OTT Flexes Muscles In Q2 2015

In the first quarter of this year, many over-the-top (OTT) services, apps and products steadily made forays into the television industry.

This momentum has greatly continued through quarter two, and as the second quarter approaches the home stretch, reviewing the gains made by OTT businesses is worth a look.

On April 7, HBO’s streaming service HBO Now finally went live just in time for the premiere of “Game of Thrones.” While it has only been available on Apple products, Google Senior VP Sundar Pichai told attendees of the May I/O developer conference in San Francisco that it would be appearing on Android this summer.

Also at I/O, Google discussed plans to integrate online video services directly into the traditional TV grid via its Android TV platform. We saw this innovation from Channel Master in January, and predicted that it would be imitated.

On April 9, Lionsgate and Comic-Con International announced a partnership for a U.S. SVOD service, in which historic conference footage, films and television series would be offered.

“The biggest pop culture event of the year will become a year-round digital channel for Comic-Con fans and audiences around the world," said Jim Packer, Lionsgate president of worldwide television & digital distribution. "A subscription video-on-demand service is the ideal platform to capture the magic and excitement of the Comic-Con experience year-round."

This quarter has featured multiple news releases from Hulu.

Not only did Hulu acquire the streaming rights for all nine seasons of hit 1990s sitcom “Seinfeld” (which officially begins on June 24), it also put its video library on set-top boxes for Cablevision, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications and WideOpenWest subscribers, and the service will be accessible for AT&T customers later this year.

Hulu also acquired the rights for SVOD content from AMC, IFC, BBC America, Sundance TV and WEtv.

“The marketplace is exploding,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins. “It feels like every week I read about the launch a new streaming service.”

In mid-May, digital music business Spotify revealed an expansion into the video realm, showcasing alliances with ESPN, ABC, NBCUniversal, Comedy Central, Turner Broadcasting, Conde Nast Entertainment and Vice News at a press event.

Across the pond, UK film and distribution company Vertigo launched their own on-demand platform, which features movies and documentaries, while Amazon put forth its Fire For Kids Unlimited subscription service.

Showtime has scheduled the debut of its eponymous OTT service for early July, for $10.99/month (compared to $15/month for HBO Now).

“Our intent is to make Showtime available to viewers via every manner possible, giving them an enormous amount of choice in accessing our programming,” stated Showtime chairman Matt Blank.

The service will launch on Apple, Roku and Sony PlayStation Vue.

And finally, Chinese tech company Alibaba has made public plans for its own OTT service.

On June 14, Alibaba head of digital entertainment Patrick Liu announced Tmall Box Office (TBO).

"Our mission, the mission of all of Alibaba, is to redefine home entertainment," Liu said. "Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States."

With so much happening in the first half of the year for OTT, we can’t wait to see what’s next in Q3.

Author: Brian Cameron

Image via Shutterstock.

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