OTT solutions have made steady headway into our lives, with platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Hotstar becoming integral features in our entertainment arsenal.
When it comes to uploading content onto a selective OTT platform, however, making the right choice is a lot more complicated. While the end goal of many of these platforms is the same, the benefits they provide to content owners and distributors can vary quite a bit.
If you’re considering to start an OTT business you may need a handy list of OTT platform features that will go down very well with companies looking to own such platforms for content distribution, no matter their niche or industry.
These features will need to ensure a great user experience, in turn, for those using the platform to distribute their content or watch available movies and shows.
We’ve got your back - here are 12 features that you must have in your OTT video platform of choice.
1. Fully Customizable
A fully customizable OTT platform is a boon for companies looking to create their own content distribution platforms. A customizable platform means they get an existing stable architecture that they can then build on top of to make the platform completely their own.
They can brand the platform in the way they need and even add additional third-party features and plugins to boost the usability of the platform.
2. SaaS or SaaP
SaaS enables users to access systems on the cloud through connected devices. On the other hand, SaaP (Software as a Product) allows users to host the platform on their own servers. In the case of OTT video streaming platforms, the SaaP approach is better.
For one, it allows companies to have complete control over the platform, right from hosting. This makes it easier to make customizations and repairs. It also keeps all the data on a secure internal server, and this may make cyberattacks and hacks less likely.
3. Video Hosting
The backbone of an OTT platform is the videos that it offers. Therefore, any OTT video services worth their salt will make video hosting available, accessible, and easy to navigate.
This hosting could be on-premise, where the videos reside on the company’s servers. It can also be on the cloud and then accessed through individual devices.
Similarly, streaming can also be enabled using one’s own server or using the cloud. Different companies choose different options, but the overall agreement is that video hosting is a must.
4. Centralized Video Content Management System (CMS)
Video content management systems allow enterprises to better store, organize, and distribute their content assets. They offer optimized video profiles and allow content distributors to upload, edit, tag, and sort their video content by various metrics. It is essential for an OTT platform, given that it supports a heavy load of video content and enables quick and user-friendly distribution without failures in the system.
Smaller businesses and platforms may be tempted to forgo this investment. However, it is always better to prepare for scale well in advance and install a centralized CMS to offset any potential complexities that may show in the future.
5. Multi-Device Platforms
Previously, video content was almost always watched on television. Today, video content is being consumed on a number of devices, from laptops and computers to smart phones and tablets.
An OTT app builder would do well to cater for multi-device support when building their OTT platform, to ensure that it has a wide reach and reaches all potential viewer segments.
This doesn’t stop at customizing the platform for viewership on different devices - it also means that there needs to be a mechanism to optimize videos according to available network connections, screen resolutions, and more.
6. Video Monetization Model
Any OTT platform business plan needs to include the lay of the land when it comes to video monetization - and there are currently several ways to do this. Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD) is an advertising-based revenue model that allows traditional cable channel advertising companies to reach those customers using OTT platforms.
SVOD (Subscription on-demand) allows users to consume as much content as they want after paying a flat fee per month (similar to what Netflix and Amazon Prime do). TVOD (Transaction video on demand) allows customers to buy video content on a pay-per-view basis. These generate steady revenue for OTT platform without jeopardizing functionality and ease of access.
7. Deep Analytics and Insights
Audience tracking is a key facet of an OTT platform whose aim is to help enterprises grow and scale. To that end, deep analytics and insights ensure that enterprises have a handle on who is consuming their content, from where, and at what pace.
This enables them to make better business and marketing decisions and shows them just how well or poorly their content is doing. Without the right metrics, one can’t tweak and optimize, and a deep analytics feature can help resolve this issue from the get-go.
8. Video Player
This is one of the many fundamental OTT app features without which an OTT platform loses its lustre. Video players make or break the video viewing experience, as they’re responsible for regulating the quality of the video based on environmental cues including the strength of the internet network. The HTML5 player works with all the popular browsers in use today, from Google Chrome and Firefox to Opera and Internet Explorer.
The Apple-developed HLS streaming technology is also similarly more reliable and safe to use. An additional user-oriented feature that OTT platform providers can consider is the mini-player, which keeps a mini video window open in the corner while the users continue to browse on the platform.
9. Data Rights Management
Data rights and privacy is the proverbial hot potato in today’s internet age and a concern worth addressing during OTT development. The ideal setup needs to support all mainstream DRM protocols while also being a one-stop-shop for enterprises to regulate the security of your platform when they use it. Any video encryption must ideally extend to real-time broadcasting as well; anti-theft chain configuration protects decryption requests.
10. IT Infrastructure
The IT infrastructure that any OTT platform is built on can dictate how great or poorly it performs in the long run. OTT platforms will need a stable and scalable infrastructure that is capable of supporting both video content and thousands of users accessing that content from myriad devices, often all at once. The infrastructure should also be unbreachable so that user data isn’t compromised at any time, which can jeopardize both their safety and the OTT platform’s trust factor.
11. In-Built Video Marketing Solutions
Marketing on OTT platforms is a wonderful way for content owners and distributors to generate additional revenue. In-built video marketing solutions allow distributors to place ads where users are likely to see it the most, i.e. in the video itself. This can be in the form of skippable or non-skippable video ads, or through in-video banners that draw the eye without distracting from the video content. In general, OTT provider will benefit highly from providing the opportunity for in-build video marketing solutions.
12. Payment Gateways
Integrating top payment gateways into your OTT platform is a must because it then allows content owners and distributors to generate revenue directly through the platform. Ideally, all the popular payment gateways in the country need to be included on the platform - in India, for example, it includes credit and debit cards, bank transfers, and UPI wallets. Choosing trustworthy payment gateways and integrating them securely builds trust and allows all potential activity to be carried out directly on the platform as is the norm today.
Cost to create a world-class OTT Platform
While it would make things easier to have a ballpark figure when it comes to OTT app development cost, the reality is that the cost differs depending on what the enterprise owner needs and what OTT features are going to be tacked on.
However, the highest price tag shouldn’t always be conflated with the best features - in fact, an affordable price tag can help ensure that you have the above-stated fundamental features ready to roll while leaving room for the addition of extra nice-to-have features once the platform takes out.
OTT platforms are heavily in demand today and will continue to see atmospheric rises. It’s the perfect time to get in on the action, whether that’s by building a complete OTT solution for yourself or one that works with a client enterprise’s strategy to launch OTT platforms.