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12 Top Features Your OTT Platform Needs to Be Successful

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If you’re reading this article, it means you are considering IPTV/OTT platform development. Before you find a professional OTT or IPTV solution provider, you need to know what you are looking for. What follows is a handy list of IPTV/OTT platform features content owners should consider if they are looking to launch such platforms for content distribution and monetization, no matter their niche or industry. These features ensure a great user experiences at both ends: content distributors and those using the platform for watching content. We've got your back?, with more than 10 features that you must have in your IPTV/OTT platform of choice.    

1. Full Customization

A fully customizable OTT platform is a boon for companies looking to create their own content distribution platforms. A customizable platform means they get an existing stable architecture that they can then build on top of to make the platform completely their own. They can brand the platform in the way they need and even add additional third-party features and plugins to boost the usability of the platform.

2. SaaS or SaaP

SaaS (software as a service) enables users to access systems on the cloud through connected devices. On the other hand, SaaP (software as a product) allows users to host the platform on their own servers. In the case of IPTV/OTT platforms, the SaaP allows companies to fully control the platform directly to the host. This makes it easier to make customizations and repairs. It also stores all data on a secure internal server, and this may make cyberattacks and hacks less likely.

3. Video Hosting

The backbone of an IPTV/OTT platform is the video content it offers. Therefore, any IPTV solutions worth their salt will make video hosting accessible and easy to navigate. This hosting can be local, where the videos are hosted on the company's servers. It can also be on the cloud and then accessed through individual devices. Likewise, streaming can be enabled using your own server or cloud. Different companies choose different options, but in general, agree that video hosting is a must.

4. Centralized Video Content Management System (CMS)

Video content management systems allow enterprises to better store, organize, and distribute their content assets. They offer optimized video profiles and allow content distributors to upload, edit, tag, and sort their video content based on various metrics. It is essential for an IPTV/OTT platform, given that it supports a heavy load of video content and enables quick and user-friendly distribution without system disruptions. Smaller businesses and platforms may be tempted to give up this investment. However, it is always best to prepare for scaling in advance and set up a centralized CMS to offset any potential complexities that may arise in the future.

5. Multi-Device Platforms

Previously, video content was almost always watched on the television. Today, video content is being consumed on multiple devices, from laptops and computers to smartphones and tablets. OTT application developers or VOD platform companies would do well to provide multi-device support when building their OTT platform to ensure broad reach and cover all segments of the potential audience. This doesn't stop with customizing the platform for viewership on different devices?—?it also means that there needs to be a mechanism to optimize videos according to available network connections, screen resolutions, data synchronization, and more.

6. Video Monetization Model

Any OTT/IPTV platform business plan needs to include the lay of the land when it comes to video monetization. Advertising-supported video on-demand, or AVOD monetization, is an advertising-based revenue model that allows traditional cable channel advertising companies to reach those customers using IPTV/OTT  platforms. SVOD (Subscription video on-demand) allows users to consume as much content as they want after paying a flat fee per month (similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime). TVOD (Transaction video-on-demand) allows customers to buy video content on a pay-per-view basis. These generate steady revenue for OTT platforms without jeopardizing functionality and ease of access.

7. Deep Analytics and Insights

Audience tracking is a key aspect of the success of OTT/IPTV platform that aims to help businesses grow and scale. To that end, deep analytics and insights ensure that enterprises have a handle on who is consuming their content, from where, and at what pace. This enables them to make better business and marketing decisions and shows them just how well or poorly their content is doing. Without the right metrics, it is impossible to tune and optimize, and deep analytics can help solve this problem right from the start.

8. Video Player

This is one of the many fundamental OTT app features without which an OTT/IPTV platform loses its luster. Video players make or break the video viewing experience, as they're responsible for regulating the quality of the video based on environmental factors including the strength of the internet network. The HTML5 player works with all the popular browsers in use today, from Google Chrome and Firefox to Opera and Internet Explorer. An additional user-oriented feature that OTT/IPTV platform providers can consider is the mini-player, which keeps a mini video window open in the corner while the users continue to browse on the platform. Many of these players use Apple’s HLS video delivery protocol.

9. Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital rights and privacy are delicate issues today, and important to look out for when developing an OTT platform. The ideal setup needs to support all mainstream DRM protocols while also being a one-stop-shop for enterprises to regulate the security of your platform when they use it. Any video encryption must ideally extend to real-time broadcasting as well; anti-theft chain configuration protects decryption requests.

10. IT Infrastructure

The IT infrastructure that any OTT/IPTV platform is built on can dictate how great or poorly it performs in the long run. OTT platforms require a stable and scalable infrastructure that can support both the video content and thousands of users accessing that content from multiple devices, often all at the same time. The infrastructure should also be unbreachable so that user data isn't compromised at any time, which can jeopardize both their safety and the OTT/IPTV platform's trust factor.

11. Built-In Video Marketing Solutions

Marketing on OTT/IPTV platforms is a great way for content owners and distributors to generate additional income. Built-in video marketing solutions allow distributors to place ads where users are likely to see them the most, i.e. in the video itself. This can be in the form of skippable or non-skippable video ads, or through in-video banners that draw the eye without distracting from the video content. In general, any OTT app development company will greatly benefit from providing the opportunity for built-in video marketing solutions.

12. Payment Gateways

Integrating top payment gateways into your OTT platform is a must, because it allows content owners and distributors to generate income directly through the platform. Ideally, all popular payment gateways in the geographies you’re targeting need to be included on the platform?—for example, credit and debit cards, bank transfer, UPI wallets, etc. Choosing reliable payment gateways and integrating them securely builds trust and allows all potential actions to be performed directly on the platform, which is the norm today.

So What’s It Going to Cost?

Cost depends on what each content owner needs and what OTT features are going to be integrated. However, the highest price should not always be associated with the best features. In fact, a reasonable price can help ensure that you have the aforementioned basic functions, ready to use, leaving room to add extra "nice-to-have" features once the platform takes off.

[Editor’s note: This is a contributed article from Setplex. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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