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BLOG: A level playing field

Deepakjit Singh, Managing Director, Asia, Encompass Digital Media | Nov. 18, 2013
How technology is opening doors for new OTT players and entrepreneurs

The rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers is heralding a new era for the entertainment industry. Today, it no longer matters whether we are using a mobile phone or a tablet to stream our favourite films and TV shows; whether we are doing so in a mall or in the subway. The bottom-line is, either way, customers have means and options to consume content constantly and they are choosing to do so.  Entertainment is no longer linear - and better broadband Internet connections, advanced levels of streaming technology, and the rise of smart devices have been contributing to the growing popularity of OTT technology.   

With consumers demanding a more holistic form of entertainment experience across multiple screens, there is an opportunity for new players to break into the industry. There are various forms of OTT outlets that have appeared and gained popularity in recent time - for example, electronic giants like SONY and Samsung have ventured into connected smart TVs; there are also connected set-top boxes and TV platforms like Google TV and web-based content services like Netflix and Amazon Video on demand; perhaps a more recent occurrence has been connected gaming consoles like PS3 and XBOX 360, which offers video and film streaming capabilities.

According to ABI Research, in 2012, the worldwide revenue for OTT video market exceeded $8billion, with Asia Pacific markets experiencing more than 50% growth rates in the year alone. The same research predicts revenue numbers will surpass $20billion by 2020. While the rapid growths of OTT will not likely result in the total demise of traditional media, the situation is allowing for many new and upcoming entrepreneurs to get their feet through the door.

Level playing field for new-comers
Currently, the true opportunity for new comers lies in their ability to deliver a comprehensive entertainment experience across multiple screens and platforms. OTT players entering the industry also have a significant advantage over their bigger, more established competitors: these new firms are small, nimble, and able to easily adapt to the constantly evolving way in which media is being consumed without being bogged down by bureaucracy.

In my experience, there are four areas where new entrepreneurs looking to capitalise on the growth opportunity in the OTT space will need to focus on:

Size: While the novelty of their offering may give them a momentary upper hand, for their long term survival, these new companies need to grow; and grow quickly while the momentum is still there since technology changes rapidly and opportunities can be lost if companies hesitate. In this aspect, entrepreneurs have an advantage if they are operating in Asia Pacific as the region is comparatively stable with plenty of opportunities for growth.


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