Senior Vice President Commercial, Video Experience, Deltatre
Previously, specialist, regional and niche content providers had very few options when it came to monetizing their content. Try and deliver it themselves, and the results would often mean spiraling costs and limited functionality for their audience. Buddy up with a big player who’ll do the heavy lifting, but realize there is a limit to the rewards they would reap.
But, with the advent of quick-to-launch, cost-effective, end-to-end over-the-top (OTT) platforms, the game has changed. These platforms put content providers and rights holders in the driving seat, able to access data and use it to improve services – without spending a fortune. Most importantly, they’re able to unlock a host of monetization opportunities.
OTT streaming has exploded in recent years. In 2020, the total market was valued at $38.7bn, with projections to reach a staggering $139bn by 2028*. This rapid growth has been driven by several factors, not least including COVID, the acceleration of cord-cutting, growing smart device penetration, and continued investment in 5G. One thing that can’t be ignored is the introduction of new OTT products that make investing in and launching a streaming platform far more accessible than ever before.
Success is no longer tied up with the big players – niche or localized services that cater to a particular audience demographic are becoming prolific, as these players bypass the traditional cable and satellite model and take the direct-to-consumer (D2C) route.
Niche OTT players have much smaller budgets than the likes of international leagues and federations. However, evolutions in OTT technology mean the opportunities for local content providers and niche rights holders to monetize their content are greater than ever before.
It’s got to be D2C
It might be more of a long-term bet, but the road to financial independence for many niche content providers lies in D2C content.
While a big payday from a streaming giant might tempt many local or niche content providers, it’s important to acknowledge that rights owners don’t need to rely on big tech to move into the OTT space. D2C platforms offer leagues and federations a big opportunity to monetize their own content.
Live footage is a given, but where D2C really comes into its own is the ability to fill the gaps around live matches with original, engaging, and exclusive footage. More than a third** of global sports fans watch non-live content, and programming in the way of player interviews, docuseries, and webinars is the perfect way to give it to them.
Furthermore, selling rights to the likes of Amazon, Apple or tomorrow, Netflix, means giving up some ability to better understand users and maintain an active dialogue with them. As well as the monetization aspect of a D2C platform, the data and insights that can be gained from a content provider’s own customers are second to none when it comes to evolving and improving their offering.
Technology is leveling the playing field in OTT
Traditionally, end-to-end streaming platforms can take a significant period to launch from start to finish – from 6 to 18 months – and their high price tag can mean that niche OTT players are priced out of the D2C game.
Thankfully for content providers, the tide is beginning to turn. The OTT boom in recent years has seen the advent of several solutions that remove many of the hurdles that have been in place for new players.
Solutions like Deltatre’s new out-of-the-box OTT platform mean that niche OTT players can launch in a matter of weeks as opposed to months. Deltatre's product has a launch time of just 90 days. And, although the customization element in these new technologies isn’t as extensive as a full end-to-end build, they still allow rights holders and content providers to build first-class streaming platforms to monetize their own content.
The out-of-the-box nature of these solutions (which gives much better value for niche OTT platforms) enables experimentation with different types of content that previously would have required significant investment. Where there is content, there is opportunity, and these advances in technology are breaking down the barriers for entry into the OTT market.
There is a large market of specialist, regional, and niche content players that technology vendors have traditionally underserved, and now is the perfect time to utilize new technology to deliver first-class streaming services, drive revenue, and accelerate growth.