6 Tips for Choosing the Right Technology Solutions for Your OTT Service

MPP Global Friday, 23 March 2018

It’s no secret that digital content consumption is rising. The recent NDP Connected Intelligence Connected Home Entertainment report shows that nearly 60% of U.S. internet homes have installed connected TV devices with streaming media players being the most commonly installed internet-connected TV device [1].

“As consumers decide which devices to use and apps to leverage for content, original and exclusive programming are likely to be key drivers,” says John Buffone, executive director and industry analyst at NDP Connected Intelligence, in a recent press release [2]. “Industry leaders, like Amazon, Netflix and others will continue to put increased investments into these programs in order to drive demand and viewer engagement.”

A solid audience engagement plan can help your OTT service stay competitive, increase revenue and build your reputation. Choosing the right technology partners to make this plan a reality is an integral step in the process. But how do you know what to look for in a technology solution? And once you’ve decided to add to your technology stack, what steps can you take to increase the likelihood of success?

To help navigate the evaluation process, consider the following best practices for choosing technology solutions:

1 – Define what you’re solving for

Before evaluating new solutions, clearly define what the business needs are. Ask, and answer, questions such as “Why do we need a new solution?” and “How will a new solution or platform solve our problem?” The answers to these questions serve as the cornerstone of the evaluation process and help both you and the technology vendors to clearly hone in on the capabilities that provide the most business value.

2 – Consider your current technology investments

Most likely, you have technology solutions you’ve already spent a lot of company dollars on. But just because you’ve invested in something, don’t assume it’s the best, or only, solution for your business. If you’re finding that you’re constantly running into functional road blocks, don’t spend more time and resources trying to fix something that isn’t working.

On the other hand, if you have a solution that’s working for you, consider evaluating vendors that can provide the missing pieces to the puzzle and also integrate well with what you already have in place.

3 – Get buy-in from your in-house stakeholders

In his article, How to Get a Stakeholder to Buy in on a Project [3], Scott Shpak defines a stakeholder as “any person or group that affects, or is affected by a particular project.” He mentions that “stakeholder buy-in, the cooperation or positive participation of a stakeholder, is the preferred condition for any successful project.” From the senior executive team all the way to the employees on the front line, make sure each level of employee is on board with the need for a new technology solution to prevent delays, generate enthusiasm and create long-term success.

4 – Know when to buy vs. build

Sometimes, building the solution you want seems like the easier route but in reality, it can cost much more in time and resources than you expect. According to a McKinsey survey of IT executives [4], IT projects run over budget 45% of the time, while delivering only 44% of the expected value. Once you build, there is also the cost of maintenance to consider. In an article for Business to Community [5], Ashley Sefferman mentions that “contrary to popular belief that building software in-house will pay for itself over time, the majority of software costs go toward maintenance, not initial development—requiring interminable recurring costs and a dedicated support team.” In the end, only you will know which option is best for your business, but understanding your total cost of ownership before moving forward makes a huge difference in helping you make the right call.

5 – Evaluate the solution and technology vendor based on future scale and business needs

As you assess different solutions, in house or otherwise, it’s important to keep the future in mind and keep your eye on your point of arrival. The OTT industry is rapidly evolving, and the trends and needs you see today won’t necessarily hold 6-12 months down the road. Wherever your business takes you, your technology should be both scalable and flexible. Consider what’s on the road map for the solutions you are evaluating in terms of functionality and integrations with other platforms. The ultimate goal is to keep your customers happy so carefully considering and forecasting these bigger picture needs is imperative for long term success and retention.

6 – Set a reasonable KPIs to keep you honest

Often times, teams are eager and enthusiastic about the possibilities of a new technology, which can lead to an expectation of immediate or aggressive results. To set yourself up for success and manage those expectations from the top down, a methodical deployment strategy should be put in place to achieve a positive outcome, even before a technology solution has been chosen.

For every step of the process, set clearly defined goals along with KPIs to bring to the table. Your technology vendors will be able to assess whether they can help you achieve those outcomes and provide insights on areas you may need to scale back and re-evaluate, and ideally, any areas where they can exceed the expectations you have communicated.


  1. http://www.connected-intelligence.com/our-research/own/connected-home-reportNDP Connected Intelligence Connected Home Entertainment report
  2. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2017/60-percent-of-us-internet-homes-have-at-least-one-tv-connected-to-the-internet/
  3. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/stakeholder-buy-project-51429.html 
  4. http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/delivering-large-scale-it-projects-on-time-on-budget-and-on-value
  5. http://www.business2community.com/business-innovation/build-vs-buy-know-buy-software-build-01755435#GbJ6O5BYhhMaogtg.97