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One of the best things about linear TV is the sense of a shared experience – of watching, for example, an international football tournament with family or friends and then celebrating (or in England’s case, commiserating!) together. Of tuning in to a worldwide event like the finale of Game of Thrones and dissecting it afterwards, or looking forward to the start of a new season of Love Island in the expectation of intrigue and scandal....

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Despite the resilience and stability of the infrastructure, the defined quality of the output, the guaranteed geographical coverage for audiences, and the decades of client and supply chain experience built up in the process, there was always going to come a time when it became cheaper to deliver content via IP rather than broadcast. Has that threshold been reached yet? That was the subject of this week’s OTT Question Time (Thursday 15th July, 4pm UK)....

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If you’ve ever found yourself confused about content rights, you’re not alone. I’ve been working in OTT since 2005 and I still don’t really understand why, for example, the Tom Holland Spiderman movies aren’t on Disney+ (Disney owns Marvel, right?), why I can’t find the 2019 season of Masterchef UK, first aired on the BBC, to watch on any platform (AVOD / SVOD / TVOD) or why Usain Bolt’s 100m from the Beijing Olympics is...

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“Content is king” – the idea that OTT services need to consistently replenish their catalogues to attract (and retain) customers – is a phrase repeated so often that it’s almost become hackneyed. And yet, for broadcasters, film studios and service-providers, it’s never felt truer. Over the past sixteen months, while lots of us have been stuck at home, we’ve been watching more “TV” than ever before. At the same time, the pandemic has meant that...

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Following the huge upheaval in the television and OTT advertising market last year, broadcasters and AVOD service-providers are now cautiously optimistic about the prospects for recovery and growth. ITV, for example, reported that its total ad revenue was down 11% in 2020 despite a 17% rise in VOD advertising. The company is now “seeing more positive trends”. EMarketer estimates that Hulu’s ad revenues will hit $3bn in 2021, up 31% on 2020. And GroupM has...

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Consolidation isn’t new in the OTT industry – think AT&T and Time Warner (2018) or Comcast and Sky (also 2018) – but the last couple of weeks has seen a flurry of activity including the AT&T / Discovery deal, the acquisition of MGM by Amazon and the coming together of France’s TF1 and M6. The UK’s competition watchdog has also recently (and provisionally) cleared the proposed merger between Virgin Media and O2. What’s going on?...

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If not quite as riveting as the latest Netflix blockbuster, the evolution of OTT products – and related technologies – has been a fascinating watch. Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen broadcasters launch their own on-demand services, join forces to form aggregators like Hulu and BritBox and, more recently, split off to create their own D2Cs. At the same time, independents like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon have become superpowers in their own right, shaping consumer’s...

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Whatever date we choose – 2005 when YouTube went live, Christmas Day 2007 when the BBC iPlayer launched, or even 2004 and my own first experience of on-demand video via a classic Homechoice set-top box – it’s safe to say that VOD was born into a linear world. For older generations it was a novelty, and a treat, to suddenly be able to watch what we wanted when we wanted – it’s something we’re still...

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50 VOD Professionals – our list of the 50 most influential people working in the UK’s video-on-demand and OTT industry – is back! Nominations are now open and we’d like to hear from you about the brilliant people that you work with: the designers who imagine your new OTT user interfaces, the developers who help bring them to life, the coders and schedulers and project management staff who maintain the backends, the engineers that run...

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Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, metadata makes the OTT world go round. Technical metadata powers the distribution of video files, integrates them with asset management systems, enforces digital rights and renders them perfectly on viewer’s screens. Editorial metadata, on the other hand, makes content discoverable in VOD catalogues; it tells us about movies and shows we might like to watch, who directs them, acts in them and can recommend other titles we...