Depending on the industry that you work in, the way that you approach online video will differ. In this article, we’ll discuss the best OTT video services for a variety of businesses and organizations.
Specifically, we’re going to look at OTT video for those working in TV and media, schools and universities, religious congregations, sporting associations, and event production companies.
But first, let’s provide a brief overview of what OTT video is, and how it fits into the online video ecosystem.
How OTT video works
OTT stands for Over-The-Top. It refers to video content delivered via the internet without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription. OTT content bypasses traditional distribution models for film and video by leveraging the increasing speed of internet connections.
There are countless businesses getting in on OTT video. On the high end, you have players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple’s iTunes video distribution wing. Many television stations have begun to get in on the OTT game as well. HBO, for example, offers all its programming via OTT on its HBO Go service. So do CBS, Lifetime, and Showtime, among others.
Smaller businesses and organizations are also able to take advantage of OTT video delivery as well. The internet democratizes media delivery, making the primary fight one of marketing. Anyone can broadcast content easily, so it becomes more important to attract an audience by creating great content and making sure the right people know about it.
Best OTT video services for…
One critical element in an OTT delivery model is a video service provider, sometimes called an Online Video Platform (OVP). An online video platform is like a Swiss Army Knife for internet video. They facilitate uploading, distributing, monetizing, and embedding video content. Typically, they also support both live streaming video and Video On Demand (VOD).
Selecting the best OTT video services or online video platforms is somewhat tricky. There is a large diversity of options targeted at different market segments. Different platforms have different features, omissions, and workflows. However, by narrowing down the specific nature of your needs in the OTT video services arena, you can make this choice much easier.
Let’s take a look at five specific industries and their differing needs when it comes to the best OTT video services.
TV and media
Advertising and monetization
In the TV and media industry, advertising is the main method of monetization. Fortunes are built on attracting a large audience and cashing in on their attention. Therefore, the best OTT video services for TV and media companies support common video advertising standards like VAST through their paywall or their APIs.
For instance, the Dacast player API integrates popular advertising systems including Google Doubleclick, LiveRail, and other advertising solutions.
Media companies involved in OTT video need to be prepared for massive spikes in viewership related to breaking news, major events, or premieres. Therefore a reliable video CDN (Content Delivery Network) with a powerful, global network is a must.
Professionally-produced media content is always in danger of internet piracy. However, robust security features can minimize the danger of intellectual property theft. Features to look for include tokenized domain fencing, geographic restrictions, password protection, and HTTPS video delivery.
If you plan to broadcast continuously, the ability to queue up pre-recorded content is essential. This can be done at the software level via your live streaming encoder, but it can also be managed directly through your OVP utilizing pre-recorded content.
Schools and universities
Stream multiple events simultaneously
Communications offices at schools and universities are often charged with streaming and video recording multiple simultaneous events. Some online video platforms make it difficult to set up multiple streams at a time, while some make it much easier and provide you with an unlimited number of live channels with almost instant provisioning.
Build your own apps and services
Universities may also want to build their own connected apps and services to take advantage of underlying media platforms. An OVP with full API access simplifies these programming tasks and makes it simple to get an integrated media ecosystem for major institutions.
Schools often have budget limitations and can’t afford the Enterprise-level pricing of many OVPs. The best OTT video services have more affordable pricing that scales to support a wide range of users and needs.
Churches and religious institutions
Total content control
Many churches have used consumer video platforms like YouTube and Facebook to distribute their content. However, this approach has serious limits. For example, content uploaded to these services is often blocked in workplaces and other institutional settings. Additionally, advanced features are unavailable.
Another reason to use a professional OVP is to ensure that advertising doesn’t pollute your content. Religious institutions may have moral objections to some advertising, and using a service that gives you full control over this is the best way to avoid embarrassment.
Good customer support
Finally, most churches don’t have a large technical staff. Most often, one or two people take care of multimedia needs. In these situations, easy access to knowledgeable and dedicated tech support is essential. Look for an OTT service provider that provides 24/7 access to in-house personnel, not a call center.
Sports teams and associations
Sporting groups have a number of unique concerns. First among these is white-label branding. This feature ensures that no corporate branding but your own takes precedence. Inserting your own logos inside a stream or VOD is simple with a white label service provider.
Pay-per-view and subscription monetization
Pay-per-view live streaming sports has always been one of the most lucrative realms of video distribution. That remains true today. The best OTT video services offer pay-per-view integration in the main video window, rather than an exterior paywall so that you can make sales without losing customers.
Most OTT video services are priced based on a monthly subscription. Depending on how often you stream events, it may make more sense to choose an OTT video service that uses “event pricing.” Event pricing lets you pay a one-time fee for bandwidth or pay-as-you-go. This can be a better model for some sporting teams and associations.
Another important feature for a sports team is analytics. The best OTT video services will let you track how many people are watching, where they are watching from, how much of your content they are watching, what devices and browsers they are using, and much more.
Event production companies
Finally, let’s take a look at event production companies. As with sporting associations, event producers absolutely need custom branding. White label service is essential, including the ability to fully customize your player.
API access for workflow integration
Event producers make their living from video production, and thus need everything to run smoothly. This means an easy to use platform that integrates with existing workflows. This is often easiest to achieve with API access that allows you to set up encoders and other equipment without the need for much manual integration.
Embedding and social sharing
Video content needs to be embedded on various websites for clients in order to deliver a good product. The best OTT video services allow you to control embedding via domain fencing and also allow you to easily embed anywhere you choose. Sharing video content natively on social media sites should also be possible to help you reach an even larger audience.
As you can see, the features necessary for you vary widely depending on your industry. By considering your particular needs, you can select the best OTT video services for your business. The considerations we’ve listed here should help make this process easier for you.
Remember that you always have the opportunity to sign up for a free trial to compare online video platforms before making your choice. If you haven’t already, sign up today and stream for 30 free days with Dacast!