There are a lot of factors to consider when building an OTT service. It’s critical, of course, that the service plugs seamlessly into any existing infrastructure, that it delivers across multiple devices, that it offers a superb user experience, that it handles all the necessary business rules, and that it protects the content. It’s also important that it can be easily updated, supports easy content management, and provides thorough analytics. Finally, there is a long list of important nice-to-haves: social integration, personalization, cloud DVR, content discovery tools, and more. But what may be the most important factor? Speed.
Today’s customers expect to have content at their fingertips. It’s become a cliché, but it’s no less true—viewers expect to be able to determine for themselves what they’re going to watch, when, where, and on what device. There’s an explosion of content out there, with more coming every day. And there are an increasing number of ways for them to obtain that content. Whether people are hunting for a specific episode or just trying to find something to watch on their phone right this minute, they will take the path of least resistance. If providers make it easy for them to get their OTT content, the viewers will happily get that content from the same entities who supplied them in pre-OTT days. But it has to be convenient, and it has to be there now. If viewers go to their old suppliers and they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will look elsewhere. And if they can’t locate their show of choice, then there is always more video content elsewhere. Service providers and content owners have the advantage of branding and familiarity. They can easily keep their lead, but only if they move fast. As customers begin to scatter to new delivery mechanisms and new content providers, it will become increasingly difficult to win them back.
But it’s not just consumers’ behavior that’s changing. The technology and the marketplace are changing too, even more rapidly. Systems that were state of the art only a year ago are becoming standard, and the standards from a year ago are already evolving. Deployments that take years to roll out will be outdated by the time the roll out finishes. This means that the only way to succeed with a long term roll out is to keep adjusting the goals during the project, which inevitably leads to confusion, delays, and cost overruns. The best way to deal with the problem is to shorten the runway, getting projects launched in a matter of months.
The best OTT system in the world is useless if it’s outdated before it launches, or if it never launches at all. Fortunately, there’s no need to compromise. When it comes to OTT deployment, speed and quality both count.
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