Rohit Chadha, Regional Head North Content, Display & Mobile, ABP Digital.
In the progress of human race, technology has played the biggest role. It has fundamentally altered the way people live, connect, communicate, and transact. It has had profound effect on economic development. The technological revolutions of the 21st Century are emerging from entirely new sectors based on micro-processors, tele-communications, bio-technology, nano-technology, etc.
One of the biggest examples of tech disruption is the Internet or digital media. In today's fast-moving world – where everybody is running for time in their busy schedules – there is a helpful tool for everyone.
In a dictionary, Over the Top or OTT would literally mean something excessive. But in the digital world, it has been termed as "an amazing tool, not the least of which because it sits at the center of the inevitable and unstoppable merger between the worlds of television and digital video."
OTT has been explained differently by many but one of the most common definitions is "the delivery of film and TV content via the Internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service like a Comcast or Time Warner Cable." This might force you to think of OTT as the nemesis of existing cable companies but in the market, that's not the case. Many cable and broadcasting companies are actually reaping the benefit of OTT. Cable providers are actually helping in the growth of OTT through their broadband connections.
"OTT has been in shadow from long time because of non-existence of DNA to sell directly to customers with the content owners," said Simon Jones, VP of Marketing at Conviva, a video analytics company.
While there is significant interest in building OTT platforms, viability in the short term remains a concern given bandwidth constraint, high cost of customer acquisition, dependence on advertisement-led models, and high cost of data access.
OTT platforms and growing content consumption on digital platforms continue to be a big theme that is likely to drive dynamics of this industry over the next decade. Many TV broadcasters are viewing OTT services as an opportunity to provide their content on an additional platform rather than as a threat to their existing business. So far at least, this has proven true with advertisers using online video advertising to complement and reinforce their brand communication rather than shifting ad revenues from TV to digital.
OTT is more beneficial for the consumers who are being unnecessarily charged with the hefty amount of bundled channel packages by cable operators, while the consumer does not even want to watch many of the channels, but still has to pay for them.
The government is looking for ways to render OTT accessible and affordable to the general public and they are welcome as long as they are adding some value in the development. And we should always look forward to develop regulations as services and applications are being created since regulations always follow innovations.
The regulatory approach should be harmonized between legacy telcos or cable operators and OTT providers to provide a balanced and fair playing field for both players while addressing competition issues and net-neutrality issues.