Last month, I spoke at NAB’s Small Market Television Exchange (SMTE) Conference on the Demystifying OTT panel to share insights on the challenges and growth opportunities for local broadcasters as viewers shift into the OTT space.

Consumers are embracing OTT viewing options, and the accelerating adoption is projected to put the premium OTT market in the US at $21 billion by 2020, according to a new MTM report. As such, content owners should move quickly to not only follow but also attract viewers.  

To succeed today, TV and content providers need to woo audiences with enticing content, enhance the user experience with greater personalization, and be everywhere their viewers are.

Here are key takeaways from the session:

Partnerships are key for broadcasters to speed roll-out of OTT offerings – In many instances, local broadcasters are still playing catch up to their audience, which have shifted, at least a portion of their viewing, to streaming platforms. To overcome distribution challenges, broadcasters should leverage the right partners to get to market faster with new OTT offerings. These may include vMVPDs such as Sling and aggregators like Pluto and Xumo. While owned & operated (O&O) digital properties are crucial for your most loyal viewers, they may garner limited viewership due to difficult discoverability.

Broadcasters need to expand beyond limited shelf-life programming – Many local broadcasters produce content with a brief shelf-life. Any app or service with good content longevity provides time-shifting viewers something to consume at all hours of the day. Building a successful OTT programming strategy requires broadcasters to re-evaluate their programming strategy.

Address scale challenges with product extensions –  Achieving scale in premium digital video in local markets remains a challenge. Nimble broadcasters should focus on building out audience extension offerings, which will enable them to sell more inventory and generate more ad dollars. There are premium offerings, like PREMION, which ensure that ads are running in a brand safe and fraud free environment, unlike open exchange products. 

Keep pace with the speed of change – Our industry is filled with digital acronyms (SSP, DSP, CPM, eCPM, OTT to name a few) and it’s changing quickly. Beyond speaking the language, it’s important to stay abreast on new capabilities in targeting and measurement to win over advertisers by simply educating them. It’s a great time to be an advertiser as more TV advertising can be measured than ever before.

If you’re not capturing the vast (and growing) streaming audience, then you’re losing them to your competition. How effective is your OTT content and advertising strategy? Let’s have a conversation.