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OTT Content Vs OTT Platforms vs OTT Devices, Explained

The exact definition of OTT streaming video is still debated to this day. If you ask 10 different people how they are defining OTT, you very well may get 10 different responses.


For many people, the buzzwords OTT (over-the-top) and CTV (connected TV) are often confused for one another or used interchangeably by many marketers and brands. But OTT refers to anything viewed “over the top” of a traditional cable box — that is to say, any video streamed online. CTV, on the other hand, refers to televisions that people use to watch streaming videos.


At Federated Digital Solutions, we believe that it’s easiest to understand OTT by breaking it down into three different categories: OTT content, OTT platforms, and OTT devices. Let’s break them all down.


OTT Content

The easiest way to understand OTT is through the eyes of consumers. OTT content is what we are all talking about at the water cooler (or perhaps in the Slack chat or Zoom meeting).


This is the streaming video you can watch online, including movies, TV shows and even Live TV streamed online.


If you are watching Yellowstone on Peacock, binging The Walking Dead on Pluto TV or watching college basketball on YouTube TV, you are consuming OTT content.


OTT Platforms

In order to watch the OTT content, you have to go through an OTT platform. Popular platforms include Netflix (the original OTT platform), Peacock, Pluto, and YouTube TV — but the list is nearly endless.


OTT platforms can be further broken down into categories that talk about how they make their revenue: SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) and AVOD (Advertising Video On Demand). SVOD refers to platforms that require consumers to pay a membership fee and they do not run ads. AVOD platforms don’t offer subscription tiers — instead, they run ads that users must watch in order to watch content. SVOD and AVOD.


OTT Devices

As you can likely guess at this point, OTT devices are the devices that you use to access the platforms and select the content you want to watch.


An OTT device must be able to connect to high-speed internet and a screen for you to watch the content on. Some devices, like mobile phones, computers, and smart TVs have the screen built-in. Other devices, such as a gaming console or Amazon Firestick, must be connected to a screen.


Some OTT advertising specifically targets CTVs, or connected TVs, to reach people who are watching OTT content on a large screen. These campaigns focus on the size of the screen the consumer is watching on, excluding mobile devices and tablets.


Breaking down OTT into those three categories can make it much easier to understand how consumers engage with this media — and how businesses can reach those consumers with their advertising messages.


OTT is a very valuable digital marketing tactic that combines the power of targeted advertising with the power of video advertising. To learn more about how we can help you with your business’s OTT and video strategy, connect with our team at Federated Digital Solutions.


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Shannon Allen

Written by Shannon Allen

Shannon Allen is the Chief Revenue Officer for Federated Digital Solutions. She has over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing and over 15 years more specifically working in the digital world. Her passion for digital marketing is what drives her to find the best digital solutions for clients as well as for FDS. Shannon believes that true marketing starts after the sale with strategic campaigns and detailed reporting to help all FDS clients with an ROI, so they see the value in digital marketing.

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