It is a well-known fact that consumers are now switching from the traditional approach of watching a film at the theatres to an alternative, more convenient resource, i.e. OTT platforms. OTT or Over The Top refers to streaming content to customers directly over the internet. OTT platforms are an upgraded form of technology that immediately hit it off in a volatile market which seemed hungry to adopt these upgrades. OTT’s platforms were primarily and almost exclusively led by Netflix with few other small streaming services.
Netflix’s strategy was simple - a platform for users to stream their favourite shows or movies at their own leisure without adhering to a schedule, without battling for a chance to watch a show or a movie. However, what led Netflix right to the top? No advertisements! Nonetheless, that wasn’t the sole sell. Netflix also promised that they would release all the episodes of the show at release. No waiting, no suspense. No cliff-hangers to increase the rating week after week.
This was an unbelievably bold stroke but Netflix didn’t stop there. Along with the multiple top-rated shows available on stream, Netflix produced high budget original series and movies with high rated actors to show that they weren’t messing around. These shows were so well produced and marketed that they are currently award winners in multiple categories. Netflix had become the face of OTT, undisputedly.
By then, other colossal companies had begun to take note of this potential market, realising how big a brand Netflix was creating. Multiple companies attempted to ditto the business plan of Netflix to variable levels of success. Amazon studied the market and released Amazon Prime – a service that extended to bonuses with their shopping as well. Amazon, being one of the biggest companies in the world, wasn’t prepared to back down. They offered the same proposal - no ads, massive production of original series, the whole nine yards.
Amazon’s success has been variable but they are catching up; they have strengthened their hold of the Asian market by pandering to a lot of cultural favourites. On top of this, Amazon began to increase the number of local originals. Netflix also participates in this strife, albeit their content is of sufficient quality, the quantity however isn’t enough.
One silent but sure competitor in this market was Disney. Following Disney’s takeover of Fox and its assets, Disney was all but prepared to launch an expansive opening worldwide with their very own streaming service, Disney+. This was a well-expected move once OTT was projected to expand exponentially, due to Disney’s chokehold on the multimedia industry. Disney owned Marvel, which meant they had the exclusive right to all of their box office mega-hits. Disney+ wasn’t just about owning the best though; they wanted their own originals and subsequently produced a quality series named ‘The Mandalorian’, which was set in a Star Wars universe. The show was a huge success.
In our current scenario, we see these three colossal companies battle it out, as OTT has become such a household phenomenon. The marketing is brand new; we see one-liners from shows and brands in itself work its way to our slang and virtually affect our lingo. The companies often change their strategy day by day due to the volatility of the market. Since the audience is so massive, there are only so many that you can pander to. Netflix has leaned into producing indie or teen-targeted dramas to get a viewer fanbase while Amazon is currently investing more and more in high budget originals to overtake Netflix’s monopoly in that category. Disney+ is doing both simultaneously at a considerably slower rate.
We do see alternative OTT platforms to these three such as Hulu and so on, but they still have a lot of catching up to do. There is also a battle with theatres that the OTT platforms are trying to overtake. OTT was initially just an alternative to cable with no support, but now it has singlehandedly put cable television almost out of business. The war of these megacompanies ultimately benefits the consumers with such a great abundance in choice, that it’s thrilling to see what more the future holds. Whether you are a fan of OTT or a believer of the traditional approach of watching multimedia, we can all agree that this era of streaming services eventually is a step in the right direction for a more technologically oriented posterity.