How to build an OTT system the right way

Fredrik Gunnestad
October 1, 2023
How to build an OTT system the right way

First of all, what is an OTT system?

The OTT system is the vital back-end part of a streaming service that allows a solution to run smoothly. The components of an OTT system vary depending on the needs of the service.

Streaming audience vs OTT system builders

What the viewer considers required when choosing a streaming provider is essential. According to research conducted by IPSOS in November 2022, it is imperative for the streaming audience to pay a low enough fee for a substantial content catalogue and have subscription options and password-sharing possibilities. So is having a player that gives the correct subtitles, experiencing a high-quality stream and finding the relevant videos that interest you.

You and I do not care what technology is behind a streaming service as long as we get a positive experience by using the service. 

However, for all the people who build OTT systems, the technology choices are made months before the audience gets access to the service. The content providers need to design the solutions to attract the viewers, but do they sometimes focus too much on the end-user experience and forget the back-end technology that actually ensures that the end-user experience works as intended? Is this a matter of building the roof before you have created the house on which it stands?

What to remember when building an OTT system

These choices depend on which products the streaming service use for their offering. For example: Offering both a subscription-based approach and a free ad-supported choice is something that not all vendors can provide. So, picking suitable products from the start is crucial, mainly because these decision factors change over time. If you watnt assistance in selecting the right technology and partners for your service, go check out our Solution Builder.

So, as a selling point for us as a technology vendor, stating that "our systems support both SVOD and AVOD/FAST" should make for a great sales pitch but is that all that matters? 

Being able to offer various business models is just one of several things a proper vendor needs to provide to equip customers with the necessary functionality to run a successful streaming service. But specific features such as the subscription option may be what many content owners base their vendor decision on.

We must remember that the most critical aspect is that the OTT system always works. 

If you want to look at Masterchef's latest episode and cannot find it, or it does not start playing when you want to, you will quickly turn elsewhere. Maybe you will move away from the service altogether? And we all know that the most significant battle these days is customer retention. 

But are these considerations assessed by the people who build the streaming service? We are confident that commercially driven staff members think about churn every day, but what about the engineers that decide on the OTT systems that drive the streaming portal? Are they too focused on the end-user experience to overlook the importance of the root systems?

A rock-solid core video CMS is the key to absolutely everything you do with a streaming service. It does not matter that the system supports a specific business method when nothing works. Naturally, it is more complex than what we make it out to be. 

An OTT system is a puzzle of several components, most likely from several vendors. And all of these can fail and create a problem for the streaming service. 

However, at the core of an OTT system, you find the video CMS. This is where all the metadata for all the video material is housed, and it is usually one of the first decisions to make when building an OTT platform and where it can go all wrong for any future outcome. It may sound boring, but for everyone who builds a streaming service, it is essential to get this right.

The core video CMS is like the engine in a car. You can have the best stereo, the shiniest rims, or the most horsepower, but if the engine does not work, there is no value in everything else. 

For Vimond, providing a fault-free core video CMS is what we focus on every day. We know it needs to be upgradeable, built natively in the cloud, support all file types and business methods, provide users with a simple-to-use interface and have hundreds of other vital features. But most importantly, we know that it needs to work. Every second of every day because we know that the worst experience is when nothing works.

Our support logs show that we easily support customers' very high uptime demand on our systems. So far, in 2022, we have a 99,99976 uptime percentage, and none of the handful of critical support tickets we received took down end-user services. The core video CMS may not attract viewers to your service, but it can certainly be the thing that sends them off to the competition unless it is robust, resilient and reliable.

Next time, make a wise and future-proof choice and look at VIA from Vimond



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