The demand for niche, local OTT content that’s driving the ultimate human-interest story

A couple sitting together on a couch eating popcorn.

The popularity of OTT content remains unabated, driving innovation in not only consumer viewing experiences but the way media and entertainment companies create and deliver content.

According to Statista, total revenue among SVODs is expected to reach US$25 billion for this year alone. Their success has motivated other industry giants to enter the fray. Google launched YouTube TV in 2017, ESPN+ in April 2018 (which already counts over 2 million subscribers), both Apple TV+ and Disney+ will make their forays into the space this year, and Discovery with BBC Studios will offer a new OTT platform in 2020.

Fat channels driving the demand for niche content

Those huge companies already lay claim to enormous catalogues of creative content, and customers can now see directly into their tremendous archives. These so called ‘fat channels’ don’t just reveal an enormous choice of on-demand content, they’re driving new demand for niche content (be it about anime, wrestling, or gardening), hyper-local content (be it for Malaysia, Denmark, or Brazil) as well as originally produced programming pioneered by the likes of Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.

More local, more global content

Content that appeals to the range of human interests around the world is growing and it’s exciting to witness. Consumers now have the potential to get the best of both worlds — to see our own local cultures and niche interests reflected in entertainment, and to see the blockbuster films and TV from cultures wholly different from our own.

If the mantra to ‘think locally and act globally’ ever had an expression in popular entertainment, the expanding OTT content landscape may be it. But it’s not just the consumers who are getting a more local and global view of things.

More local, more global content production

The demand for more localized, niche and just more content, is also changing the nature of global media production pipelines, and how the people in them work together. Media giants are collaborating with local specialty production, post production, and delivery companies around the world to develop niche content and to access localization services. International and intercompany partnerships are thriving, and new media start-ups are popping up all over the world to meet demand.

All in all, it’s an exciting time for the global media industry. From a macro perspective — taking in the whole range of the content being produced and people who make it — it’s a story about humanity wanting to both delight in our individuality and connect across differences via a format that is universally enjoyed. And, while it might not not be the ‘ultimate’ human-interest story, it is pretty amazing to see it all unfolding. Something to think about as we sit down to ‘watch TV’ tonight.

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