Traditional and online TV in a single box
Over the Top (OTT) refers to video, television and other services provided over the internet rather than via a service provider’s own dedicated, managed IPTV network.
OTT is delivered directly from provider to viewer using an open internet/broadband connection, independently of the viewer’s ISP, without the need for carriage negotiations and without any infrastructure investment on the part of the provider. It is a ‘best effort’, unmanaged method of content delivery via the Internet that suits providers who are primarily broadcasters rather than ISPs.
OTT opens up a completely new way for operators to generate revenue from video on demand (VOD), catch-up TV and interactive applications. The clearest opportunity is for traditional TV distributors. With established brands, strong relationships and consumers’ trust, they are perfectly placed to deliver a seamless service that integrates online and traditional TV through a single device managed by a single operator.
Because of its openness and its perceived ability to bypass the networks owned and operated by payTV providers, OTT is sometimes described as a potential ‘killer’ for the payTV industry. We believe that this is a naïve viewpoint. The rights to quality video content are expensive, and such content simply will not be created unless revenue can be generated from it. At present, the content industry is supported by subscription TV – and its delivery medium is the set-top box or residential gateway.
Pace clients such as DirectTV, Canal+ and Viasat all offer OTT content that can be accessed via one of our set-top boxes. The appeal of OTT is that it augments the traditional viewing experience by allowing the user to access internet-based content without having to leave their TV.
In September 2010, we demonstrated the Pace App Café, a unique service allowing payTV operators to harness the potential of online applications within an integrated managed TV service. The App Café offers hundreds of applications in a ‘storefront’ format for subscribers to download directly to their set-top box, giving them access to social networking applications, web-based video portals, internet radio, online photo services and much more.
OTT will continue to play an important role in allowing consumers to access their paid-for services in the way they want, adding value to payTV subscriptions. Ultimately, we believe consumers will enjoy content ‘any time, any place’ through a range of devices including mobile phones, iPads, games consoles or connected TVs, all connected to a central content gateway.
- View the Technology Briefing presentation on OTT by Dr. Paul Entwistle (Head of Investor Relations and Chief Technologist, Pace plc)
Technology Briefing - OTT: Over-the-top (PDF, 1.14MB, 20 slides)