The internet has radically reshaped every aspect of our lives, as advertisers are well aware. This is especially apparent in the rapid proliferation of “over-the-top” media, more commonly referred to as OTT. Unlike traditional outlets such as cable or satellite, OTT encompasses all video content streamed via the internet. OTT has already disrupted the way the media industry understands itself, and while that disruption can be uncomfortable, it also offers tremendous benefits to consumers and advertisers alike.
From the consumer’s perspective, OTT offers a breadth and variety of content that’s easier to access than ever before. For many years, there’s been content all over the web, but you had to watch it on your phone or your tablet or your laptop. Now, with improved smart devices, you can watch a wide array of content on a TV with unprecedented ease, which is reshaping viewer behavior in transformative ways. Most obviously, people are reducing their multichannel subscription packages, or canceling them entirely. These people are known as “cord-cutters.” But a new, growing demographic is just as important, if not more so: “cord-nevers.” These are people who have never had a cable subscription and likely never will. They tend to be younger people who have grown up with digital content, and as such have barely ever been on the platforms typically reached by traditional advertising. These people are taking full advantage of the flexibility offered by OTT content and have historically been difficult for advertisers to reach. As of June 2020, 22% of adults were “cord-nevers,” a number that will only continue to rise.1