Television content is now being consumed in more places than ever before. Under the umbrella term “Advanced TV” exists the digital off-springs of the broadcast era: Interactive TV (which may appear as digital overlays on top of linear TV commercials), Connected TV (CTV) / Over-the-Top (OTT) and Smart TVs, Linear Addressable TV—where ads targeted to specific households are inserted into live programming (i.e. DirecTV, Dish, Cablevision)—and Video-on-Demand Addressable—where dynamic ads are inserted into cable programs through the cable provider’s set-top box (ex: Comcast’s VOD).

OTT (Over-the-Top)

Before we jump into the OTT ecosystem, it’s important to discuss what the term OTT means. 

  • One camp sees the OTT streaming video experience as being within the confines of a TV screen (enabled through various technologies from streaming sticks and boxes (Apple TV / Roku / Chromecast), to video game consoles and Smart / Connected TVs).
  • Another camp includes streaming video content beyond TV screens to include delivery to smartphones and tablets.

The IAB definition is focused on the big screen, and describes OTT as a “device that can connect to a TV (or functionality within the TV itself) to facilitate the delivery of internet-based video content (i.e. streaming boxes, media streaming devices, smart TVs, and gaming consoles).

OTT aggregators: Offer a range of content from multiple providers delivered over the internet (i.e. Netflix/Hulu/Amazon prime video) without the involvement of a multi-system operator (MSO, i.e. Cox Communications/Comcast/Charter Communications). You can access this type of content without having a cable subscription.

OTT standalone services: Offers content delivered from one provider directly to the consumer over the internet without the involvement of an MSO (i.e. HBO NOW).

TV Everywhere (TVE). With TV Everywhere, content can be accessed through any internet-enabled device or mobile app with users signing in to TVE service using their subscription log in details (i.e. Watch ESPN, Fox Now). 

Examples of TV everywhere apps include the following:

Advanced TV: Any television content that has evolved beyond traditional, linear television delivery models. This umbrella term is inclusive of Interactive TV (iTV), Connected TV (CTV), Smart TV, and Linear Addressable & VOD Addressable.

Connected TV (CTV): A television set that is connected to the Internet via OTT devices, Blu-ray players, streaming box or stick, and gaming consoles, or has built-in internet capabilities (i.e., a Smart TV) and is able to access a variety of long-form and short-form web-based content.

Linear Addressable: The addressable ad inserted into live programming. For example, DirecTV, Dish, and Cablevision’s inventory is all linear addressable.

VOD Addressable: The addressable ad is inserted into cable programs within the VOD content accessible through a cable provider set top box. For example, Comcast’s addressable inventory is VOD addressable.

Video on Demand (VOD): Video content that is controlled, enabled, and consumed whenever a viewer wants after its official release date or original air date and time. VOD content can be found on set top boxes, OTT devices, mobile web, mobile apps, and video streaming services.

Over-the-Top Video (OTT) Content: Video content transported over an internet connection via a connected device (such as a connected TV, Smart TV, etc.) from a video provider to a connected device. 

Reference: IAB Digital Guide for Video

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