OTT: If ya Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em

As we may have mentioned before, Internet-delivered over-the-top (OTT) video is growing by leaps and bounds, creating a bit of a competitive quandary for traditional video service providers, who have been shedding ...

Expo '18 trends to watch: DAA, wireless
Expo '18 trends to watch: DAA, wireless

As we may have mentioned before, Internet-delivered over-the-top (OTT) video is growing by leaps and bounds, creating a bit of a competitive quandary for traditional video service providers, who have been shedding subscribers for some years.

Increasingly, traditional providers are taking a "coopetition" approach, integrating access to OTT services within their own platforms. For example, last year Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) added Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) access to its X1 video platform and is working to integrate Sling as well.

In the latest such move, Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ:CNSL) just launched its CCI All Access App, a multiscreen video application that provides a single access point to its own live and on-demand content, as well as OTT providers including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO. Like Comcast, Consolidated has seen the OTT writing on the wall and apparently decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

The vendor community hasn't been idle, either. TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO), which has long made OTT content available through its boxes and user interfaces, just came out with a new service provider content discovery platform designed to bring up recommendations from all of the subscriber's video catalogs - including OTT - rather than just the traditional service provider's content. This approach is getting very close to the "OTT Aggregator" notion I wrote about in December.

Similarly, ZoneTV has teamed up with CDN provider Ooyala and Microsoft to automatically curate "digital-first" video content into a customizable suite of linear TV channels. Like TiVo's product, ZoneTV's service is designed around highly personalized search and recommendations combining content from various sources, including linear, on-demand and customized choices. That service, scheduled to launch this fall, will use ZoneTV's own licensed content, but could also readily accommodate OTT once the appropriate carriage deals were sorted out.

The coopetition approach makes sense for traditional video service providers. If your customers also subscribe to OTT services such as Netflix - and 62% of them do, according to the Leichtman Research Group - it's probably a good idea to let them access it through your portal rather than lose them altogether.

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