“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” While some industries have been severely hit by COVID-19, others experience exponential growth. OTT providers are definitely among the winners, with more than 500 mln SVoD subscriptions achieved by 2022. And the audience’s interest in video streaming services isn’t waning.

Growth of SVoD subscriptions and subscribers worldwide from 2020 to 2026

Growth of SVoD subscriptions and subscribers worldwide from 2020 to 2026
Source: Statista

Today streaming projects promise high growth and high investment returns for market leaders and successful startups. However, to become one, you need to choose the right OTT provider. The competition is tough and the market is overpopulated with video services of all kind. To stand out you have to find a unique content offering, create value with your solution and make sure you have a robust technology to back your video service. The role of an OTT provider is crucial as the platform would manage connected devices, analyze customer data, and offer a perfect viewing experience.

Some businesses choose to release their own custom product, and others prefer ready-to-use platforms from major players that cover the core functionality of their project. Which way to go? Here is our opinion.

Breaking Down the Buy Vs. Build Dilemma

When a business starts thinking about a video service and a platform running behind it, one of the most frequent questions is: “Should I build or should I buy”?

First, we always highlight the following idea:

  • Buy doesn’t necessarily imply a larger mid- or long-term investment compared to Build. Off-the-shelf solutions provide a variety of monetization models among which a company chooses the most beneficial one. Besides, efforts spent on an OTT platform customization and maintenance can be too costly.

Second, we do think that some streaming services would benefit more from building their own product. Particularly, we’d advise custom OTT video platform development for the following projects:

  • They want to differentiate themselves from the pack and see diversity as their key power.
  • They want to control 100% of their innovation cycles and don’t want to wait for releases and updates from an OTT provider.
  • Their own internal infrastructure allows them to reach the needed level of flexibility and velocity.
  • They are free to invest in tech assets that create extra value for customers and that are not always present in ready-to-go OTT platforms: tailored admin panels, next-gen video players with extra opportunities, content recommendation engines, localization UX, etc.

How we can help

Let’s talk about the opportunities streaming services hold for your business and how Oxagile can unlock them.

Parameters to consider when choosing an OTT platform

OTT video streaming providers focus on different aspects and industries to stand out from the competition. However, such platforms have a more or less common set of built-in features. This makes them a reliable and universal solution for most projects on the market.

  • Content delivery network (CDN). A CDN comprises different servers into a single ecosystem so that a user would access the content at high speed from any location. Major OTT players use global CDNs that deliver video from the closest local server instead of overwhelming the origin one.
  • SDK and API. An open software development kit (SDK) allows users to upgrade and customize a standard platform according to their business needs. Access to multiple APIs help enhance the platform’s functionality with additional third-party instruments, from integration with movie databases to payment processing.
  • Security features. In OTT, the category spans over a wide array of solutions, from user authentication and payment security to video content protection, AES encryption, and Digital Rights Management (DRM).
  • Monetization tools. A company chooses the most relevant monetization model according to their business goals, be it AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) model, TVOD models (pay per view video on demand), or SVOD (subscriber video on demand). A platform can offer tools for better implementation of the selected model. For example, an AVOD-based streaming service needs better analytics and targeting instruments and integration with a server-side ad insertion (SSAI) solution.
  • Content management system (CMS). A custom CMS is a huge time saver that helps set up scheduled and organized video creation and distribution processes. A central repository stores video, while special tools help edit, encode and secure files.

Top OTT Platforms for Streaming Business

Wowza

Wowza is probably the only major OTT platform promoting itself as a suitable solution for governmental bodies, i.e. news and public information distribution. Its clients include TVW, the public-affairs broadcast network for the state of Washington, and Granicus which manages the world’s largest and most reliable legislative content network. However, the platform doesn’t offer any native monetization option.

Here are the features that have won the trust of the major media players:

  • Extreme security options. The built-in functionality provides SSL certificates for streams traveling across the public internet, a random single-use key and a password system that protects every connection, and integration with Apple FairPlay, Microsoft PlayReady, or Google Widevine.
  • Built-in transcoding. No matter what device a viewer uses, adaptive-bitrate video streams ensure an optimal viewing experience.
  • Custom CDN. Businesses can adapt playback settings, video quality, and so on themselves.
  • Multiple APIs. Whether it’s external system integration, voice-to-text transcription of audio, or timecode generation, a company can enjoy ready-to-use integration solutions to get the product it needs.

IBM

IBM OTT platform is one of the media solutions offered by the leading tech company. Here are its key characteristics:

  • Streaming both live video and VOD services. Multiple CDNs and video rendering enable services to be distributed to any device globally in HD quality. As a result, IBM’s clients get an opportunity to reach a wide potential audience right from the start.
  • Robust white label opportunities. They include numerous APIs, open SDK, and branding options. It allows media companies and other clients to promote a video platform under their own brand.
  • In-built monetization tools. Content creators can select the OTT video monetization strategy that suits them better among AVOD, TVOD, and SVOD.
  • An integrated CMS. A custom online video editor helps trim out unwanted segments, manages metadata that makes video content more discoverable, and automatically generates closed captions.

Vimeo

Vimeo OTT is an all-in-one solution for small businesses: it guarantees quality video streaming, customization options, and an easy upload process. For them, the OTT platform provides all the necessary tools to stream, upload and store videos, generate embed codes, and capture screen recordings:

  • A user-friendly interface for administrators and viewers, with intuitive navigation and slim UX/UI design. Vimeo boasts a luxury high-tech feel and makes the right impression on end-users.
  • Ease of integration and embedding across many platforms. Using the power of the Vimeo brand, the platform has achieved impressive compatibility with other platforms. This gives the client’s viewers more options to join the stream.
  • Real-time statistics on viewership and chat. These tools provide an up-to-the-minute understanding of viewers’ needs and help content creators and media companies adapt to their preferences.
  • Vimeo’s tech expertise. The platform provides 24/7 support, an account manager, and an app launch team that helps clients focus on their priorities instead of solving technical issues.

Brightcove

Brightcove’s OTT platform features multiple APIs that enable a client’s solution customization and enhancement. The video administration console is easy to use for non-technical users, like video content managers or marketing specialists.

Thus, the user can easily:

  • Add start and end markers to videos, which makes it easy to play context-sensitive video play;
  • Add tags, key descriptions, and summaries for web searches in order to broaden the reach of video material;
  • Ensure that videos cannot be downloaded and shared by those whose access rights are limited;
  • Choose among ready-to-use responsive video players. Such players can be customized, restyled, and rebranded.

Muvi

Muvi is a powerful multitask video/audio content delivery solution. That’s why it’s chosen by large-scale media companies: TV channels, apps such as Only Fans, or companies like Nike that heavily rely on their video content.

What makes Muvi an all-in-one OTT platform for the most ambitious projects?

  • A robust set of tools to manage and maintain a comprehensive video solution. The set includes configuration packages for different monetization models (SVOD, TVOD, PPV, AVOD, etc.); an easy-to-navigate dashboard; built-in CDNs for smooth viewing experience; metadata management tools, etc.
  • Offerings for different aims: Muvi Blue for white label solutions; Muvi Kart for ready-to-use images and video files; native white-label iOS/Android apps and a dedicated SDK for custom mobile app development.
  • Multiple integrations. Zoom, Zapier, payment gateways, and other off-the-shelf solutions speed time to market to the maximum.

Conclusion

Whether you decide to build an OTT platform from scratch or subscribe to an existing one and integrate it with your product, you need experts to bring the project to life. A cross-functional team will bring the expertise of broadcast, video engineering, software engineering, and other domains.