Over-the-top (OTT) services deliver entertainment videos using the internet as the medium, as opposed to over a cable network.
Over-the-top is an umbrella term used to refer to streaming services that use the internet to deliver videos. In OTT the network carrier does not have any control over the content that is streamed. This is in contrast to cable television, in which users have to purchase cable bundles (or individual cable channels) directly from the cable service provider.
The rise of OTT has seen video streaming websites YouTube and Netflix grow into multibillion giants. The massive growth of Netflix has prompted all major film studios to build their own streaming services - Disney is expected to launch their own OTT service in the US in 2019, as will AT&T which will launch their own OTT service from WarnerMedia and HBO content.
In India, Walt Disney owned Hotstar has a major market share, while global giants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix also have a sizeable presence. Voot, Alt Balaji and Zee5 have likewise been making strides in the OTT space in India.
While studio giants make their foray into OTT, the new video-on-demand paradigm has enabled an entire new class of content creators, who have a ready-made platform in YouTube and a massive audience to broadcast to. With OTT content creators can directly connect with their audience. The user relationship is owned by the content creator/ distributor, rather than by the medium being used to deliver the content.