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Infographic Shows OTT Trends, Including a Strong Shift to Fiber

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Following on the heels of a recent survey of over-the-top (OTT) trends published by Level 3 Communications and Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, a new infographic reveals a potential shift in consumption and delivery practices.

As the infographic below shows, for live linear news or premium (non-sports) video there is a shift in acquisition technologies. Fiber use is more dominant than in past surveys. The number of broadcasters using fiber as their sole means of acquisition is nearly 50 percent higher than those using satellite.

Sports content viewing in the United States is dominated by Level 3 and its Vyvx fiber-based broadcast pipe, which provides connectivity to over 155 professional and college sports venues.

Interest in live linear programming continues to grow, with OTT services beginning to offer live channels. As the report points out, OTT providers need to continue enticing new prospects to gain market share. For existing OTT providers, however, offering a video on-demand (VOD) service may not be enough to maintain, much less grow, market share.

Adding live linear channels is quickly becoming table stakes in OTT. New OTT entrants embrace a long-term strategy that includes both VOD and live linear channels.

One trend pointed out in June, as part of another Level 3 infographic based on insights from the StreamingMedia.com survey, may explain how live linear channels will finally allow OTT to attract a global audience.

Titled “How Well Do You Know The OTT Video Market?” the infographic shows that OTT delivery is morphing to a global television model, something traditional over-the-air (OTA) broadcasters have never been able to create.

The more robust OTT services use multiple CDNs, a fact that’s borne out in the recent survey and infographic. What’s even more interesting is the importance assigned to peering agreements, even for OTT services that use a single CDN.

Part of the reason for this shift may be revealed in the early June Level 3 infographic: while OTT has traditionally been a regional play, and continues to be for some of the major players like Amazon—more on that in Tim Siglin's September 2015 “Streams of Thought” column—there’s a marked shift away from single-region OTT delivery towards global delivery.

Both the initial report and Level 3’s infographic highlight the fact that half of all OTT service providers focus on global delivery, with only a quarter focusing on single-region delivery. That shift is a clear indication that OTT is finding traction in a way that was technologically impossible for over-the-air broadcasters and limited even for satellite delivery—at least when it comes to customized content delivery for granular sub-regions across the globe.

Along with this shift to global delivery comes a shift in monetization strategies. Almost 60 percent of OTT providers surveyed say they have a multi-layered approach to their monetization strategy.

One trend pointed out in the Level 3 infographic is the rise in popularity in pay-per-view (PPV), even among those OTT providers that might traditionally only focus on advertising or subscription delivery.

While advertising and subscription almost always evenly split the OTT space, with neither one clearly dominating, the introduction of a third choice—PPV for major events—shows significant traction, especially for OTT providers that use both freemium and paid subscriptions as part of their OTT service.

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