9 Key Considerations To Look For In An OTT Platform
Live streams and video-on-demand (VoD) have become a new norm. Thanks to affordable access to smartphones, global data traffic has risen exponentially from 11.51 exabytes (EB) in 2017 to 28.56 EB in 2019 and expected to reach 77.49 EB in 2022. Online video streaming services like Netflix are increasingly becoming popular and preferred over regular satellite television.
With more smartphone users getting access to high-speed internet in emerging markets; growth opportunities are immense for online video streaming services. If you are planning to launch your own OTT video streaming service then you need to choose an efficient OTT platform capable of meeting all your requirements easily.
Here are a few essential things that should be kept in mind while shopping for an OTT platform.
1. Content Management System (CMS)
You need a capable CMS that can handle all aspects of video content management including importing, managing and curating content. Consider these key points to gauge the capability of CMS.
- Upload and Manage: Make sure that the OTT platform is capable of easily ingesting and uploading videos of all file formats. Hassle-free video processing can save a lot of time. Also, make sure that you are easily able to modify, delete or add meta tags for all the videos from a single dashboard.
- Easy Distribution: Look for robust integration with social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The OTT platform should also be able to automatically relay the video streaming trailer and promotions content to other properties including websites and mobile applications through a highly functional dashboard.
- Geographic Streaming: Make sure that the OTT platform allows you to set customized rules. It will help you to deliver VoD or live streaming services in specific geographies only.
- Adaptive Streaming: Different geographies around the globe have different bandwidths and one bit-rate can’t render fluid video streaming in all locations. Hence, it is crucial to have adaptive bit-rate streaming that can render videos at the highest possible quality. It could be 240p, 360p, 720p, 1080p or 4K; depending upon the speed of internet connection.
OTT platforms that provide just the APIs leave a gigantic task for businesses to develop a customized application capable to function smoothly across all the platforms you want to reach. The process is time-consuming and resource-intensive with expenditure running into thousands of dollars.
Hence, it is essential to go for an OTT platform that offers ready-to-use branded application templates that are highly customizable and capable of easily adapting your brand’s theme. This will help you to cut down the cost and expedite speed-to-market. For instance, Phando can help you launch a video streaming service within minutes without coding requirements.
3. Video Monetization
The whole motive of launching an online video streaming service is to monetize Video on Demand and live video streaming services. It is crucial to go with an OTT platform that offers all the video monetization options that you need to maximize revenue generation from your video content.
For example, if you are planning to run an ad-based VoD service, then the OTT platform should be equipped with an in-built ad server that you can leverage to manage and run campaigns. The platform should be able to support all ad formats including banner, native, video, and overlay among others.
Simply said, look for an OTT vendor that offers all popular video monetization models including pay per view, paywall, subscription, ads, and banners among others. Also, look for added features including the ability to provide recurring payment plans with secured payment gateway, coupon management, free trial and promo offers among others.
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4. Deep Analytics and Insights
Accurate analytics is crucial to gauge the performance of your VoD and live streaming services. Choose an OTT platform that offers analytics from a different point of views including average playback time, viewer demographics, video engagement, total playback, and device information among others. It should also be able to tell the collated data of revenue, subscribers, and the number of transactions.
Having access to actionable insights will help you make more informed business decisions about content production, target market, and marketing endeavors.
5. Video Player
An intuitive, highly functional and easy to use video player is crucial to keep your viewers hooked to your VoD and live streaming offerings. Here are a few essential points that you need to check:
- Initiate playback from the point user left the last time
- WebVTT and WebSRT based support for subtitles
- Robust support for both live streaming and VOD
- Adaptive bit-rate to ensure smooth delivery of videos on various bandwidths. It should also support manual and auto bitrate switching
- Customizable player to easily blend with your branding requirements
6. IT Infrastructure
For an OTT provider, it is crucial to have a robust and reliable IT infrastructure that is capable of handling all the data in a safe and secure manner without any compromise with the performance.
- Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting is more affordable, reliable and accessible than a traditional on-premises server. Look for an OTT platform that runs on an efficient and reliable cloud-based framework to render required servers and storage for your streaming services.
Make sure that the server is capable of handling thousands of concurrent users without any latency and can easily scale up the demand in real-time.
- Security: To safeguard original video content from copyright issues and unauthorized access, look for a platform that leverages DRM (Digital Rights Management) and AES Encryption for robust security.
- CDN: It is crucial to have a low latency rate to deliver smooth online live streaming or VoD. Reduction in video quality can cost you subscribers and a bad reputation. Look for a platform that offers capable CDN to enable smooth streaming of videos with low latency in real-time. Also, check out the OTT platform’s bandwidth capacity to gauge the quality of its CDN.
- Storage: Check out the amount of storage the OTT platform is offering to calculate the number of video files you can store. Few OTT platform vendors offer limited video uploads on their basic plans.
However, Phando offers unlimited uploading of content on all subscription plans. This provides greater flexibility to upload videos without worrying about the storage space. You can also use unlimited bandwidth, deliver services to unlimited users and make infinite transactions without any hassle.
7. Secure User Management
Secure user management is important to ensure reliable broadcast without any threats. The OTT platform should include security features like absolute control over user access, off-board and onboard users, reset password feature, subscription management, refund, email update, and rule set up among others.
Publisher should be able to manage multiple user profiles in a single account, enable offline viewing and browse watch history.
8. In-Built Marketing Solutions
In-built marketing tools can add value to your online video streaming service and help maximize your reach. In-built SEO in the OTT platform can help your live streaming services become searchable and rank better in search engine results.
Phando has developed an SEO compliant video player through which users can easily share video preview links on multiple social media platforms to enhance the success prospects of a video.
You would never want to lose your subscribers or revenue due to a bug. Look for an OTT platform vendor that offers 24/7 support to help you out with any issue. Apart from maintenance, upgrading and troubleshooting; check out the availability of real-time support during live stream setup to avoid any last minute hassles.
The support team should always be proactive to respond instantly to your queries as fast as possible.
With increasing internet penetration, online video streaming market will witness a brisk growth in the upcoming years. Hence, the time is ripe for broadcasters and producers to launch online video streaming services. Above mentioned points can help you weed out incapable OTT platform options and make the right decision easily.