We didn’t need Google’s upcoming launch of their new over-the-the (OTT) streaming service to tell us that OTT is big. Very big. But should anyone doubt that the future of video entertainment is streaming, not cable, Google’s jumping in, with their Unplugged service, should put these doubts to rest.
Google may be dominant in many areas, but in launching their own OTT service, they’ll be competing with established and very popular players such as Netflix, Hulu, Sling, CBS Interactive, and others. Niche content has an increasing presence as well, with their business model of providing specialized programming to select audiences that may not be served as well by the bigger, more mainstream players.
But regardless of the content, market share, or name value, one thing that all OTT providers need to be highly conscious of is the quality and stability of their service. This is especially true as the OTT segment becomes more crowded, with many different players vying for consumers’ attention and disposable income. It’s one thing to have a hit show. But can you ensure that your service and your subscribers’ ability to watch that hit show is problem-free 24/7/365?
The issue of quality was amply demonstrated when one of everyone’s favorite services experienced a significant outage over a recent weekend due to streaming issues. Consumers, as we can imagine, were not pleased. As reported in Multichannel Merchant, “This outage, though unfortunate … brings video quality to the forefront of industry conversation and importance, especially as we continue to see a massive shift from linear broadcast to over-the-top (OTT) streaming video.”
Some services will always have incredible customer loyalty due to the must-see nature of their programming. Who among us is not waiting in anticipation for the upcoming season of House of Cards or Transparent? But these very same viewers will still be tearing their hair out (and tweeting angrily!) if, on the night of the premier, the provider encounters streaming issues. Like a three-legged stool, great content is only one part of the equation. According to Multichannel Merchant, “Measuring the quality of the content and its preparation for downstream delivery is just as important as content distribution. Video providers must consider every part of their infrastructure, anticipate failures, and have tools and plans in place to detect and address them.”
As OTT has exploded, consumers now have more choices. They can access literally hundreds of programs through a number of services, all priced fairly similarly. If these services want to keep their subscribers, they need to ensure the highest end viewer quality and uptime. While this can be tricky, it is necessary, if you’re an OTT service that wants to compete.
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