OTT Industry predictions for 2019

2018 was an exciting year for the OTT industry. We saw a lot of positive developments, most of which we encountered firsthand at IBC2018 in September. Check out our post where we summarised our findings and reflected on the event, here. Now that we’re heading into the second full working week of January, we’re all starting to wonder what could be on the horizon. 

In this post, we’re laying it out there and sharing our top OTT industry predictions 2019 (with a few expected additions of course). Reach out and let us know your thoughts and whether you think we’ve missed something vital.

Service shut downs and consolidations

In 2018 we started to see more OTT services consolidate or shut down entirely. This was largely due to market saturation, as the OTT industry grew so rapidly in the early days. Over the next year though, it’s likely we will see more of this affecting both smaller niche players and big incumbents, as the pressure to maintain sustainable and competitive OTT businesses increases.

In fact in 2018, WarnerMedia, for example, shut down its two-year-old indie and classic cinema streaming service FilmStruck not long after closing its Korean streaming service, DramaFever. WarnerMedia’s CEO John Stankey had announced only a few months prior to the closures though that the WarnerMedia division of AT&T has plans to launch a new ad-supported video streaming service by the end of 2019. We’re expecting the new service to launch in the fourth quarter and combine HBO (which AT&T picked up in its takeover of Time Warner in 2018) with other WarnerMedia brands including, Warner Bros, Turner, Cartoon Network and more.

New players from the big brands

We are also expecting to see Disney launch their much-hyped direct-to-consumer service later this year (the result of their acquisition of BamTech). It will certainly be interesting to see how well it’s received and the market uptake. We’re already wondering whether there’s going to be a Disney OR Netflix scenario. Or if subscribers will be willing to opt-in and subscribe to both.

It’s also not too far fetched to expect Apple to launch their secretive yet expected streaming service later this year. We’re curious to see if they’ve managed to secure content partnerships that to date others haven’t been able to. It’s also going to be interesting to see Apple’s interpretation of the best UI/UX and find out whether they are able to truly revolutionize the TV experience. Stay tuned!

Partnerships with Telcos & Operators

This year, we think we’re also likely to see more Telcos and Operators move out of the own-operated OTT space and begin partnering with existing and better established OTT players. In the last year, the increased customer value propositions enabled through partnerships have become more apparent, so it’s likely Telcos and Operators will be less inclined to view OTT Players as a threat going forward. Our former Head of Commercial Operations, Fredrik Engdahl spoke on the subject at IBC 2018. Check out the video of his talk here.

AVOD to mature

Advertising (AVOD) models for OTT are also likely to mature this year and become much more feasible for new and existing OTT Players. John Stankey, CEO of WarnerMedia, said himself at their November investor event, “Consumers clearly like the breadth of content that is available today. They like the choice. And a lot of that choice comes on the back of ad-supported models,” But added, “Things have to change [with ad models]” and suggested that less intrusive and more targeted ads are the way forward if AVOD is to really become a serious standalone model for OTT players in future. We couldn’t agree more.

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It’s certainly going to be an exciting year full of developments. To keep up-to-date on the latest, sign up to our monthly e-newsletter and check back in to the Magine Pro blog.

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