2018 will be the year of OTT, and depending on where your company is positioned in the internet ecosystem, this OTT onslaught is either an opportunity or a threat. If you are a traditional telecom, you need to get moving and adapt to what will be a rapidly shifting environment. If you don’t adapt and adapt now, you’ll be left behind.
If, however, you are in the infrastructure business, as the legacy telecoms and the upstarts slug it out for market dominance, there will be plenty of opportunities to capitalize on the growth. Here’s what you need to know.
First, let’s look at what will OTT impact in 2018, and then we’ll explore what you can do to make sure you’re well-positioned to ride and conquer the OTT wave instead of getting wiped out by it. Areas where OTT’s impacts will be felt most in 2018:
- Traditional/Legacy Broadcasters
- Ad Blocking
- Artificial Intelligence
- Live Video
To DeFAANG Or FAANG?
FAANG is an acronym we were all introduced to over the past year: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. These OTT providers all are emerging as threats to the long-time dominance of legacy broadcasters. How they react in the year ahead will largely determine their future.
Also, the Winter Olympics in Seoul will provide a living laboratory for the consumption of all sorts of informational and video streams and innovation. So don’t only be watching who wins the downhill, but also who emerges as the telecom gold medal champ. The Olympics are no longer just about sports — they are about marketing, innovation, information, and creating numerous platforms for consumption.
Block Those Ads! Or, Wait, Don’t! What Do You Do?
With all the direct-to-consumer content, expect the cat-and-mouse game between consumers wanting to block the ads (and companies willing to help them) and content producers dependent on ad revenue to continue.
Ah, we all remember 2001: A Space Odyssey and the iconic Hal. We’re not saying HAL is here yet, but expect the growth of AI to continue to impact the OTT ecosystem resulting in more innovative delivery and consumption methods.
Remember Laughing Chewbacca? That was just the beginning. Technologies are emerging that will make the transmission of live content — once a relative novelty — ubiquitous.
So, you have a primer on what OTT will be changing; now how do you and your company deal with it?
Don’t Box Yourself In: Fieldengineer.com warns, “The telco industry will continue to evolve dynamically. There won’t be any clear-cut boundaries between product categories because the products we use now will merge with others to increase capabilities.” You have to get on board the OTT train and prepare to switch tracks and change cars multiple times; no one is exactly sure where the train is headed, so flexibility is key, but one thing is clear: the old boundaries are gone. Innovate or perish.
Partner Up: If you are a traditional telecom, instead of fighting OTT, consider partnering. There are numerous ways to show up at the OTT square dance and find a partner. YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and others are ripe for opportunities to co-brand, partner, and leverage your infrastructure with their content. OTT is here to stay, and often the most cost-effective strategy is to embrace it.
Market Your Advantages: If you can’t partner, then use your legacy to your advantage. “As the telecom operators control the regional distribution channels, they already have an inherent competitive advantage over the OTT providers,” says Ahmed Imtiaz Habib, a strategic Strategic Planning & Technology engineer at Banglalink, a leading cellular provider in emerging market Bangladesh.
So depending on where in the telecom ecosystem your business interests lie, OTT is either a steamroller or a tree of opportunity. We recommend wherever you are viewing it as the latter because OTT is here to stay.