OTT or ‘over the top’ platforms are video and content platforms that were initially created to go ‘over’ the limitation of television and cable to provide users across the platform with content available on cable and television. 59.6% of the world's total population is accessing the internet for thousand-odd purposes and consuming content at a pace that is un-believable.
OTT or ‘over the top’ platforms are video and content platforms that were initially created to go ‘over’ the limitation of television and cable to provide users across the platform with content available on cable and television. 59.6% of the world's total population is accessing the internet for thousand-odd purposes and consuming content at a pace that is un-believable. The percentage of people consuming content on OTT’s is huge. This huge population has created a demand, and the content creators along with OTT platforms have jumped on the bandwagon to supply this demand. OTT platforms for today’s generation means “the real content”. The platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video, Youtube, Disney+, and others have been making waves in the digital sector for a while now. These OTT platforms have created a big hunger for their content with exclusivity deals, original content, online premiers that have got the young population hook, line, and sinker. OTT platforms provide a wide range of content including movies, TV series, web-series, podcasts, and even audiobooks. The way of consuming content is changing constantly and OTT platforms are leading the race with making cable almost out-dated.
OTT’s have been around for a long time, they are not new. India’s first OTT platform was BigFlix by Reliance Entertainment in 2008. The platform was an idea way ahead of its time and that is probably the reason why none of us have heard about it(Not even me, before researching for this article). What changed in about 8 years is the way we consumed content and millennials coming of age wanting to find relatable content that can be consumed at a fast pace and on the go. We have always paid for content we viewed, either in cable charges or DTH top-ups but the content on the Internet had always been seen as a free source; This is not true at least not in its fullest, initially, PPV or pay-per-view platforms and services ruled the game of content delivery to the general population. Live sports events, TV-Series, Great world events were included in the pay-per-view model that allowed the viewer to purchase events or series for private telecast and pay for it individually. Pay-Per-View model in 1997 for a match “Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II” earned about $20,00,000(Two Million) in pay-per-view buys. In 2017, The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History_(Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregorwrest) _had $6.7 Million in pay per view revenue. This shows, paying for the content is an age-old concept. The change was in the quantity of content and the vacuum of quality content for coming of age millennials, who have grown up with technology and fast-paced access to almost everything. We want our favorite Movies, TV series, Web-series, or any content and we want it right now! This mentality gave the required push to the OTT platforms that will now remain an engraved part of our lives for a very long time.
Entertainment content has always had humans hooked from the very beginnings of mankind. In early Roman times, gladiator battles used to rule the show. Music, Storytelling, Drama, Dance, and other various performances in royal courts were supported and enjoyed by the royalty. The forms of entertainment that existed for the proletarians were not as sophisticated as the ones performed in the royal courts. The divide between perceived entertainment is created due to the difference in social status and this is the hook of streaming services. Companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Google have understood the divide and captured the market in an amazing manner. The following is a word cloud of the type of content available on Netflix which is the largest subscription-based streaming platform in the world.
Genres of content in Netflix
The sheer number of genres that platforms like Netflix cater are mind-blowing. “Binge-Watching” is a term that is commonly used nowadays to describe endless watch hours spent in front of the laptop or TV consuming content. ‘Binging’ on a certain TV Series or a newly released Web-series is the new social validation. The consumption of content has reached all new heights in the recent past and the trend ahead looks even more expanding. Entertainment through watching a TV series or a live football game from the pleasure of your sofa or in a cuddled up blanket has created an audience and addiction for the lifestyle. The Hook for the streaming services is a very smart psychological trick; every streaming service creates a deep engraving experience for your mind in every episode or every movie you watch. Ranging from action-packed dramas to highly detailed documentaries, streaming platforms create an immersive experience, even the dark mode backgrounds for most of the streaming services is to give a theatre-like feel to your brain. Cinema multiplexes and auditoriums switch off the lights for the duration of the movie or the act on stage, this creates the sole focus of the individual to what is happening on the screen or on stage i.e the source of light. A lot of viewers think they are enjoying the content, which I am sure is a part of platforms getting so big, but they are actually enjoying being immersed in a series or a movie.
Immersive platform design, suspenseful endings, or as we call them cliff hangers are together just half the reason why OTT’s have us by the hook. The other half is a very deep-rooted behavior in all human beings and we all exhibit it in many ways. This tendency or behavior is called “Escapism”
If we are to believe Freud, humans cannot simply subsist on the scanty satisfaction they can extort from reality. He simply meant humans will never be satisfied with the reality they live in; escapist fantasies are necessary for human beings. Everyone has goals, ambitions, and tasks in their daily routine mundane life; entertainment from ages has been a form of escape from their routine. The 20 minutes of recess in a school day, though designated for having food; change into a time for children’s mindset to escape from the classroom routine. The immersive experience provided by streaming services is designed to be the ‘perfect escape plan’ from reality and disconnect with the world around us. Isn’t it amazing that Netflix’s tagline is _“See what’s next”? _The tagline basically sums up how the streaming services keep us hooked. Just before the credits to an episode start, the next episode’s link pops up and we are so immersed and so escaped from reality that we binge episode after episode until the series finishes.
The hook’s not over yet. Once we are down the rabbit hole on a streaming platform such as Netflix, we consume content at a pace never imagined before but the content is prepared and served in such a manner to us that it triggers all the special places of our brains neural networks and makes us immediately click on a series or a movie we never planned to watch because “Since you watched X, you may like the following” or “Trending in your Country Today”.
Yes, I am talking about the recommender system used by streaming services or as the general public understands it “My Recommendations”. It is amazing how much of a person’s behavior can be judged and accommodated by just learning their viewing patterns. The special places in our brains' neural networks are sparked by computational neural networks that use data from millions of people and us to create tailor-made recommendations to us. Ranking matrices and *Pattern Algorithms/Pattern Recognition Algorithms *are the secret sauce behind the success of streaming platforms. I have tried to explain some ranking matrices ahead and then a small pattern matching algorithm.
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