12 OTT Trends to Take Advantage of in 2021

As a child, watching television was the only source of entertainment. We all have quarreled with our siblings over the favorite TV channel, as we could only watch one channel at a time. 

But today, everyone has the liberty to stream and watch the content of their choice on their internet-enabled device — be it laptops, smartphones, or smart TVs. 

The advancement of the internet and digital technologies have led to a new era of content streaming over OTT ( Over-the-top) platforms. 

The OTT trends gained much traction in the past year when every content creator including big production houses and independent broadcasters started releasing directly on some top platforms. 

Besides, the pandemic forced people to spend more time at home and turn to video consumption for entertainment. This resulted in the surge in online streaming. In fact, Nielsen reported a 60% increase in global video consumption in 2020.

It is estimated that 750 million smartphones will increase the demand for short content, regional, and UGC by 2025. OTT is massive, and it’s a great opportunity for every type of video content creator to take advantage of video streaming trends and build a niche for themselves. 

Here’s a list of global OTT trends to watch for this year and beyond. 

Table of Contents:

1. What is OTT, and Why is it booming?

2. Top 12 OTT Trends and Future Predictions for 2021

3. Follow OTT Trends and Launch Your Business ASAP

What Is OTT, and Why Is it Booming? 

OTT is an acronym for over-the-top that refers to the delivery of TV and movie content over the internet at the request of the individual consumer. 

Since the middle of the 1990s, digital TV content delivery via Internet Protocol (IPTV) has been the basic way for distributing content to viewers. But it locked consumers to only one service provider and the content offered was also limited to channels available in a particular region. 

OTT technology has overcome the limitations of the single operator set-top box required by IPTV. People get a multitude of options at their fingertips. They can view content on a variety of platforms such as smart TVs, Roku, tablets, and gaming consoles. 

In fact, they get more control over the content they choose to purchase and watch. 

No wonder people are cutting TV cords and shifting to OTT platforms. Today, nearly 520 million US consumers are watching OTT videos. 

According to Digital TV Research, the North American OTT market is set to double its revenue to US$94 billion by 2026. 

Having said that, there’s a new challenge for content creators to get more and more viewership as top companies like Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney Plus have already started building their niche in an already packed streaming market. 

Top 12 OTT Trends and Future Predictions for 2021

The rise of 5G and the Covid-19 situation has accelerated the adoption of the OTT market. 

Let’s look at some of the major future OTT trends that will help you prepare better for the future of the industry. 

OTT Market Continue to Expand

With video streaming services on the surge, OTT platforms seem to be the future of the Media and Entertainment industry. 

A lot of people embraced OTT platforms during the lockdown as their main source of entertainment. This is the same reason why advertising on OTT platforms jumped by 25% in 2020 alone. And around 57% of digital advertisers intend to increase their spending in 2021. 

In such a competitive space, it’s crucial for content creators to provide personalized content to match the ever-changing demands of viewers. 

As the OTT market continues to expand, customizable content will play a major role in the coming years. It will be a key differentiator for creators enabling a personalized viewing experience to its users. 

Well, personalization can be achieved through tailored content or strategizing recommendation engines. 

OTT Giants Rule the Market

Major OTT TV media companies like Disney, HBO, and NBC are rolling out their own streaming service. These media giants have released Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock Premium, respectively. 

Did you know that the Disney+ app was downloaded 3.2 million times in the first 24 hours it was available? 

As per the latest OTT industry output report by the London-based business research analysis and consultancy firm, Omdia, these OTT giants are estimated to spend a total of $4.2 billion during 2021–25. It has grown sixfold from $840 million, spent on original content production in India during 2017–19. 

Besides, some other OTT trends in 2021 include a big increase in live streaming of concerts, events, and sports. 

Live Streaming Shows a Promising Future

Viewers have started demanding live experiences, as those are more engaging compared to on-demand videos. 

Live streaming was also ranked as the top OTT market trend in 2017. Since then, viewers are progressively turning to live OTT broadcasts — be it on social media or any other streaming services. 

In 2020 alone, 1.3 million US households canceled their traditional cable subscriptions. At the same time, live streaming services saw their subscriber bases explode by over 300%.

Facebook’s statistics state that live video streaming attracts three times more viewership than the normal playback. Its popularity can be seen from the fact that even Twitter and LinkedIn had switched to live video streaming trends. 

It’s obvious that the future of OTT platforms will see more companies investing in streaming platforms that will provide live advertisement opportunities. It will be a great way to reach a wide range of audiences. 

COVID-19 Pandemic has Accelerated OTT Viewership

Around the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in many countries going into complete lockdown. This affected a lot of industries as business operations were shut down. 

However, OTT streaming services came out on top as people spent more time at home turning to video consumption for entertainment. 

Disney+ took advantage of the situation and released Frozen II. The strategy was to help parents working from home find a solution to keep their children busy. 

Similarly, other released originals on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime gained much success. 

A report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the growth of OTT subscriptions by 60%. 

Besides, another global OTT trend that became popular was synchronized watching. It allows people to enjoy content together even when they aren’t in the same location.

OTT Presents Exciting Opportunities For Video Producers, Broadcasters, and Publishers

As market conditions are changing rapidly, brands will soon make marketing budgets allocations for OTT platforms. 

