As the pace of new OTT services has ramped up, I've been asked by a lot of industry colleagues and press which ones I believe have the most and least potential. It's a great question, and while I don't pretend to have a crystal ball, I certainly have my own opinions (as VideoNuze readers know!). But even as I've been sharing my thoughts, I've increasingly been asking myself - why is it, for example, that I'm more bullish about some (e.g. HBO Now), more skeptical about others (e.g. Sling TV) and more willing to be open-minded about still others (e.g. Apple's and Verizon's TV services)?
That's led me to think more rigorously about the criteria that I'm personally using to evaluate the potential of these new OTT services. It may be obvious, but when each of us makes judgments about a product or service, we're doing so against some implicit set of criteria. The challenge with all these OTT services is that a lot is still unknown about them and about consumers' reactions to them. On top of this the market is very dynamic. Nonetheless, I think it's still possible to create a set of criteria against which these new OTT services can be more explicitly evaluated (and re-evaluated as more information about them is known).
With that in mind, below I have shared 9 proposed criteria that I think are important in assessing these new (and existing) services' potential (there may be other criteria too!). By scoring each OTT service on a 1-5 scale against each criteria (i.e. 1 meaning "weak" or "not distinctive" and 5 meaning "strong" or "highly distinctive," their respective total scores emerge, forming a picture of potential winners and losers. If you're interested in using these criteria to do your own scoring, I have created a handy Google doc. Feel free to access, export to Excel, modify, etc. I'm interested in your results and comparing notes.
Here are my 9 proposed criteria:
1. Price and potential for consumer savings (not only how much the OTT service costs, but what is its potential is to generate consumer cost savings vs. other existing and new alternatives)
2. Distinctive content (i.e. exclusive, high-quality, breadth of content, especially vs. competitive offerings)
3. Targets well-defined audience segments and supports emerging, valuable viewer behaviors (e.g. time-shifting, binge-viewing, modest ad loads, etc. targeted to millennial females)
4. Cross-device access (range of connected TVs, mobile and other devices on which service is available)
5. User experience (including quality of user interface, video streaming quality, search and navigation, etc.)
6. Brand power (strength of awareness and perception of the underlying provider's brand)
7. Leverage from provider's other businesses (e.g. hardware/devices, related services, large existing customer base)
8. Promotional support (marketing spend, distribution and promotional partners, free trial offers, etc.)
9. Intangibles (disruptive attributes, depth of provider's financial resources, media attention, global scale, etc.)