So what is OTT 2.0, really?

Earlier this year we tried to come up with a name that would capture the OTT experience we envision, one that makes the TV experience personal, social and truly independent of any device constraint. We came up with OTT 2.0. As I start seeing more and more people in the industry using this name (e.g. at the awesome TV Next conference in Santa Clara last week), I thought this is a good time to explain what was our thought behind the name, and what it means.

Obviously, it plays on the concept of web 2.0 coming to the OTT space. However, it also describes what we’ve began seeing in the market at the time, and increasingly so today: cable, satellite and telco TV operators who already stream content on multiple connected devices through various apps, are now looking to do much more than that, returning for a “second wave” of OTT deployments. TV providers are starting to incorporate OTT as part of their core TV offering, not as a sidekick. They realize that OTT is not only a new method to offer their content everywhere, but also an opportunity to transform the TV experience, which for the majority of people outside of Silicon Valley, essentially hasn’t changed for years, even if they have Netflix.

When I say transform, I refer to TV operators targeting the individuals within the households (instead of treating the household as a homogenous unit), making the transition between devices completely intuitive and offering a service where personalization is not a slogan. Transforming TV means creating an experience that truly utilizes what the intersection of web and television has to offer, and particularly the way we discover and interact with content. That’s OTT 2.0.

There are great, innovative social/personal TV apps that try to do exactly that, and do a great job i.e Zeebox, Miso, GetGlue and others. But the problem so far has been that these apps are solely “companion”, meaning added on top of the TV service. I believe that in order to really transform TV, OTT 2.0 capabilities should be an inherent part of the cable/satellite TV service, so the user can watch content on the same app in which he/she plays with the content. For example, the iPad is a device that is used both for direct viewing (first screen), and for playing with while watching TV (second screen), as 80% (!) of iPad users do. The user doesn’t have to switch between the TV provider’s app and the social TV app when making this transition. As a result, personalization, social content discovery and interaction, as well as control of the TV via the tablet/smartphone in companion mode,  would be fully integrated into the core offering of the operator; not in the form of add-on apps. Once TV providers take this leap forward, OTT 2.0 will reach every tablet and smartphone owner, and TV will really be revolutionized, for everybody.