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By Paul Brickel

Director of Product Management, OTT Solutions at Brightcove


5 OTT Features that Stand Out in a Crowded Streaming Market


According to a recent Parks Associates whitepaper, two-thirds of the US broadband households have an OTT service and one-third have more than one subscription. As the OTT market continues to become more saturated each week, content owners are under more pressure than ever to get to market, stand out from the crowd, draw in viewers, and grow their subscriber base.

Launching an OTT service isn’t easy. Taking the time to research partners and the best course of action is a time commitment in itself, not to mention the effort that goes into developing and getting the service up and running. Depending on your budget and needs, we have seen companies employing two broad launch strategies. The first is a highly custom, highly differentiated product which seeks to to provide meaningful contrast to competitive services already in market. This approach tends to be on the more expensive end of the spectrum and makes sense for the major broadcasting companies or content distributors who already have a captive audience to draw from. The second approach allows for customers to launch as quickly as possible, allowing for only minor differentiations of the end user experience. This approach aims to succeed on content, pricing, and marketing while minimizing upfront costs. The latter turnkey approach is what we find is the best fit for the majority of companies looking to go OTT.  While there are a number of turkey OTT solutions in the marketplace, they are not all equal.

When researching the best partner to work with to launch an OTT service look for a partner whose platform is evolving and growing in the same manner as you expect your service to grow.  Taking a turnkey approach does not mean you need to compromise on delivering a premium experience. Consider the the five items below as examples of features that will help you stand out in the crowded marketplace.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is crucial in determining the most intuitive and desirable user experience to attract and retain subscribers. With OTT Flow you can create multiple application profiles to test different UI elements including layouts, branding elements, menu structures, and fonts to determine the best possible experience for viewers. Employing multi-variate testing and taking a data driven approach will inform you on what is working and what isn’t. Delivering a user experience that maximizes engagement is a key element in reducing churn.


Geo-targeting refers to the practice of delivering different content to a viewer based on his or her geographic location. With OTT Flow, we provide multiple levels of managing content based on the geographic location of your viewers. At the base level, you can choose which individual videos are permitted or blocked for a specific location. This is a fairly common feature across OVPs. Moving up the technology stack, OTT Flow can also ensure that viewers in different locations receive a different user experience altogether. For example, in addition to protecting the rights of the content owner by blocking the ability to playback a video in a specific country, you may want to define a country specific profile that hides that content altogether (e.g, do not show the video thumbnails or poster or any associated metadata in the UI). This gives you the flexibility to have a single app in the app stores that delivers a different user experience depending on where the user is when they launch your OTT application.

Advanced Casting

The OTT Flow platform enables viewers to take advantage of popular casting technologies including Apple’s AirPlay and Google’s Chromecast to stream video from their OTT web and mobile apps via their television using an Apple TV or a Chromecast receiver. OTT Flow has taken that to a new level by implementing a custom Chromecast sender experience for the web browser application. This allows your viewers to fully control the video stream that is seen on the connected TV while still having the ability to browse for more content on their PC. This is another way to keep your viewers engaged with a second screen experience while they are consuming your content.

Live Capabilities

Adding live channels to an OTT service allows for viewers to take advantage of streaming events in real time. This helps to extend audience reach as well as revenue opportunities. The robust Brightcove Live product, available as an OTT Flow add-on, provides Cloud DVR, live clipping, and Live-to-VOD functionality that enables seamless distribution of the content for promotions and viewing at a later time. While live content may not be a priority at all times, having the option to turn on the feature for a specific sporting event or cultural event is a great way to reach new viewers and keep current viewers engaged and excited with new content.

Social Integration

Everyone knows that video is flooding social media channels and typically the most engaging content for users. According to recent Brightcove research, video is rising in popularity with consumers on social networks: 67 percent of users are increasing their consumption of social video and 75 percent make decisions based on the videos they watch. The challenge is to effectively engage with users and distribute engaging content that will drive users back to your OTT service. With the ability to edit and optimize videos for social networks, sharing highlights and clips from the newest show or event can catch the eye of potential subscribers. Integrating with a social tool, like Brightcove Social, to manage your presence across social channels is paramount in saving time, money, and resources so they can be redistributed to what matters most, curating content that viewers want.

The fact that the OTT market continues to get more competitive each day should inspire, not discourage, content owners from capitalizing on this exploding market. As mentioned above, there are multiple paths to take when developing a service. While you may think you want the complete custom service because the turnkey solution is too templated, remember there is a happy medium. All of these premium features and more are available with the turnkey solution provided by OTT Flow to help content owners of all sizes deliver amazing OTT experiences that attract and retain subscribers.

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