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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

People are watching OTT—but not how you think

March 18, 2019 | By Dana Ghavami, CEO—Spotible @Spotible

You’re a cord cutter. You’re a cord never. You’ve extended the cord with your choice of OTT beyond cable TV.

You commute to work. You’re out of home more than you’re home during the week. So, your mobile phone has become life’s remote control for productivity and connectivity with family and friends and media, and social network(s).

As you pass fellow citizens on the go, you see them watching live sports, movies, binging shows, or catching the latest episode of a series. You can get your coffee to go. You can get your tapas to go. And now you can get your TV to go. It is easy to assume that this is the likely way that most OTT is consumed.

The Comfort of Home

However, most OTT is actually watched from a TV turned Connected TV through a smart app or OTT dongle made by one of the big four: Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, or Roku. The big screen is still the preferred screen to watch TV video content. You want to be home. You want to have surround sound. You want to snack.

We consistently see this trend in OTT media from analytics revealed by the largest content streaming service provider; over 70% of the time, Netflix is viewed on Connected TVs. A majority of YouTube TV is also viewed on Connected TVs, although the service is positioned as a mobile-first viewing platform. We also see viewing of direct to consumer (DTC) OTT brands of all genres – whether business, entertainment, or family –  primarily take place on Connected TV, in some cases as high as 80% of the time.

Screen Time

In contrast, just 15-20% of OTT is viewed on mobile devices. Of those views, an interesting and often overlooked statistic “casting,” in which viewers are mirroring or remote controlling OTT to their smart TV wirelessly from their phone. The remainder of OTT streams are being watched on computers.

With the majority of OTT being watched on a Connected TV, the medium is taking the shape and the form of the TV industry. vMVPDs are the new MVPDs. NewFronts are the new Upfronts. Even co-viewing is now a thing in OTT discussions with buyers. In this case, the number of viewers in the room watching an ad on a Connected TV is being considered, as with TV.

All in all, the trend of watching TV over the top compared to traditionally now accounts for a third of total daily TV time globally. The adoption rate will likely continue to grow as access and content proliferate over the top. Although we live our lives on the go and do most things on our smartphone, the preference and actual predominance of watching TV over the top is on a Connected TV, at home. OTT is really the new TV.

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