Considering the prominence of YouTube when it comes to video sharing, you may have never thought to post your video content on any other site. Why would you need to? But at some point, you might realize it’s time to move beyond uploading your videos to just YouTube. Maybe you want to grow your audience and fanbase, or maybe you’d just like to spread your content across various platforms to future-proof your business. Whatever the reason, it’s time you look into setting up your very own OTT streaming service, apps and all.
What Is OTT?
Specifically, the letters OTT stand for “over-the-top,” and more broadly, the acronym refers to services and platforms that help distribute streaming video, film, or television content via the internet instead of through more traditional, third-party outlets like TV networks and cable subscriptions. Content creators and providers can distribute their work directly to consumers through devices and technology such as apps, video-on-demand subscription platforms, smart TVs and video game consoles. In short, think of Netflix versus a cable subscription!
For many millennials and young consumers, OTT is their preferred method of delivery for video content.
For many millennials and young consumers, OTT is their preferred method of delivery for video content. This preference has radically shifted the way audiences around the world consume content and has directly shaken up the TV industry. The rate of people cord-cutting (i.e. ending) their traditional cable subscriptions, for example, recently hit its highest level ever. By contrast, the OTT industry will reportedly be worth $62.03 billion by 2020!
How Can I Set Up OTT Cheaply?
Clearly, OTT is a distribution strategy you can’t ignore if you’re serious about the long-term growth and value of your work and your business/career. If you want to reach your audiences and provide them with the easiest way to access your content, OTT is the solution. This strategy will become even more vital the larger the streaming media industry gets and the more people turn to their internet-enabled devices for entertainment.
Unfortunately, many OTT solutions can be expensive. Larger companies often develop or customize their own apps and subscription platforms, but as an independent video creator you don’t have that sort of bandwidth (or money).
Fortunately, there are plenty of OTT companies that have already developed the technology for you and won’t cost you an entire year’s worth of rent to get started. You’ll still need to prepare to invest some cash into paying for a pre-built OTT solution, but not only is it the cheapest alternative to building a service from the ground up, it’s also the best way to future-proof the growth of your content business.
Which OTT Solutions Are on the Market?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of OTT and its value for your career, let’s delve into the options you have for setting up your own streaming service. This list is by no means exhaustive, as new OTT companies seem to pop up on almost a yearly basis. However, it’s a good place to get started before choosing the best option for your content needs.
Consider these popular OTT solutions:
Established early on as the go-to video hosting site for creative artists and indie filmmakers, Vimeo now offers OTT solutions to creators thanks to its acquisition of video subscription service VHX. Rates start at $1 per subscriber per month, and available services include monetization options, analytics and custom apps spread across distribution devices like Roku, iOS platforms, and XBox.
Speaking of Roku, it’s possible for you to develop your own channel for distribution across this streaming company’s channel store and connected devices. While you can always pay a developer to code the channel for you, self-hosting and creating the channel is a cheaper solution. You’ll likely still pay at least $60 per month to release your content, but you’ll theoretically be able to promote your content to millions of Roku customers. This article from Roku developer Mediarazzi explains in detail three different options for launching your own Roku channel.
While MAZ distributes more than just video, the company’s self-titled content logistics system can help video creators like you get your content in front of the right viewers. Mobile and OTT apps are available for both iOS and Android, as are monetization options, curation features, and publishing schedules. MAZ doesn’t list pricing on its site, but it does encourage you to take a short 5-question quiz to better understand with how you can get started with its services.
As I noted earlier, these certainly aren’t your only OTT options. Companies like Pivotshare, Unreel, and other OTT distributors provide even more solutions to choose from. You can also search Google using terms like “OTT solution” or “OTT provider” and you’re sure to find relevant results. Finally, Videomaker offers an entire course on how to best share your content across the Internet.
Your audience wants more of your content from the devices they love, so give them what they want — get your own OTT apps and streaming service launched ASAP!
Bree Brouwer is a B2B copywriting and content marketing strategist for tech and video brands. Vintage fashion geek. Wife + puppy mom. Proud Arizonan. www.breebrouwer.com