun to take off in international markets. With 4G and 5G infrastructure permeating remote regions, I predict 2019 to be the year of OTT proliferation worldwide. Africa and the Middle East are expected to lead the boom, with a twelvefold surge in traffic, according to Cisco’s 2017 data forecast, and much of that growth will be in video. For global media companies, this is the beginning of a gold rush, with the broadcasters who are willing to experiment with strategies as unique as the markets they hope to reach coming out on top.
Breaking into emerging OTT markets require broadcasters to find technology partners that can optimize for mobile-first markets. That means a content delivery network (CDN) designed specifically to leave a smaller footprint, manage traffic proactively, and cache content effectively.
The question of how to successfully monetize OTT services requires as much creativity and patience as acquiring content and developing infrastructure. Companies looking to expand quickly may wish to deploy alternatives to pure subscription plays, including a pay-per-view model, embedded advertising, or a Hulu-like hybrid where customers can pay to eliminate ads. Developing market-specific payment models will doubtlessly require experimentation, and platforms that are nimble enough to pivot from one method to another quickly.
The winners in the global OTT race will be the broadcasters who develop both the platform and the programming, not for the internet the developing world has today, but the one it will have tomorrow. That way, when a market opens up to high-quality video streaming, their binge-worthy shows are already waiting for them.
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