What is over-the-top (OTT)?

Glossary What is over-the-top (OTT)?


What does OTT mean?

OTT stands for “over-the-top” and refers to technology (OTT services or platforms) that delivers streamed content via internet-connected devices.

In mobile marketing, OTT is often discussed specifically within the context of video content. In the recent past, viewers consumed all video content from a TV set connected to a cable TV or satellite provider. However, viewers can now watch video content across multiple devices; no longer needing to be connected to cable or broadcast TV. But before we jump into OTT advertising and how to leverage OTT targeting, let’s clear up some confusion.

What is OTT streaming?

OTT streaming is video or audio content that is played over the internet. There are two types of OTT streaming; pay-to-access and free-to-access. Many OTT services now operate on a paid subscription basis. However, there are several monetization methods used, and a large number run advertisements on their platform as an alternative to subscription-based monetization. Some platforms offer a mix, providing tiered packages that allow users to either access for free with ads or pay for an ad-free experience.

OTT monetization methods

Ad-supported: Content is free, and revenue is generated through paid ads displayed within the content.

Subscription: Users pay a recurring fee for on-demand access to a content library.

Transactional: Users can pay a one-time fee to access specific content.

Premium: Users can pay a premium fee for early or exclusive access to specific content.

Hybrid: Use of multiple of the above monetization models in tandem.

According to leading CTV marketplace Wurl data, OTT ad networks typically charge $18-$21 CPM. This is the cost per mille, or cost per thousand impressions–a model where OTT publishers only charge marketers when their ad is viewed.

What is the difference between OTT and live streaming?

OTT describes the technology that delivers on-demand content via the internet across devices like mobile phones, CTVs, computers, and tablets. Live streaming is the broadcasting of content in real-time over the internet, allowing viewers to tune in and watch as it actively happens.

What are the major OTT platforms?

The most commonly referred to OTT service is video streaming. Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and YouTube are OTT providers in the video streaming space. Spotify is considered an OTT platform in the audio streaming space for both music and podcasts, while WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, and Signal are considered OTT platforms in the communication space.

OTT services

What is an OTT aggregator?

An OTT aggregator is a digital platform or service that allows users to conveniently browse, search, and watch content from different streaming services without needing to switch between multiple apps or websites. The aggregator collects and consolidates content from various streaming providers and makes it available to users through a single interface.

OTT aggregators, such as Viaccess-Orca, Comviva, and Tata Sky Binge, have become increasingly popular as the number of streaming services has grown, helping users discover and access content more easily.


Why is OTT important?

OTT advertising is much like legacy media advertising, typically taking place between songs or episodes, but it is delivered through the OTT streaming platforms. This transition from traditional media to OTT has had big implications for advertising, allowing mobile marketers and CTV advertisers a golden opportunity to reach users while they stream.

Strategic, effective reach

OTT has proven its tremendous ability to successfully reach audiences, enhance ad segmentation, improve ad engagement, and maximize cross-channel campaigns. OTT services offer a wide variety of content consumption options for consumers, and increasing ad inventory types for marketers. As more people cut the cord and move towards online-only media consumption, the way to reach these consumers is increasingly via CTV OTT advertising.

As a result, lots of companies are now getting more strategic about their OTT targeting to connect with the right users, most predominantly via CTV advertising. OTT targeting utilizes data and analytics to understand viewer preferences, demographics, and behavior, allowing advertisers to serve ads tailored to specific audience segments. By delivering ads to the right viewers at the right time, increasingly with the use of contextual advertising, OTT targeting helps maximize the effectiveness of advertising campaigns in the rapidly growing realm of online streaming services.

Measurable outcomes

In legacy media ad buying, it can be hard to measure impact. As viewers migrate to the OTT space, the capability to measure via both view-through attribution (VTA) and even more directly with click-through rate (CTR) is crucial. This allows marketers to enjoy the advantages of traditional media's appealing content style while leveraging modern measurement tools to quantify impact effectively.

Ad podding ability

OTT marketing also provides the option of ad podding. Ad podding is the grouping of multiple ads back to back and delivering them consecutively during a single commercial break. This tactic enhances ad viewing efficiency and user experience while maximizing revenue.


OTT advertising and Adjust

Adjust supports marketers in measuring a wealth of OTT advertising formats, including our CTV AdVision solution. CTV AdVision has turned CTV into a performance channel with clear data for both CTV to mobile and CTV to CTV app campaigns, providing critical OTT metrics such as:

If there’s an OTT platform you’re advertising on, we can measure it.

Learn more about our industry-leading CTV solution, CTV AdVision, or set up a demo.

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