While big OTT giants will thrive in fierce competition, it’s going to be a great opportunity for small or independent video producers and broadcasters to earn revenue

Video producers and broadcasters will need to go beyond views and create strategies that will help them drive sustainable growth and revenue. 

Rise of Competent OTT Hosting Platforms

Nearly 80% of consumers in the U.S. have subscribed to at least one streaming service. 

Top OTT service players like Netflix, HBO Now, and others have changed the way viewers consume content today. They expect nothing less than on-demand streaming that allows them to watch whenever they wish by simply subscribing to your service. 

In fact, research states that the number of SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) users is projected to skyrocket to 307 million by 2025 in the US alone. 

This is the same reason why many OTT hosting platforms are coming up – that enable independent creators to build and launch their own OTT platform. 

One such popular OTT hosting platform is Ventuno that allows content creators to instantly lease a white-labeled OTT app for a monthly or yearly fee. 

Having an OTT app can help your video business reach out to a wider set of audiences across various distribution channels. 

Moreover, Ventuno enables you to customize the OTT app and give the feel and look of your own brand. What’s more, it provides a robust content management system to help you build up an organized library. 

Most importantly, you can get started instantly without any prior coding knowledge. 

5G Will Disrupt the OTT Market

OTT market trends will be largely influenced by the rolling of 5G technology. 

5G has grown rapidly to become the next generation of cellular networks, deployed across much of the world. It provides faster and more reliable internet speed. 

The benefits of the 5G network will be clearly seen in high-definition video streaming, event streaming, live sports, and other instances. 

In fact, 29% of consumers would pay a premium if 5G provided a better quality video on mobile devices and decreased buffering while streaming. 

Rise of Innovative OTT Monetization Models

Truth be told, we have reached the stage of subscription fatigue — where many viewers have become tired of subscribing to multiple services.

More than a third of video broadcasters monetize their content via subscription models. 

This has also led to innovation in the OTT video monetization trend. For instance, providers are now adopting more pay-per-view and advertising monetization as an alternative to a subscription model. 

UX Largely Determines the Success of OTT Platforms

With increasing OTT streaming services, creators are now also facing the challenge of getting more and more user attention. 

In the future of the OTT industry, providers will have to offer extensive libraries of compelling content along with an intuitive user interface (UX). 

If you want to stand out, you need to provide a good browsing experience. 

One such example is that of Netflix that enables its users to have a great, hassle-free experience watching content.

OTT service providers with suboptimal user experience will have a hard time acquiring subscribers. 

Rise of OTT Ad Personalization and Localization

With more and more viewers consuming online content every day, the focus is also shifting towards platform advertising. 

OTT advertising trends will enable advertisers to create a custom, hyper-specific audience based on behavioral and contextual demographics. 

This is critical to local businesses as it will allow them to target their ideal customers even before they are aware they need your products or services. Whereas, TV commercials only service potentially millions of unsegmented viewers. 

Besides, you can also get more specific with your geographic targeting when compared to broadcast TV. 

For instance, you will be able to choose the specific ZIP codes where you want this ad to be shown. This will eliminate any unnecessary impressions and focus only on the specific target audience. 

International Content Gains More Popularity

OTT viewership trends are also in favor of international content that has gained massic traction across markets. 

You will find how OTT services like ZEE5 have dubbed and introduced international content with subtitles. The idea is to enable people to access stories/content from any other location. 

International content is at the forefront for viewers as OTT platforms are giving access to literally a whole world of new content by blurring boundaries. 

One good example is how Indian stories are traveling across the globe. Shows like Made in Heaven and Four More Shots Please! made it to the nomination for the International Emmy Awards. It’s like a testimony for local stories finding audiences worldwide. 

Immersive Technologies for OTT on a Rising Trend 

Another current trend in OTT is the streaming of 4K and blu-ray quality video formats that is pushing the video quality. Investment in technology is seeing a rise and this is how TVs, smartphones, and laptops are becoming more adaptable to streaming high-resolution formats. 

The cost of 4K TVs has fallen drastically combined with a 70% increase in shipments.

Besides, OTT service providers will need AI-driven advanced analytics to provide personalized and sophisticated experiences to their viewers. Anticipating your viewers’ needs will help you retain your customers and entice them to renew their subscriptions. 

Follow OTT Trends and Launch Your Business ASAP

2021 has brought some interesting current trends in OTT. If you don’t have your own OTT platform, you are majorly missing out. 

Even though some major OTT services are dominating the market, there’s still scope for small producers and broadcasters to mark their niche. 

The best way is to turn to an OTT service provider that provides a robust platform to launch your own OTT application. With a cloud-based OTT platform like Ventuno, you do not have to worry about creating your OTT app from scratch. By simply signing up, you can start accessing your app. 

From a solid content management system to advanced security, white-labeling, and full maintenance package, you can find it all in a single package. 

With OTT applications, the scope to reach a wider audience and tap a new source of revenue is huge. Understanding the current OTT trends is necessary to move in the right direction. 

In essence, companies that will follow these video streaming trends in 2021 will come out on the top. So, what are you waiting for? 

Launch Your OTT Application Today

Nikita Agarwal

Made with in Chennai

Nikita Agarwal