OTT FTW: Over-The-Top Advertising

Sara Mendez, MBA CEO Mendez Media Marketing, Inc.

Technology is something I think we can all agree has become a staple in business, entertainment, and our daily lives. The internet was fascinating when it first came out, and we all jumped on AOL and used Dial Up and had to learn about what a “URL” was and how to get a “domain” for our company. When we felt that got easy, we then had to learn about social media platforms our kids were using like “MySpace” and later “Facebook.” Today, the average user of many social media platforms is not the teenager, but the parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends around the globe. As soon as we figure one thing out, we are already behind in understanding the next thing in digital. So what’s next?


Have you ever heard the term OTT? The direct answer. Over-the-top (OTT). (And how fitting of a name, if I do say so myself.) OTT is the formation created when traditional television met digital video.  This formation has changed the way people watch television by allowing them to view film and TV content via the internet.  In fact, in 2017, 22 million Americans removed cable from their household (up 33% from 2016), and 61% of young adults prefer to view TV programing through OTT streaming services.


What? I mean, lets think about this. When many of us grew up we had cable TV. That meant we had HBO, and of course watched whatever movie was on, over and over. Then we moved on in recent decades to VOD (Video on Demand) where we can select our TV shows or movies when we want and watch what we want. OR we can record live TV and watch it again later and fast forward. Now we have another thing to learn if we want new ways to watch video, or in the advertising world, advertise on? Yes! The days of advertising or watching video in on place (on a TV) is long gone. The digital age is not something we can continue separating from our regular “entertainment” or “advertising” buckets. They are instead one in the same.


Although people, in general, are not watching as much traditional TV, they are still viewing programs the same as they did in the 1930’s, on a screen, in the living room. The difference is that now, instead of having two options to receive video through your screen, (cable or over the air antennas), people are now receiving video through devices like smart TV’s, Roku’s, Apple TV’s, watching NETFLIX, using Amazon, or other OTT devices delivering video content from a multitude of locations. So now… if I want to advertise during my favorite TV show, that also seems to be a popular one for Americans… how do I reach them? Can I still just buy the one show on one network and reach my market? Short answer. No. Your strategy can no longer be as simple as – this list of TV networks or programs, and a two line note on a budget siting “digital advertising”.


The good news: According to an article published by AdWeek, streaming TV viewers complete 98% of all video ads.  This results in OTT viewers reporting greater brand awareness and brand affinity in contrast to those viewing solely on mobile or desktops.


Advertisers should view this as an opportunity and not a threat.  OTT services benefit marketers by providing a targetable audience of highly engaged viewers, with the most track able advertising results in history, the most qualified lead generator through traditional marketing ever, and the most successful marketing stories still in the making.


Sara Mendez, MBA is Principle at Mendez Media Marketing, Inc.