2017 saw tremendous consumer growth in streaming TV services and 2018 is set to be even bigger. This year, eMarketer estimates that 181.5 million U.S. consumers will use connected TVs at least once every month — equating to more than 55% of the U.S. population — and by 2021, that number will expand to 194.4 million, which is almost 58% of the population. Let’s begin with a basic definition of OTT video (over-the-top): OTT video is video transmitted via the Internet that bypasses traditional cable/linear distribution. While it can either be ad-supported or subscription-based, at Premion, we consider true OTT to be long-form and live streaming premium content such as network programming, TV shows and movies.
The pace of digital disruption that is transforming the TV industry is accelerating: the growth in IP-delivered TV content is reshaping distribution models, consumer viewing habits and advertising. Every major TV operator has launched or is in the midst of launching and scaling up their direct-to-consumer streaming offerings. Consumers now have more choice than ever — from DirectTV Now, FuboTV (a Premion partner), Sling TV (a Premion partner), PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV, to name just a few. Philo is another recent entrant that offers 30-plus entertainment channels. Disney has plans to launch two streaming services and may develop even more following its 21st Century Fox deal.
With many media and content companies jumping on the streaming TV bandwagon, the marketplace is becoming increasingly fragmented, and it’s creating even more competition for high-quality content to keep viewers hooked: Already there are over 200 OTT services in the U.S. market, according to Parks Associates.
What can we expect in 2018 with the rise in streaming services and OTT advertising growth?
The transformation of TV is happening faster than many anticipated. OTT (over-the-top) viewing is growing exponentially. It’s now the dominant platform for premium video viewing. While advertisers know they must be there, many are still asking: Is it a broadcast or a digital buy?
It’s time we look at OTT advertising differently.
In this golden age of TV, where consumers have more quality content options than ever, they’re embracing the speed at which TV is moving to the Internet, especially if it’s ad-funded and free.
eMarketer estimates there are 193.3 million OTT users in 2017, with 168.1 million U.S. connected TV users. The rise of OTT comes at a time when cable is seeing continuing declines as another million consumers cut the TV cord last quarter, per a DSL Report.
Audience fragmentation across devices and screens is accelerating; according to comScore, the average household has 10 connected devices, and that figure rises to 19 devices among households with at least four people. Every major TV player is adjusting to this phenomenon by moving quickly to launch or announce plans for standalone Internet TV services.
How should marketers navigate the rapidly evolving and fragmented OTT space and reap its full potential?