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. OTT (Over the Top Technology) and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) are two growing technology mediums in the media distribution industry that are in place in the market, yet not being used to their full capacity by advertisers or the critical mass. Both are systems through which television services are delivered using the Internet, instead of the traditional terrestrial, satellite signal and cable television formats. However there are several differences between the two, mainly that IPTV is delivered over a service provider’s own infrastructure, while OTT comes over the public Internet.