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Over the Top (OTT)


Over the Top (OTT) refers to the delivery of film and TV content via the internet without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service. It bypasses conventional media distribution channels such as telecommunications networks, cable television networks, or broadcast television networks. OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.


The phonetic spelling of “Over the Top (OTT)” is:Over the Top: /ˈoʊvər ðə tɑp/OTT: /ˌoʊˌtiːˈtiː/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Direct to Consumers: OTT platforms deliver video content, services and applications directly to viewers via the internet. This bypasses traditional distribution channels as cable, broadcast and satellite TV platforms. Users can access this content through various devices including smartphones, laptops, smart TVs and gaming consoles.
  2. Subscription Models: These platforms usually operate on a subscription-based model where the consumers pay a monthly or yearly fee to access the content. The absence of contracts gives OTT providers the ability to retain their subscribers by constantly offering high-quality content. Some popular OTT platforms include Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
  3. Personalized Experience: OTT platforms use advanced analytics to analyze viewer behavior. Based on these analyses, the OTT platforms offer a personalized user experience with content suggestions based on their viewing patterns and preferences. This encourages users to spend more time on the platform.

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Over the Top (OTT) is an important term in business and finance because it represents a significant paradigm shift in how content is delivered and consumed. Unlike traditional methods that involve cable, satellite, or broadcast television, OTT bypasses these mediums, offering content directly to consumers over the Internet. This has led to the rapid growth of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, which have revolutionized viewing habits globally. OTT platforms enable businesses to gather comprehensive user data, allowing for more personalized and targeted advertising. Furthermore, they create opportunities for niche programming and lower-budget productions to reach global audiences. Therefore, understanding OTT is crucial for both media producers and marketers in the current digital age.


Over the Top (OTT) refers to film and television content that is provided directly to viewers via the internet, bypassing traditional distribution channels such as broadcast television, cable, or satellite platforms. The primary purpose of OTT services is to provide viewers with more freedom to watch their preferred content wherever and whenever they want, without being tied to a specific schedule or cable subscription. Streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu are all examples of OTT services. In terms of its application within the business/finance world, OTT platforms are used as a monetization strategy by companies to generate revenue through subscription fees, advertisements, or a combination of both. This form of direct-to-consumer distribution method has seen significant growth in recent years, as it allows content creators and distributors to have greater control over their contents and to establish direct relationships with their consumers. This direct consumer interaction brings about improved customer insights, personalized offerings, and better customer retention strategies, thereby maximizing profitability. It’s significant to note that while OTT platforms offer lots of advantages, they also come with challenges such as increased competition and the necessity for continuous technology upgrades.


1. Netflix: Launched in 2007 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, Netflix is the epitome of OTT services. Initially a DVD rental service, Netflix moved ‘Over The Top’ by providing video streaming and eliminating the need for tangible disks. Now, it operates on the internet and bypasses traditional distribution.2. Amazon Prime Video: Launched in 2006, this is another prime example of OTT services. It bypasses cable or satellite TV subscriptions by providing television shows and films directly via the internet, including content produced in-house and content licensed from third parties.3. Spotify: While the first two examples were video-related, Spotify indicates that OTT also involves audio media. Launched in 2008, Spotify provides music, podcasts, and other audio content directly to listeners over the internet, bypassing traditional modes of distribution like record sales or radio airplay.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Over the Top (OTT) mean in the context of finance and business?

Over the Top (OTT) refers to a category of service that is used over the network services of another organization or service provider. In finance, it typically refers to the delivery of digital media content over the internet without requiring users to subscribe to traditional cable or satellite pay-TV services.

How does an OTT service operate?

OTT services function by delivering content through the internet. They bypass traditional distribution channels such as telecommunications networks or cable television providers. Examples of OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and others.

Why are OTT services significant in today’s market?

With the widespread use of the internet and smart devices, OTT services have seen exponential growth. They allow users to access their desired content anytime and anywhere. Moreover, they often offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional broadcast or cable TV.

Can OTT services affect traditional television networks and cable providers?

Yes, with the increasing popularity of OTT services, traditional television networks and cable providers are facing significant challenges. Many consumers prefer OTT services due to their flexibility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness.

What are some revenue models for OTT services?

Revenue models for OTT services include subscription-based (SVOD), transactional (TVOD), and advertisement-based (AVOD). Subscription-based models involve consumers paying a monthly or yearly fee for unlimited access to content, transactional models charge for individual pieces of content, and advertisement-based models generate revenue through ads.

How is the quality of OTT services measured?

The quality of OTT services can be measured by examining various factors like streaming quality, content diversity, cost, user interface, and customer service.

Who regulates the OTT industry?

As OTT services are delivered over the internet, they are not regulated by any specific organization or body. However, rules varying by country for data privacy, taxation, and copyright can apply. Additionally, self-regulation and industry standards play a role in shaping OTT services’ operation.

Related Finance Terms

  • Streaming Services
  • Video On Demand (VOD)
  • Content Providers
  • Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD)
  • Broadband Networks

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