Let’s Explore OTTer Space–OTT Video

By Matt Nelsen
A group of TVs with different logos on them

The year was 2018, and I had just decided to cut the cord. By that, of course, I mean that I was canceling my cable television package. However, I still wanted many of the channels that I was getting with cable; I just didn’t want to pay the additional cost. After searching for an option to replace cable TV, I landed on PlayStation Vue, which was a brand-new service that provided live broadcast channels as well as many a-la-cart cable channels. At the time, it was competing with other brand-new services like YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV. It was the Wild West of OTT (Over-the-Top) providers, where many things were promised and the trend of having a brand name with a big plus at the end hadn’t yet taken off.


Timeout. What exactly is OTT? It is a bad acronym that serves as an umbrella term for traditional TV content served online with ads can be served in two different ways. The first is Connected TV (CTV). This is where you will find content that is supposed to run primarily on TVs. Think Roku, Hulu, or PlutoTV, just on TVs. The second is the Full Episode Player (FEP). This content is mostly the same as what is on CTV, but it will also run on mobile and desktop devices. The biggest difference in advertising between these two sources is that you will see more completed views and fewer clicks on CTV than on FEP, because the user wants to watch the full program.

Ad-Supported Streaming Services

Going back in time, when purchasing OTT ads was in its infancy there were few good options, and viewers were subjected in many cases to watching the same ad many times in one sitting. Over the past four years the landscape has drastically changed, and many publishers have grown their digital television offerings while cable subscriptions have dropped tremendously. Also, online TV packages like YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV have begun to stagnate. This surge in premium digital television offerings includes Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, HBO+, Paramount+, Peacock, and Netflix. During this time we have also seen the rise of ad-supported video streaming services like Pluto, Crackle, Freevee, Tubi, and RokuTV. Along with the rise of all these services, the ability to advertise and the variety of platforms and placements have greatly increased.

“Many people will always watch broadcast television, especially since it is free and easy to bring into a home.”

What’s Next?

Should you focus on advertising through OTT instead of broadcast TV? Not necessarily. OTT should be considered part of an overall television (video) package. Many people will always watch broadcast television, especially since it is free and easy to bring into a home. With the new broadcast standard, ATSC 3, the TV industry is pushing itself to stay relevant. At the end of the day, with a few exceptions, a mix of broadcast and OTT will result in a decent reach for any campaign. At Redroc, we pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest technology and marketing options.

Contact us today at [email protected] if you would like to know how this changing world can help your business, including the use of OTT video.

MATT NELSEN is the Media Director at Redroc Austin. He is a digital media expert with over 20 years of agency experience negotiating digital, OTT, digital audio; focusing on building partnerships with vendors and efficiencies for clients.

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