On the one hand, it’s good in that it cuts out the middleman, and allows brands to jump the line Over-The-Top (OTT) and market directly to their target. Getting to the target prospects more directly is almost always a good thing for marketers and the brands they are managing. This change has been a tough one for the media sales people though. It means many more dots to connect and that means a re-education to sell streaming, traditional print, broadcast, social, and outdoor advertising.

Content is king, now more than ever

With so many voices now able to speak for themselves by going OTT, the task of getting eyeballs and attention is as challenging as ever. Many media producers who invested in streaming original content to gain advertisers and captive audiences have thrown in the towel and nixed those plans. The payoff of a Mad Men-like show on an AMC-like model just didn’t pan out for very many media companies. The ad content needs to match up well with the audience for all the stakeholders to enjoy success. 

Not everybody loves the new model

The idea of paying for a premium channel, either directly or indirectly, and then having to sit through targeted commercials hasn’t worked out well for very many scripted series shows. AMC’s the walking dead was among the first to really crack the niche and so many have jumped onboard trying to replicate AMC’s success. But the content quality must remain high enough to warrant the forced ads within the content stream and not provoke complete defection.

More quality and interactive ads

Advertisers can finally get to specific audiences watching their shows if they are entertaining and also if there is any kind of interactive tie-in. Be prepared to see many more experiments and tests along these lines in 2019 and beyond. Especially in light of all the cable cutters, it’s become a bit of a free for all out there when it comes to Internet TV and streaming channels of content numbering in the hundreds.

Good new for small and medium businesses

This OTT trend enables more of a direct model pricing structure which should appeal to smaller and midsize businesses who want highly targeted ads to reach their customers locally. Pricing and selling has yet to stabilize and needs to mature, but during 2019 things will get better and more predictable. But the content will need to be really good, as always, to get the phone ringing and customers buying.

Happy New Year!

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