Lesson 1 - OTT Terminology

OTT Terminology – understand & communicate with others about streaming TV

 OTT stands for “over-the-top,” the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service like a Comcast or Time Warner Cable.

OTT refers to data sent over the Internet that bypasses traditional mediums. Two common examples include OTT content and OTT messaging.

Over-the-top Content

Over-the-top content refers to movies and television shows that are delivered directly to users. Instead of requiring a cable or satellite television subscription, OTT content can be downloaded and viewed on demand. Popular OTT mediums include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Now. Free services like YouTube and Vimeo are also considered OTT, though they compete less directly with television providers.

OTT services do not offer a list of channels. Instead, shows and movies must be selected individually and watched on demand. While traditional providers like Comcast and DIRECTV offer on demand content as well as live shows, their monthly fees are typically several times those of OTT providers. Because OTT service is relatively cheap ($8 - $15 per month), many users purchase multiple OTT subscriptions as an alternative to cable or satellite TV.

Over-the-top Messaging

For many years, text messaging (or SMS messaging) was the standard way to message someone using a mobile phone. In 2009, WhatsApp introduced a free way to message other users without using SMS. Apple introduced iMessage in 2011, which uses Apple's own free messaging service rather than SMS or MMS. As these alternative messaging options grew in popularity, many cellular service providers increased their monthly messaging limits for users and many plans now offer unlimited messaging. However, both OTT content and messaging still require internet access, such cable, DSL, or a cellular data connection. 

OTT can largely be broken down into three different revenue models: SVOD (subscription-based services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu); AVOD (free and ad-supported services such as Crackle); and TVOD (transactional services such as iTunes, Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Instant Video that allow users to pay for individual pieces of content). 

Common, Must-Know OTT Terms & Acronyms

  • VOD - Video On Demand - If the programming isn’t live, and the consumer is choosing the content to play, this is Video On Demand. 
  • AVOD - Advertising Video on Demand  - Using advertising as a form of monetization
  • SVOD - Subscription Video on Demand  - Using subscriptions as a form of monetization
  • TVOD - Transactional Video on Demand - Using transactions (purchases, rentals, etc.) as a form of monetization
  • MVPD - Multichannel Video Programming Distributor - This is something like a cable provider — a service that delivers packages of TV channels. 
  • APP - Application -These are the programs you download to hardware and ecosystems from their given stores. 
  • STB - Set Top Box - An internet-connected device that streams OTT video. 
  • AFTV - Amazon Fire TV - Amazon’s set-top box for streaming media. 
  • tvOS - Apple TV Operating System - This is Apple’s software for their Apple TV set-top box. 
  • OVP - Online Video Platform - A place for users to upload, store, and distribute content online. Example: The key is to find the right OVP for your business so you can monetize and scale.
  • DTC - Direct To Consumer - When your content skips over the middlemen and goes directly to the consumer.
    CDN - Content Delivery Network - Proxy servers in multiple data centers, aiming to get high quality content to the audience with high performance. 
  • AR/VR - Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality - The latest ways to view content, usually with the help of technologically advanced goggles or headsets, or using the camera on mobile devices.
  • EST - Electronic Sell Through - This is when you sell content online for unlimited viewing. 
  • CMS - Content Management System - This is the backend software you use to manage your content, like Wordpress. 
  • IPTV - Internet Protocol Television - Delivering your content or programming over the internet in encoded IP packets. 
  • RTMP - Real Time Messaging Protocol - Originally proprietary tech for sending audio/video/data between Flash players and a server, Adobe has since purchased it and partially-released it for everyone. 
  • MSO - Multiple System Operators - Companies that own/operate two or more cable TV systems. 
  • VBR - Variable Bitrate - A certain kind of bitrate used in sound/video encoding, but the files vary the output data for each time segment
  • CBR - Constant Bitrate - When compared to “variable” bitrate, CBR is a codec’s constant data output. 

  • DRM - Digital Rights Management - This is copyright protection for digital media. 
  • CPM - Cost Per Thousand Impressions (The “M” is the Roman numeral for 1,000) - A commonly used form of measuring in advertising, denoting the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage. 
  • DAR - Digital Ad Ratings - How you ads did online and mobile, like Nielsen’s TV ratings. 
  • RAF - Roku Ad Framework - Advertising on the Roku set-top box
  • MRR - Monthly Recurring Revenue - How much money a company can predict to make every 30 days, or every month. 
  • VAST - Video Ad Serving Template - A standard for communication requirements between ad and video players. 
  • VPAID - Video Player Ad Serving Interface Definition - A common interface between video players and ad units. The ads then can be interactive in-stream. 
  • VMAP - Video Multiple Ad Playlist - If you don’t control the video player or distribution outlet, VMAP is an XML template you can use to set up the “structure” for ad insertion. 
  • IMA - Interactive Media Ads - Video-based ads that can be linear or nonlinear, like banners. 
  • RSS - Real Simple Syndication - A few bundled feed formats used to publish things often, like blogs, news headlines, audio, video, etc. 
  • MRSS - Media Real Simple Syndication - This is an RSS extension that syndicates multimedia files like audio, video, and images in RSS feeds. 
  • SDK - Software Developers Kit - This is what programmers use to write applications. The programs usually include ways to edit and test how new apps and functionality work. 
  • HTML5-Hyper Text Markup Language 5 - This is the 5th and current version of HTML, which is the language used to show the world things on the internet. 

Common File-Types: H.264, H.265, MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-DASH,

File Encoding/Compression - When exporting video, you must choose a form of encoding, compression, and file extension. You would choose one of these based on what you plan on doing with your files, specifically video.


Apple Lossy Video Compression Format - A compression format from Apple that supports up to 8k, used mainly in post-production.