How to develop an OTT and co-viewing strategy

We sat down for a Q&A with Aurelia Noel who is one of Carat’s experts in all things digital. Aurelia recently spoke at Ad Week Europe and shared her expertise about the future of OTT and co-viewing (don’t worry, we’ve asked her to explain what exactly that means!).

Q: Our industry is known for having a lot of jargon. Can you explain for us what exactly ‘OTT’ and ‘Co-viewing’ encompasses?

OTT stands for “over-the-top”, the term is used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet — also known as streaming. OTT doesn’t require users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV package. Netflix, Amazon Prime video and Hulu are great examples, so are catch-up TV apps, for example, 4OD, ITV, TF1, etc.

Technically speaking, the Co-Viewing definition per Nielsen refers to members of the same household watching television at the same time — but not necessarily in the same room.

With the increase of OTT viewing and with many people subscribed to Netflix and Amazon Prime, co-viewing has become a social phenomenon where groups of people will watch a show together, even if they are not physically in the same place. They’ll also use social media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram) to discuss the show. Two of the best examples of co-viewing are ‘Stranger Things’ by Netflix or ‘Game of Thrones’ by HBO.

Q: What is the biggest challenge advertisers need to overcome to be successful at live OTT?

With OTT, consumers are now fully in charge of their prime time, as such they will not accept a passive TV experience. If advertisers want to disturb the consumer’s “me” time, they must be relevant and offer more than a passive 30 second format. They will need to think content across platforms and use each platform to tell their story.

Consumers now expect to access content anywhere, at any time and on any platform — and advertisers need to take this into consideration.

Advertisers need to radically rethink the following: how to present their brand, how they set up their internal and agency teams and how to integrate this new consumer behaviour into their workflows and creative processes. As Media agencies, we also need to rethink the way we plan and measure effectiveness, with more emphasis to be put on audience led planning and measurements.

Q: On your recent panel at Ad Week Europe, you mentioned GDPR being a gift for clients. Can you elaborate? And are they aware of this?

GDPR is unavoidable and has pushed many companies to transform. With much emphasis put on data governance and real transparent processes, organisations are now using GDPR as the catalyst for their digital transformation — bringing people at the heart of their business. Many of our clients have taken GDPR as an opportunity to review their processes, build data strategies, consolidate key technology partnerships and work in partnership with our network, all of the above being key pillars to a successful transformation.

GDPR will also push advertisers to focus on quality of data and relevance of content, as opposed to quantity of campaigns. It also raises the profile of marketing within the organisation, which is an opportunity in itself.

Q: How do you approach OTT in your planning for clients? What are the steps for developing a strategy?

For many clients, OTT is planned like a digital channel and OTT budgets will come out of either a digital budget or an innovation budget.

OTT is currently in development stage and the biggest OTT providers are still testing the water when it comes to advertising. We are excited by the opportunities and clients are eager to add the channel on their plans, but scale is an issue together with measurements. OTTs are often seen as “walled gardens”.

Q: How do you see live OTT evolving in the future?

OTT is the Future! As we see more and more households ditching the dish and cutting the cord. TV is not dead, it is transforming, and the transformation will be a hybrid of OTT and Linear TV.

We are at the dawn of a new entertainment age, where competition will be fierce and the battle will be won with original content and sport rights.

Today we have Netflix and Amazon, heavily focusing on high quality and original content, mostly led by data and consumer insights, but Facebook and Google are also working on bettering their OTT offering (Facebook Watch and YouTube Red) and Disney is launching exclusive content via their Disney Live offering.

We truly are witnessing a world where content owners want a direct relationship with content consumers.

You can watch the panel discussion from AdWeek Europe here.