In late October, Digital Content Next (DCN) published an article entitled OTT Distribution Channels are Changing. Be Ready, in which they explored the evolving ways in which consumers are engaging with OTT media. As DCN argued, as more and more modes of distribution become available, customers will be increasingly picky around what and how they watch. But this also applies to OTT production.
In the past two months, streaming fans have seen the introduction of two new major players in the field: Disney+ and Apple TV+. In May of 2020, HBO Max will join the ranks, and the buffet of streaming options will become more populated than ever before. With the announcement of new services, and the continued popularity of older ones, entertainment news is constantly ablaze with stories of new original content from OTT providers, as well as the battle over who will be licensing already popular intellectual property (IP) like “Friends” or Marvel films.
With so many high-quality original offerings, it’s hard to remember the skepticism that arose when Netflix first announced its foray into original programming, the doubt around whether a company that began by mailing viewers DVDs could really create unique and attention-grabbing IP.
Not only was “House of Cards” quick to silence pessimists, but now a robust mix of classic and original content is largely expected by anyone considering subscribing to a new streaming service. For original content, customer expectations are also rising with regard to production value and visual extravagance. While a political thriller or prison dramady might have been enough to satisfy us five years ago, dragons and space battles are what’s currently in demand.
It’s probably fair to suggest that as more streaming services throw their hats into the ring, competition will drive content creators to go bigger and bigger in terms of spectacle and licensing. As a result, OTT services will find themselves working with a broad content supply chain that includes sourcing content from a variety of providers, and creating their own content, leveraging outside help from production and post-production teams.
Streaming services are now operating under much of the same pressure as traditional media companies, facing many of the same challenges, and requiring the same powerful tools. The more elaborate the supply chain the more important it is to have tools that make it easy, fast and secure to collaborate, outsource, and receive the files that viewers are clamoring for.
The OTT market is at an exciting and pivotal time and being sure to seize on that and optimize it is vital, especially as the field gets increasingly densely populated. While some speculate that streaming providers are creating a bubble that just might burst, those providers that offer great, unique content are likely to thrive, no matter the next chapter of the story.
There are a great number of considerations that go into delivering content that viewers want to watch, come back to, obsess over, and being able to work alongside the creative partners who can help make the best shows and films available is absolutely essential. In order to do that, however, OTT organizations will need to move files swiftly and safely, under tight deadlines and among a range of partners.
File transfer, while not the most obvious or the most glamorous of the factors at play, will prove critical to OTT providers, and to the creation and distribution of content that’s up to the standards of viewers, and that can reach them at the rate and through the platform they expect.
At the end of the day, no matter the medium, content will always reign supreme.