When it comes to OTT, I’ve said it before: Buyer beware. In 2009, Streaming Media was tracking about 95 different online video platforms (OVPs) in a crowded market that was driving margins down to the breaking point only a company like Walmart would be satisfied with. Soon after, we saw a major drop-off and another plunge in the online video industry.
But like the Phoenix it’s always been, our industry reinvented itself, rising from the ashes with an entirely new quest to rule the over-the-top supply chain. I’ve never really been a fan of the term “over-the-top”; as others have pointed out, it implies something sneaky. Maybe a few years ago the idea of a legitimate, subscription-based internet service challenging traditional TV broadcast was taken about as seriously as a Hobbit bringing down Sauron, but many—and I do mean many—vendors figured it would be a good idea to rebrand themselves as OTT solutions. Why? Partly to capitalize on a trend, but also to differentiate their value proposition and target market. The only problem was, there wasn’t much of a market to sell to. We are talking about a situation of over 100 companies chasing 10-15 potential clients who didn’t want to disrupt their revenue model with experimentation.
So what happened? Our industry declined. Money dried up; sales were scarce. Several companies didn’t survive or simply sold their business (on the cheap) to others. But as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.”
Then, something wonderful happened last year. Netflix announced it was bringing in more subscription revenue than HBO, and as if a magical ring had been thrown into it, the OTT volcano erupted. Demand from the buyer side sparked an infusion of dollars back into our humble shire. The occupants of Mordor needed to get their OTT solutions up and running or suffer the fate. So here we are in yet another spike for the online video industry—and this time it’s a buyers’ market, not a speculators’ market.
Of course, one does not simply walk into Mordor, and there are dangers lurking at every turn. There are plenty of companies out there “offering” OTT solutions, and as you sign that check to one of them with a shaking hand because your job is on the line, be sure that it’s a company you can trust your business to.
How can Streaming Media help? Yet again, with one of our Superguides, a collection of content brought to you by companies which want to earn your business and your trust. And that’s what the Superguides are all about: giving you unique perspectives directly from those who have built platforms and tools that specialize in making your OTT business a success. There’s a range of company sizes and focuses, and I hope you consider them all. As Lady Galadriel said to Frodo Baggins, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
Download this Superguide here, and more Superguides at: http://www.streamingmedia.com/Superguides