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The OTT Platform Superguide

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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...