OTT is clearly becoming a large and growing slice of all viewing, especially among younger audiences.
Television networks across the world can’t decide whether the internet represents more of an opportunity than a threat. Most broadcasters recognise the upside potential of the web. That’s why they are playing with it. But (like their cousins in hard copy media) the mood darkens when they worry about how they can find 21st century gold while preparing to defend traditional cash-cow businesses from attack by digital ‘natives’.
The inevitable conflict starts with the debate about what television actually is. If we define it as ‘video programming’, there are three broad types of TV:
1. Broadcast: free-to-air or subscription or pay-as-you-go; and terrestrial or satellite or cable
2. IPTV (Internet Protocol Television): web programming by network operators like British Telecom or Telstra or Verizon.
3. OTT (‘Over The Top’): web services provided independently of network operators, like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, LoveFilm, and BBC iPlayer. Either free or pay-as-you-go.
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