Friday, October 21, 2016
  • Tuesday, May. 24, 2016
Jason Peterson
POV (Perspective)
Understanding OTT Networks Proves Key To Reaching Coveted Demographic

A statistical comparison brings it all home; in the 1970’s, a popular sitcom titled All In The Family would pull in a weekly audience of 30-50 million, just in the United States. Today, HBO’s Game of Thrones is distributed to over 170+ countries worldwide and brings in maybe 20 million people. That includes everyone watching on television, smartphone, or pad. Welcome to the ever more fractured audience of consumers and challenges for the media industry in reaching them.

Still The One
Some things change, some things don’t. While television has gone from broadcast to cable and now app-driven content streamed via digital device, the song for advertisers remains the same. How do you attach your brands to the coveted 18-34 demographic? While many articles point out the fact that the economic might of the current younger generation isn’t as great as in the past, it’s still the Holy Grail for mature products in mature markets. To coin a phrase, this isn’t your dad’s Buick, or his Harley, iPhone or even his Budweiser. For a mature brand to continue, let alone flourish, it must convince the latest generation of consumers that they’re still relevant in today’s marketplace.

Build It, and They Will Come
Fortunately, solutions for reaching the elusive content-hopping Millennial are popping up as fast as popcorn in hot oil. The difference now is that an agency needs to leverage all its resources AND the power of OTT Networks.

WHAT is an OTT Network?
OTT refers to "over the top" delivery of content using the internet side of the wire as opposed to the closed loop proprietary cable system.  OTT is exploding because in February 2015 the Federal Communications Commission ruled the internet would be neutral. This means anyone can deliver content direct to consumer over anyone else’s network at full speed without paying the network owner customer access fees. 

The cool thing about OTT services is that, more than ever, this is where young people head for content. Provide that content to a well defined customer, scale the size of your audience, and now you have the keys to the kingdom. Why are OTT networks so popular with young people? It’s simply their flexibility and enhanced user experience. They are able to provide content via internet-connected devices, smartphones, set-top boxes and even game consoles with seamless switching between devices, robust personalization, and hybrid linear and on-demand experiences. OTT networks are increasingly being referred to as multi-platform networks (“MPN’s”). More than any other demographic, Millennials are CONNECTED.

Creating Content for OTT Audiences
OTT network operators have to manage complex rights licensing and a distribution ready library that includes a robust set of components including rich meta-data, timed text, artwork, mezzanine and play-out video files.  The technical infrastructure to manage and deliver an OTT network is complex and an entire ecosystem of vendors is developing to support these needs.

Advertising agencies can now target both the content AND the consumer.  What was old is new again; as a compliment to paid media, agencies can and should be involved in the production of branded content with the OTT network. Where celebrity is involved, brands can and should leverage the celebrity’s social influence and reach to amplify the branded content and associated paid media advertising.

DDD-–Design, Develop and Deploy
Most agencies are adept at creating unique user experiences. This may be the most challenging part of an OTT network, but understanding the design, development and deployment process is key to how your content is ultimately accepted or rejected by viewers. That includes your advertising or the branded content.

I don’t have to dwell on the value of analytics. Being able to track, identify and optimize consumer behavior is the key to keeping customers. “Churn” will quickly kill the best efforts of any OTT network, or any brand for that matter.

Charles Dickens once said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The same could be said about today’s volatile media and advertising industries. But as we can see, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We are beginning to see answers emerge, more options, more ways to target and reach out than ever before. What audience do you need to reach? Mainstream? Latin Millennials? There’s an OTT Network out there that can help. Or, better yet, feel empowered to create your own.

Jason Peterson heads up GoDigital Media Group, a media and technology holding company that includes Grammy winning record label Cinq Music, social media monetization company AdShare, digital supply chain software provider ContentBridge, post production house Tunnel, movie distributors GoDigital and Distribber, and Hispanic millennial targeted music centric multi-platform OTT network VidaPrimo.