CES 2018 – The State of OTT Content

CES 2018 brought us, as it has become customary, new mind-blowing TV-set technologies such as huge screen sizes to roll-up display technologies, designed to make us believe that we are living in exciting times.

But, according to the large amount of senior media executive panels, keynotes and talks at this year’s tech conference in Las Vegas, the interest in TV has extended beyond the traditional screen to mobile OTT (Over The Top) content.

It is now clear that OTT is the new normal. It is not only another mainstream viewing option, together with cable and satellite, but it is also increasingly the first option. In years past, we’ve talked about specific consumers types, like millennials, cord-cutters and cord-nevers as the early adopters of OTT content. But, there is so much OTT video being delivered on mobile devices to so many people of all age groups, that media and ad execs really now just talk about ‘consumers’ in general. This is a major shift.

Here’s a summary of what we learned at this year’s CES.

CBS touted its OTT products, which include the ad-supported subscription service CBS All Access, ad-supported news network CBSN and forthcoming services for CBS Sports and “Entertainment Tonight.” CBS did “hundreds of millions” in OTT-related revenue last year, and CBSN announced that viewership was up 17 percent in 2017 over the previous year.

Turner, which already has two ad-free subscription services, plans to launch a sports streaming service in the spring of 2018.

Hulu, used CES to announce that it has 17 million subscribers across its subscription and live TV products, up 40 percent since May 2016. Its ad revenue, meanwhile, surpassed $1 billion for the first time last year.

Disney however, did not wait until CES 2018 to announced its own OTT TV ambitions. Earlier in 2017 it unveiled its plans to launch an ESPN-branded sports streaming service in 2018 and another streaming service for the company’s own movies and shows. Meanwhile, Netflix’s $6 billion content budget is not deterring tech giants from pouring resources into becoming OTT content heavyweights. Facebook is steadily adding content to its Watch tab, YouTube launched live TV and as we know, Apple has a billion-dollar budget to produce original OTT content. We are indeed living exciting times.