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Tue, 07 Feb 2023 14:20:38 -0600
2020-06-11 Print

‘Over the top’ content is now firmly on top. Can it stay there?

Around ten years ago, the mobile industry became very excited about TV. Handsets were getting better, and media execs started to ask a question: what if we put a TV aerial inside a phone?


Around ten years ago, the mobile industry became very excited about TV. Handsets were getting better, and media execs started to ask a question: what if we put a TV aerial inside a phone?

Suddenly, there were a bunch of competing technologies – DVB-T, MediaFlo, ISDB-T. They all promised the same thing. They would make it possible for people to tune into their favourite TV shows on their mobile.

They all failed.

Why? Because it quickly became obvious that data was the best channel to carry video signals. Mobile data included. Why have a TV aerial inside the phone, when you could stream it instead?

And, of course, streaming opened up all sorts of extras that were not possible with traditional broadcast TV. You could pause and rewind. You could programme short, snackable content. You could add links and other graphical enhancements.

All it took for digital video to get going was for mobile data to become cheaper and 'bigger'.

When 4G arrived, streaming really took off. This led to the birth of a new wave of video specialists. Because they bypassed the old-school broadcasters, they became known as OTT (over the top) providers.

Today, the OTT market is exploding. According to PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2019–2023 report, global OTT revenue hit $38.2bn in 2018 and is forecast to almost double by 2023.

These are huge numbers, but there is loads of growth left. After all, OTT revenues are still just a fraction of cable and satellite spending.

Clearly, the OTT market is being powered by services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple.

But there is demand for a vast range of options. OTT players can satisfy the need for niche content types, and for localised programming.

This is especially the case on mobile, where the advent of 5G connectivity should lead to the creation of many new kinds of bundles. MNOs already sell packages that bundle data with subscriptions to OTT services. These packages have been great for winning new customers and reducing churn among existing subscribers.

As the MNOs move to 5G, PwC expects this process to accelerate.

“5G’s impact will be felt across the entire technology, media and telecommunications value chain for the next decade,” says Wilson Chow, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader and Partner, PwC China.

"It will hasten existing trends towards personalisation, making it easier, more convenient and cheaper to access more media on phones and other mobile devices."

So hi-spec smartphones and super-fast connectivity will certainly boost demand for OTT services. This is a fantastic opportunity for OTT providers and their partners (brands, MNOs, publishers etc).

However, they will face many challenges if they want to build services that are compelling and sticky. According to white paper by digital delivery specialist Limelight, OTTs need to consider seven key factors.


Obvious. Only compelling content will keep subscribers happy.

Content Discovery

Viewers must be able to find content that interests them easily.


Digital content does not have the same geographical limitations as broadcast content. OTTs need to ensure their services are ready for a worldwide audience.


A video can go viral in a heartbeat, so OTTs must be prepared to deal with sudden scale.


Viewers are no longer viewing on the living room TV alone. OTTs need to cater for a range of devices instantly and at any time.

Quality of Experience

Content alone cannot keep customers engaged? The best OTTs enhance the experience by adding enhancements to the user interface.

Subscriber attrition

Consumers have so much choice. Churn is an ever-present threat. OTTs need to constantly devise ideas that protect the subscriber base.

Basebone is keenly aware of the above challenges.

For over a decade, we've been offering a custom-branded suite of OTT video products that help our partners monetize their traffic, drive engagement and increase their ARPUs.

Our services are tailored specially for markets where mobile is the primary entertainment device, but where the barriers to entry can be high.

That's why we source and create content that satisfies local preferences. And it's why we have built pricing options that embrace both freemium (ad-based) and premium (via carrier billing and/or credit card).

Today, Basebone has over 30 million subscriptions in South Africa alone and is the only OTT provider of multiple verticals: movies, TV, music, games, fitness and e-learning.

If you would like to know more, please get in touch.

Contact Info
Basebone Group
3rd Floor, Palladium House
1-4 Argyll St.
W1F 7LD, London, UK

Phone: +44 (0) 203 514 8571