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You Down With OTT?

You Down With OTT?

All new media — all new technology, really — is suffused with acronyms and buzzwords, a thick slurry of jargon that makes any AdTech meeting sound like a gathering of nerdy teenagers speaking in code.

Spend time around AdTech professionals these days — you lucky dog — and you’ll hear plenty of chatter about “OTT.” It stands for “over the top,” and it refers here to the new distribution strategies (content streaming and the like) designed to loosen the stranglehold cable conglomerates have long had over the means of TV distribution. OTT has evolved into a widely used term of art in AdTech, a useful shorthand to describe an array of direct-to-consumer distribution methods.

OTT exemplifies the way content creators contend with the consumption habits (multi-screen, mobile viewing) of cord-cutting, binge-watching Millennials. All the relevant players — rights holders, creators and brands — must continually program and adapt their content offerings to reach these highly fragmented consumers via different platforms.


For example,  our friends at Neulion operate a platform that helps professional sports leagues (ie NBA, NFL, and UFC) and consumer electronics manufacturers (Samsung, Sony, and LG)  host and operate “OTT” offerings.  Each outlet or “end point” listed above as they often say in industry parlance represents a different content experience and an alternative to a traditional cable provider. The challenge is that OTT products don’t have the breadth of content nor the live programming available via cable behemoths but this is beginning to change.

There are also obvious economic benefits to eliminating the middlemen, the enormous cable conglomerates who are like aircraft carriers in the ocean of modern communications: big and powerful, but slow to adapt. Historically, these providers have owned all viewing data, leaving them with no incentive (much less any ability) to share information and help content partners build better marketing mousetraps.

Content creators and brands, faced with such intransigence, are therefore limited to whatever information they can glean from extrapolated — by definition inferior — data from third parties such as Nielsen. Laggard cable content providers leave marketers with a blind spot the size of the Love Boat, rendering them unable to truly understand their audience in the most fundamental ways possible.

In this dawning world of OTT, viewing and billing data becomes invaluable to creative executives making content investments and marketeering leaders charged with growing membership bases.  This data is the foundation of modern digital marketing, enabling development of exquisitely tailored messages across a variety of channels that are based on precise preference measurements, not over-broad guesstimates.

In a world of OTT, this data is exponentially more valuable, giving marketers the wherewithal to define, identify and target their most highly engaged consumers. Smart, value-focused marketers, fortified by their justified confidence in the numbers, use this information to build creative campaigns and bid more aggressively to acquire new customers and create the future. 

The bad old days of crude, scattershot marketing are going the way of the leisure suit. At Plush Digital, we work with our OTT partners to develop and implement multi-channel customer-acquisition and retention strategies, helping them translate viewing and billing behavior into measurable campaigns to drive growth.  AdTech, as we never tire of observing, is a goat rodeo and is likely to remain so — but our partners, outfitted with these key insights, are getting better control of the lasso with every new data point.

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