There are numerous OTT apps available for users to watch video & listen to music/audio. But there are many content creators especially those who are in a non-entertainment category who are wondering how an OTT app can help to present their content to users. An OTT, simply put, is a platform for preparing, organizing, streaming and interactions centered around audio, video & text content. Hence an OTT is a suitable platform for content creators across many categories to present their content. This article discusses common components of entertainment OTT that would be applicable for other categories and then discusses components specific to a few example categories like health & wellness, education, cooking, spiritual discourses etc.
With the increase in smartphone sales and decreasing cost of internet packs, the number of users with access to smartphones has increased manifold in the last 5 years. Hence creating an Android/iOS app has become essential to reach more users. Some of the smaller content creators are adopting methods such as posting content on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even WhatsApp groups. However within a short time with numerous content being shared, such an approach will become inconvenient to audiences. Hence an OTT with additional features and a customized front-end app will help users immensely.
In this article, we shall discuss OTT components of an entertainment OTT and then discuss specific components that are to be included in OTT for each of the different categories of applications.
Components of an OTT
Components of a typical OTT system are shown above. Let’s briefly discuss each of the component:
- Content Management System (CMS)
CMS is a web based interface for managing & organizing content along with its metadata. It interacts with the OTT backend which manages database storage.
2. OTT backend
OTT backend implements APIs which are consumed by front end applications as well as CMS. It stores data in a database and manages it. Content & user APIs, search, analytics & recommendation systems are also typically present.
3. VOD & live transcoder
VOD / live transcoder transcodes video to multiple qualities and multiple formats such as HLS and DASH with optional DRM encryption. VOD content is stored in storage servers or CDN storage.
Analytics module helps to collect data and presents a unified aggregation view. This can also be a third party module such as Google analytics.
5. Front end applications
Front end apps connect to OTT APIs, consume VOD and live feeds and are mostly custom developed for an application.
Some of the common features of OTT include organizing content and listing them with metadata, search, audio & video streaming, payment gateway integration, push notifications, user account management and subscriptions; creating personalized lists and saving content in those lists.
Extending entertainment OTT to other categories
Let us now discuss how we can take an entertainment OTT and add some specific components and use it for applications in other categories. The list is non-exhaustive and only provides an idea about some of the additional features that may help different categories.
Health & wellness
In addition to providing video & audio content to users, health & wellness category needs some other features like:
- Interactive sessions with doctors, trainers.
- Discussion forums.
- Personal workout calendar with progress tracking.
E-learning has some additional features such as
- Objective tests & quizzes.
- Interactive sessions with teacher
- Progress management
- Bulletin boards for sending notices
- Live classes via video conferencing.
- Easy recipe views
- Discussion forums
- Affiliate marketing & sales
- Ebook sharing & viewing
- Discussion forums
- Live streaming
- Videos & photos of real estate property
- Ability for a prospective buyer to interact with real estate agents or owners.
- Document sharing are other helpful features.
- Packaged tour operators can post pictures and videos of tourist destinations along with details.
- Q & A with tour operators.
- For personalized live virtual tours, one way video & two way audio would be needed.
OTT has potential for inclusion of multiple categories with tailor made solution by adding few additional features. Some of these additional features are common for multiple categories and hence can be reused. We see that OTT need not be synonymous with entertainment and can be expanded to several categories.
Harinandan Srinivasamurthy is a video architect working in OTT, video encoding/transcoding, video streaming, video analytics, connected TV, and related technologies.
Hari has been working on video technologies for the past 14 years with experience working at Ittiam Systems, Harris Broadcast, Motorola/ARRIS, and Saranyu Technologies. Hari has architected and developed a complete suite of video technology products such as cloud VOD transcoder, graphics accelerated live encoder, streaming linear TV channels, FairPlay & Widevine license servers, ad detection & SSAI.
Hari is also passionate about edtech technologies and has designed an LMS portal to make education transparent to society.