Over-the-top (OTT) solutions remain the foundation for most online streaming. The number of OTT users is expected to reach 3.71 billion in 2024. The market value of the industry will be more than USD 295.40 billion. Despite the market thriving with innovations and a wide array of choices for content distribution, investors need to be cautious when selecting the right platform. It is easy to be swayed by strong branding and advertising, but it is often necessary to revisit the fundamentals and scrutinise the app’s performance. Let’s explore the key factors essential for delivering exceptional viewing experiences with every OTT solution.

Let’s go back to the basics – what is OTT?

OTT solutions encompass a broad spectrum of applications and services that deliver audio, video, and other media content directly to users via the internet. This category includes popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+, as well as niche platforms catering to specific interests and demographics. The core advantage of OTT lies in its ability to reach users across various devices – from smartphones and tablets to smart TVs and gaming consoles – without the need for traditional broadcasting infrastructure.

The flexibility of OTT services allows providers to offer diverse content libraries, including live broadcasts, on-demand videos, and exclusive originals. This adaptability, combined with advanced personalisation and recommendation algorithms, ensures a tailored viewing experience that keeps audiences engaged.

Planning your OTT app for success

Launching a successful OTT app requires meticulous planning and strategic decision-making. Two critical components of this process are defining your target audience and content niche and choosing the right business model. By focusing on these aspects, you can lay a solid foundation for your app’s success.

Defining your target audience and content niche

The foundation of any successful OTT platform is an in-depth understanding of its target audience. Use market research and competitive analysis to create a comprehensive user persona. This persona should include demographics, viewing habits, content preferences, and potential pain points.

By meticulously defining your ideal audience, you can tailor your content strategy and overall app design to their specific interests.
Identify a content niche that aligns with your target audience’s interests and needs. This could be anything from sports and fitness to cooking, education, or niche genres like anime or independent films.

Choosing the right business model

The selection of your business model directly impacts your long-term financial viability. OTT platforms can leverage various monetisation models to generate revenue. Choosing the right model involves aligning your business goals with your audience’s preferences and market conditions. You can read in detail about all the models in our previous article.

Essential features of OTT app

The success of an OTT app hinges on its ability to provide an exceptional user experience. Key to this are several essential features that ensure users can easily access and enjoy content. Among these, a user-friendly interface, seamless navigation, and effective personalisation and recommendations stand out as crucial elements.

User-friendly interface

A user-friendly interface is the cornerstone of any successful OTT app. It encompasses the overall design, layout, and functionality of the app, ensuring that users can easily interact with it without confusion or frustration. Key aspects of a user-friendly interface include:

Seamless navigation

Seamless navigation is critical to keeping users engaged and preventing frustration. It involves ensuring that users can effortlessly move through the app to find and consume content. It is important to take care of:

Personalisation and recommendations

Personalisation and recommendations are essential for creating a tailored viewing experience that resonates with individual users. These features rely on data analytics and user behaviour to suggest relevant content. This includes:

Content management

Effective content management is crucial for the success of any OTT platform. It encompasses the efficient delivery of content, ensuring rights management and security, and the curation and organisation of content to provide a seamless and engaging user experience.

Efficient Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) play a vital role in the performance of OTT platforms. They ensure that content is delivered to users quickly and reliably, regardless of their geographic location. Efficient CDNs are essential for minimising latency, buffering, and load times, which directly impact user satisfaction. CDNs also allow OTT platforms to scale seamlessly, handling large volumes of traffic and peak loads without compromising performance. This is particularly important during live events or new content releases that attract high viewer numbers.

Rights management and security

Ensuring the proper management of content rights and maintaining security are paramount for protecting intellectual property and adhering to licensing agreements. Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies protect content from unauthorised access and distribution. They encrypt content and manage access rights, ensuring that only authorised users can view the content.

Curating and organising content

The way content is curated and organised significantly impacts user experience and engagement. Effective content curation and organisation ensure that users can easily find and enjoy the content they are interested in. Organising content into clear and logical categories, such as genres, release dates, and popularity, helps users navigate the library more easily. Tags and metadata play a crucial role in this categorisation. Leveraging data analytics and machine learning algorithms to provide personalised content recommendations can enhance user engagement. These recommendations should be based on user behaviour, preferences, and viewing history. Creating curated playlists and collections around themes, events, or user interests can attract and retain viewers.

User engagement and retention

User engagement and retention are critical for the sustained success of any OTT platform. Keeping users engaged and ensuring they remain loyal subscribers requires a combination of interactive features, social integration, and effective feedback and support systems. Here’s how these elements contribute to a compelling user experience.

Interactive features

Interactive features significantly enhance user engagement by making the viewing experience more immersive and participatory. Features such as live chats during streaming events, polls, and interactive storylines allow users to actively participate rather than passively consume content.

Social integration

Social integration is another powerful tool for boosting user engagement. By incorporating social media elements into the platform, OTT services can leverage the power of social networks to attract and retain users. Features such as sharing capabilities, social media logins, and integrated social feeds enable users to connect and share their viewing experiences with friends and followers.

Final thoughts

Delivering an amazing viewing experience requires a holistic approach that combines strategic planning, robust technology, and user-centric design. The success of an OTT platform hinges on its ability to understand and meet the needs of its audience, offer high-quality and diverse content, and provide a seamless and engaging user experience.

In summary, by focusing on these key areas—audience targeting, business model selection, content management, and user engagement—OTT platforms can build a strong foundation for delivering exceptional viewing experiences. This attracts and retains users and drives long-term growth and success in the competitive streaming landscape.

Are you ready to build an exceptional OTT platform that stands out in the competitive streaming market? We can help. Our team of experts specialises in developing OTT solutions tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.

About the author

Oliwia Poswiat

Marketing Specialist