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Why Content Creators Need to Embrace OTT

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It's hardly a secret that video has become a popular medium for content creators of all kinds. Trends show that social media posts featuring video get more attention and click-throughs than those without, and even many podcasts—a format originally designed with strictly audio in mind—are now offered on video platforms.

The concept of a digital video revolution may seem to run contrary to what recent research has told us‚for instance, that only 3.9% of U.S. homes added a new streaming service subscription in the second quarter of 2021, growth that was down 12.9 percent from last year, according to Kantar Media. Despite Disney+ adding 12.4 million subscribers during the second quarter—surpassing even Wall Street's expectations—the massive onboarding of subscribers to Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and other major services has clearly slowed in recent months.

Statistics can lie, though, and it's important to cut through the noise in them. The enormous subscribership growth of 2020 was bound to plateau after the most stringent of the pandemic restrictions passed. We have emerged from our living rooms, many of us are back in the office, and most simply aren't bingeing movies and serials at the rate we were a year ago. With a wider variety of entertainment choices available to us again post-lockdown – concerts, sporting events, travel and dining out, to name a few – many consumers have had to make tough choices about which and how many streaming services to continue paying for.

The data on streaming video's big hitters (which, by the way, still indicates more growth) doesn't necessarily speak to over-the-top video as a whole. Because the reality is this: OTT video has never been more critical for content creators than it is right now.  

More numbers: 78% of people report watching videos online each week, with 55 percent of those watching on a daily basis, according to Social Media Week. Additionally, Limelight found that online video consumption is increasing across all age groups, with the largest increases seen in people more than 46 years old. Streaming is no longer just a young person's game, with the pandemic accelerating the adoption of technology by the elder generation.

Moreover, Grand View Research reports that the global smart TV market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 20.8% from 2021 to 2028. That's a massive number of new households that are wifi-enabled and ready to welcome digital video from all corners of the internet.

What that translates to for content creators is this: a gigantic new audience made up of a wide variety of demographics, viewers with many backgrounds and interests—many of which have nothing to do with what you'll find on a major subscriber platform. Consider: According to HubSpot, a whopping 83% of consumers worldwide prefer YouTube—a free site—to watch video content. And now, how to bring that audience to your own website?

This means every content creator with a captive audience needs a plan of attack to develop and monetize video content. While it's not as simple as it sounds, it's not too daunting of an undertaking, either. Here are some questions you'll want to ask as you plan out your best path forward: 

  • How strong is my existing audience?
  • What do I need to do to build a virtual fan community?
  • How can I leverage my premium and exclusive content to expand my brand?
  • How can I leverage YouTube to build my own business?
  • What technologies are available to help streamline all of these processes?
  • Is a subscription or pay-per-view revenue model going to be more lucrative in the long run? 

Answering these questions will help get things off on the right foot. Sure, your approach will need adjustments and you will inevitably need to call an audible from time-to-time, but ultimately through trial and error you'll figure out the best ways to utilize OTT for your audience. Recognizing you need to embrace OTT is half (or at least a part of) the battle, though. 

OTT has become a game-changer for content creators of all shapes, sizes, and industries. As technology continues to advance and evolve, it's only going to be an even greater boon for content creators. We've seen video categories like toy unboxing create diehard followings and flourishing niche OTT platforms devoted to category-specific content. So whether you're a brand selling a product, a band streaming garage concerts or a bartender posting mixologist tutorials, the opportunities to capture mass attention with thoughtful video content have never been greater. The time is now.

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

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