8 criteria to consider when selecting your technical partner for your OTT platform

2020/05/26

This article provides important keys that will help video professionals select an OTT platform provider that meets their needs.

A VOD service provider must focus on the editorialization and marketing of its content. Beyond these marketing tasks, which are generally internalized, a publisher must ask itself in-depth questions about whether or not to internalize the technical platform that hosts its VOD service. Several choices are available to him: choose to develop his platform internally or buy it from a software solution provider, On premise or in SaaS.

Finding a good technical partner that will meet your needs and help you stand out from your competitors is therefore more than crucial for your business.

Whether you are starting or have already deployed your OTT service, you will find in this article important keys and criteria that will help you make your choice of technical partner for your OTT platform.


Before getting to the heart of the topic, and before starting to give you decisive elements as to your choice of partner, it is important that you do some preliminary work that includes these few points:

  • Formulate the value proposition of your program offer

  • Define your revenue model

  • Be prepared to invest regularly in fresh content and set up partnerships for your content

  • Establish a clear and precise editorial strategy

Once this work has been done, you can search for your supplier using the following list of criteria.


1. Hosting and broadcasting your videos live and replay


To choose your technical partner, first make sure that he offers you the possibility to host and broadcast your videos according to the access mode you have defined (live and/or replay). It is therefore necessary that he offers you a solution that allows you to:

  • Store your content in a cloud space appropriate to the amount of your videos and their weight

  • Transcode your videos to make them compatible with all screens by offering adaptive streaming technology and transcoding of source files to HLS or Dash

  • Protect files from piracy by inserting Clearkey, Fairplay, Playready and Widevine DRM licenses


2. A video player compatible with all screens

Another criterion that you should absolutely look for from your supplier relates to the video player compatible with all screens and browsers.

It would be a great inconvenience if your users could play your videos on Safari but not on Chrome. It would also be a shame if they could play your videos on a PC and not on a smartphone.

Think about this when you interact with OTT platform software vendors!

Another real advantage would also be that this supplier provides you a player that offers the possibility to restart video playback where the user has stopped.

Also, does it offer multiscreen restriction or a feature that allows you to adjust your offer based on the number of screens linked to a customer account?  Will users be able to broadcast your videos on their TV set? Think like your customers!

Finally, can you use watermark on your videos to be identifiable by your customers and protect your content?

Watermark is a technique for adding copyright information or other verification messages to an audio, video, image or other digital file or signal.


3. Creating your video catalogue in a simplified way

The supplier must also offer you a CMS (Content Management System) tool that will facilitate your content management.

This feature is important because it improves the customer experience so that users can easily find the content they are interested in  in your catalog.

With this CMS you should be able to:

  • Organize your catalogue into categories and sub-categories

  • Make video files with a playlist system

  • Provide associated metadata fields that are information that enables the description of your content such as a title, description, images, keywords...

  • Index this data in a search engine to easily find the desired content on your website.


4. Effective Monetization of your content

There are several ways to monetize an OTT platform. You can choose between different business models, including:

In addition, an OTT platform provider must be able to anticipate its customers' needs and offer a wider range of options associated with its products that will make subscriptions more flexible for different users of the platform

Here are some examples of options that your supplier should offer:

  • A flexible subscription period to offer packages from one day to one year

  • The possibility of including a trial period with customization of the duration and its reduction (0 to 100%)

  • Give the possibility to display a price excluding or including VAT

  • Be able to create subscriptions giving access to your entire catalogue or only to certain categories

  • For a TVOD or unit sales business model, you can offer a rental (streaming) or final purchase (download) mode with price variation

  • Propose a system capable of generating percentage or fixed amount discount coupons with rules for applying these coupons

  • Make invoices available at all times and allow downloading if necessary

Regarding the different VOD site business models, each of them has advantages and disadvantages, it is up to you to choose the one that best suits your users and the type of content you offer.

However, your partner should be able to offer you a solution that gives the choice of your business model.

In addition, your platform should offer several payment methods such as Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.NET, mobile payment or operator payment to allow those who want to use your platform to be able to do so anywhere in the world without any restrictions. It is also important that it allows the automatic delivery of an invoice after payment on your site.


5. Easy management of your user base

When you are looking for your technical partner, also make sure that his offer contains a CRM tool to easily manage your user base and their access rights to your videos.

This includes the ability to intervene if they encounter difficulties accessing their account or your content, to manage and monitor their accounts and take actions adapted to the different situations you may encounter on the platform.


6. Monitoring the activity of your service

You must be able to evaluate the performance of your website, know your users and adapt your strategy thanks to a relevant dashboard that details all the activities of your platform.

You are in competition with other platforms, don't forget that, and it is the ones that will best serve the users that will win!

This dashboard should allow you to evaluate your activity using several indicators such as :

  • Video audience measurement (by user, by content, by country,...)

  • Business intelligence and objectives (MRR and churn)

  • The renewal rate of subscriptions and average customer basket

  • Monitoring of registrations and turnover

Having this data will allow you to be efficient in managing your platform and your users. For example, you will know which marketing strategy to implement, which content to promote, etc.


7. Securing your content with multi-DRM

Video contents are very expensive to produce and acquire. It is therefore very important that the OTT platform service plans to secure your content by DRM (Digital Rights Management).

It is the DRM that will secure the content. It gives access authorization to each of the contents in real time with the possibility of dynamically applying rights based on the viewing device, the quality of the content, the licensing rules of this content, the geographical location of the distribution...

Make sure that your supplier offers you a solution that supports Clearkey, Fairplay, Playready and Widevine DRMs.


8. SaaS software

The SaaS architecture, an acronym for Software as a Service, is a software solution that can be used online. The software is delocalized in the cloud and can be accessed remotely via a network, in return for a subscription from the supplier.

Unlike the "Onpremise" architecture, which requires the publisher to install its software on the client's server and is much more complex, SaaS software has many advantages:

  • In the short and long term, SaaS is cheaper than buying or building your own Onpremise solution since the licensing cost is proportional to the volume of users on your platform

  • SaaS saves time in entering the market with a complete and technically proven product because the architecture is pre-configured and unique

  • There are no additional costs for application maintenance and additional features

  • Security is proven with rigorous data protection and confidentiality

  • Better risk management on the complexity of deploying an OVP technology (in terms of experience, network, technological monitoring software & hardware)

To conclude, your technical partner must offer you a solution that meets all your functional needs and can evolve over time, but also ensure high quality support and flexibility.

If you would like more information on the criteria for choosing your technical service provider, do not hesitate to contact us by following this link.

You can also find more criteria in our white paper "The guidebook to a successful OTT service" here.