What is OTT Platform? And How do they make money?

Gone are the days when entertainment was limited to cable television and movie theaters. With the emergence of OTT (Over-the-Top) platforms, viewers can now access their favorite movies, TV shows, and original content from anywhere, anytime. OTT platforms have completely revolutionized the entertainment industry, providing viewers with a more personalized and convenient viewing experience.

In this blog post, we will explore what OTT platforms are, their key features and functionalities, and how they make money. We will also examine the various monetization strategies that OTT platforms use, including advertising, subscription-based models, original content production, partnerships and licensing, and their impact on the entertainment industry’s revenue landscape. Finally, we will discuss future trends and innovations in OTT platform monetization.

Understanding OTT Platforms: A Digital Entertainment Revolution

In simple terms, an OTT platform is a digital media service that delivers video content directly to viewers over the internet. OTT platforms bypass traditional distribution channels, such as cable or satellite TV providers, and allow viewers to access their favorite movies, TV shows, and original content on demand.

The rise of OTT platforms can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the proliferation of high-speed internet and the availability of affordable streaming devices have made it easier for viewers to access online content. Secondly, the increasing popularity of mobile devices has led to a surge in mobile viewing, making it more convenient for viewers to watch their favorite shows on the go. Finally, the shift in consumer preferences towards personalized and ad-free viewing experiences has prompted the growth of OTT platforms.

Key Features and Functionality of OTT Platforms

OTT platforms come with a range of features and functionalities that enhance the viewing experience for viewers. Here are some of the key features of OTT platforms:

Personalization: OTT platforms use algorithms to analyze viewers’ viewing patterns and preferences and recommend content based on their interests.

Ad-Free Viewing: Unlike traditional TV, OTT platforms offer ad-free viewing experiences. This is particularly attractive to viewers who find traditional TV ads intrusive.

Multiple Device Support: OTT platforms support multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.

On-Demand Viewing: OTT platforms allow viewers to watch their favorite shows at any time, unlike traditional TV where viewers have to wait for a specific time slot.

Original Content: OTT platforms produce their original content, providing viewers with a unique viewing experience that they cannot find anywhere else.

Exploring the Revenue Models of OTT Platforms

OTT platforms use various monetization strategies to generate income. These include advertising, subscription-based models, original content production, partnerships and licensing, and more. Let’s explore each of these strategies in more detail.

Monetization Strategies: How OTT Platforms Generate Income

Advertising on OTT Platforms: A Lucrative Revenue Stream

Advertising is one of the most common ways that OTT platforms generate revenue. Unlike traditional TV advertising, OTT platforms offer more targeted and personalized advertising. OTT platforms use viewer data to create detailed user profiles, which they then use to deliver targeted ads to specific viewers. This enables advertisers to reach their target audience more effectively, resulting in higher conversion rates and better ROI.

In addition, OTT platforms offer various ad formats, including pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads, and post-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are shown before the start of the video, mid-roll ads are shown during the video, and post-roll ads are shown after the video has ended. Advertisers can choose the ad format that best suits their advertising goals.

Subscription-Based Models: Unlocking Premium Content on OTT Platforms

Another popular monetization strategy for OTT platforms is subscription-based models. OTT platforms offer viewers access to premium content in exchange for a subscription fee. Subscription-based models are an attractive monetization strategy for OTT platforms because they provide a predictable revenue stream and encourage customer loyalty.

There are two types of subscription-based models: SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) and TVOD (Transaction Video on Demand). SVOD models provide subscribers with unlimited access to all the content on the platform for a fixed monthly fee. Examples of SVOD platforms include Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. TVOD models, on the other hand, allow viewers to rent or purchase individual movies or TV shows. Examples of TVOD platforms include Apple iTunes and Google Play.

Original Content Production: Driving Revenue and Subscriber Engagement

Original content production is another monetization strategy that OTT platforms use to generate income. Producing original content allows OTT platforms to differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract and retain viewers. Original content also helps OTT platforms build a loyal subscriber base, resulting in a steady stream of subscription revenue.

Original content production is an expensive endeavor, but it can be highly lucrative. Successful original content can generate revenue through licensing deals, merchandising, and brand partnerships. For example, Netflix’s original series Stranger Things generated significant revenue through merchandise sales, including t-shirts, toys, and board games.

Partnerships and Licensing: Expanding Revenue Opportunities for OTT Platforms

Partnerships and licensing are another monetization strategy that OTT platforms use to expand their revenue opportunities. Partnerships can take various forms, including co-productions, content partnerships, and distribution partnerships. For example, Netflix and Marvel partnered to produce a series of original shows based on Marvel’s comic book characters, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.

Licensing is another way that OTT platforms can generate revenue. Licensing agreements allow OTT platforms to stream content produced by other studios and production companies. Licensing agreements can be costly, but they allow OTT platforms to offer a more extensive selection of content to their subscribers. For example, Hulu offers a range of content from various networks, including ABC, NBC, and Fox.

The Impact of OTT Platforms on the Entertainment Industry’s Revenue Landscape

The rise of OTT platforms has had a significant impact on the entertainment industry’s revenue landscape. Traditional TV networks and cable providers are losing subscribers to OTT platforms, resulting in a decline in revenue. According to a report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters (people who cancel their cable or satellite TV subscriptions) is expected to reach 77.6 million by 2023.

OTT platforms are also disrupting the movie industry. Traditionally, movies were released in theaters before being made available on DVD and cable TV. However, with the rise of OTT platforms, movies can now be released directly to streaming services, bypassing the traditional theatrical release model. This has led to a significant decline in box office revenue.

Despite the challenges that traditional TV networks and movie studios face, there are also opportunities for collaboration with OTT platforms. Partnerships and licensing agreements between traditional TV networks and OTT platforms can result in increased revenue for both parties. For example, CBS and Amazon partnered to make CBS All Access (CBS’s streaming service) available on Amazon Fire TV devices, resulting in increased revenue for both companies.

Future Trends and Innovations in OTT Platform Monetization

As OTT platforms continue to grow in popularity, we can expect to see new monetization strategies emerge. Here are some of the trends and innovations we can expect to see in the coming years:

Advanced Advertising: OTT platforms will continue to develop more advanced advertising capabilities, such as programmatic advertising and targeted advertising based on voice recognition technology.

Interactive Content: OTT platforms will increasingly incorporate interactive content, such as games and quizzes, to enhance viewer engagement and provide new monetization opportunities.

Live Streaming: Live streaming is becoming increasingly popular, and we can expect to see OTT platforms invest in live streaming capabilities to provide viewers with real-time content.

Virtual Reality: Virtual reality technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we consume entertainment. OTT platforms are likely to explore virtual reality as a new monetization strategy in the coming years.

Original Content Investment: As competition between OTT platforms continues to intensify, we can expect to see even more investment in original content production. This investment will likely result in more high-quality original content, as well as new revenue streams for OTT platforms.


OTT platforms have revolutionized the way we consume entertainment, and their impact on the entertainment industry’s revenue landscape cannot be overstated. From advertising to subscriptions to original content production, OTT platforms have a range of monetization strategies that enable them to generate revenue while providing viewers with high-quality content.

As the popularity of OTT platforms continues to grow, we can expect to see new monetization strategies emerge, such as advanced advertising, interactive content, and virtual reality. The future of OTT platform monetization is exciting, and we can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store.

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