2015 Predictions: OTT Will Take Center Stage

-There Will Be a Flood of Internet TV Services

2014 shaped up to be a watershed moment in the home entertainment ecosystem. The transition to Internet TV services has officially begun as well as what we and others are calling “The Great Unbundling” of pay TV in the States.

“Where we are today, people in the industry consider it a tidal wave,” said Dan Sahar, co-founder and VP product-marketing at Qwilt. He recently gave a Fierce webinar on OTT video and open caching. “[It’s] a fundamental shift that occurs maybe once every 30 or 40 years. We’ve seen something like this happen when television took over radio, and later on when cable took over television. Right now, we’re in the beginning days of a major shift that is happening where television is being slowly overtaken by online video streaming.”

While 2014 was the break-through year for Internet TV, 2015 will bring a flood of new services, providers and opportunities for broadband-delivered entertainment.

Here are The Online Reporter’s predictions for 2015:


Content Owners Will Rush to Launch Direct-to-Consumer Services

From CBS and Showtime to HBO, Univision and ESPN, 2015 will see a number of content owners launching their own OTT services. This trend is being driven by two factors:

– Following eyeballs: Viewers are watching more content online and watching less traditional linear TV, which has resulted in shrinking broadcast audiences and declining ratings. Content owners are well aware they need to move their content and their brands online if they want to survive the migration.

– Generating new revenue streams: By offering content online, media companies are able to develop one-on-one relationships with viewers, acquire important data about viewing behaviors, and generate new revenue streams. These OTT services will combine subscription fee models with dynamic ad-insertion, transactional VoD and electronic sell-thru (EST) to monetize the online platforms.


New and Innovative Pay TV Video Services

Innovative pay TV package models were first pioneered by service providers in Europe and Canada (such as Sky’s Now TV, BT Sport and others), and we’re expecting to see similar strategies employed by pay TV providers in the US in the coming months as they try retain and possibly grow their pay TV subscriber numbers.

Pay TV providers will offer slimmer, less expensive and content-specific pay TV packages as well as streaming-only video services. This evolution will benefit nicely from the unbundling of pay TV, which will ultimately give pay TV providers more freedom and flexibility to launch packages that focus on, for example, movies, sports or family entertainment, or even let customers have some freedom in choosing which channels they receive.


More Money Going to Advertising on Digital Platforms

As viewers continue their exodus from linear TV, so too will advertisers. The past year has been notable for the growth seen in digital advertising, but with more premium content to become available online, more eyeballs spending more time online, and more players launching online video services in 2015, we’ll see huge growth in digital advertising in 2015.


YouTube Will Get More TV-Like

Google‘s YouTube is now working to completely erase the already thin lines between “Web series” and “TV series.” YouTube is focusing on scripted, unscripted and family content in 2015, and is hoping to populate its platform with longer-form content that can more easily transition to other entertainment platforms, such as pay TV or SVoD services.


There Will Be More YouTubes, Too

YouTube will continue to dominant the Web but it will face more and more competitors in the online video space for the first time in its history. Yahoo, Amazon, AOL, Vimeo, Vessel, Hulu, Otter Media, Verizon and Pluto.TV are all looking to become serious players in Web video, both in terms of content creation and advertising dollars. And for the first time, these challengers are well-positioned for success. As consumers become more comfortable finding entertainment online, these new platforms will begin to erode YouTube’s hegemony in online video and advertising in 2015.

Quality Web-series content will continue to move from platform to platform in online windowing schemes. Netflix, for example, will continue to acquire online content from creators on Vimeo, YouTube, and sites like Vessel will …

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About the Author

The Online Reporter is the weekly subscription-based strategy bulletin about the enabling technologies of broadband, Wi-Fi, HDR, home networks, UHD 4K TV & OTT services; identifying trends in the Digital Media space. Only a fraction of our material here is published here. To see 4 free copies, follow the links above or go to www.onlinereporter.com/trial-subscription/

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