OTT and Connected TV

Over the Top (OTT) video is creating a revolution in the living room. It’s changing the way people watch TV and how advertising on TV is done. OTT has huge implications for brands because it brings targeting, interactivity, and data to the TV ecosystem.  But what is OTT?  Why does it matter, and what does it mean to your brand? Let’s find out.

What is OTT?

Over the Top (OTT) is video content streamed over the internet to a connected device, bypassing traditional cable/linear TV distribution. Think of it this way – If you’ve watched streaming content and the content paused to show you an ad, you’ve experienced OTT and OTT advertising.

A connected TV (CTV) is a television set connected to the internet via an OTT device or with built-in capabilities. What kind of devices? Here are a few names that might look familiar:

Who’s watching OTT?

There are approximately 47 million ad-supported OTT households in the US. The demographics skew towards younger, digitally-savvy audiences.


  • 18-34: 44%
  • 35-54: 37%
  • 55+: 18%


  • Male: 60%
  • Female: 40%


  • Caucasian: 58%
  • African-American: 15%
  • Hispanic: 14%
  • Asian/Other: 12%

Benefits of OTT

You already know that OTT is a way to reach cord-cutters, cord-nevers, and video content streamers. But there’s more. OTT placements have several benefits to help you reach more consumers, drive more engagement, and build your brand in the most compelling medium around–video.

Brand safety

Reach consumers across top-tier networks and popular content in a brand-safe environment.

Near 100% viewability

Advertisements on OTT run full-screen, just like a TV commercial, and most ads are not skippable.

98% ad completion

Consumers viewing OTT content watch ads to the end 98% of the time. 

Robust targeting

Unlike TV, OTT has targeting options similar to other digital advertising channels.

Extend traditional TV

Work with your traditional TV buy to balance and reach the right audience at the right time.

OTT is mainstream

The average home views 86 hours of content on OTT monthly. There’s lots of inventory to choose from.

OTT brings balance to your buy

TV isn’t going away. It’s a powerful way to quickly reach a large audience, and it should be part of your media strategy. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is how your audience is consuming media. For emerging brands that are building awareness and driving performance with target audiences, or for established brands that need to connect and stay relevant with younger, digitally-savvy audiences, OTT is a must-have. Without it, brands are missing out on a full 1/3 of their potential audience.


of consumers can no longer be reached with linear TV and cable. [1]


of all US households have OTT streaming capability. [2]


of OTT users have paused content to purchase or learn more. [3]

[1] Data provided by ComScore “State of OTT” 2020
[2] eMarketer, July 2019 & Nielsen 2018/19 TV Universe Size, Custom Data Pull Cable UEs April 2019
[3] OpenX, 2019 Consumer OTT Report

OTT brings focused targeting to TV

TV advertising excels at reaching a huge audience instantaneously. Targeting TV to specific audiences is accomplished by purchasing spots on certain types of content or during specific times of the day. These tactics tried and true tactics work well. However, as we’ve already discovered, focusing your buy solely on TV means you could be missing 35% of the market.  Make the most of that 35% by targeting your OTT buy with digital marketing-like tactics like these:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Household income
  • Day of the week
  • Time of the day
  • Device
  • Platform
  • Location
  • Content genre
  • Network

*Note: The more layers you apply, the less available inventory. When applying strict geo-targeting parameters (i.e. city or zip code level) we do not recommend including any additional targeting layers.

How to buy OTT advertising

There are several places to buy OTT advertising. In the end, it’s not about who you buy from, but whether you’re reaching the right audience in sufficient volume. For that reason, the best practice when buying OTT is to choose a partner with access to lots of various inventory sources. By doing so, you’ll be able to reach your audience no matter where they are watching content.

It’s a good idea to find a trusted partner with broad-reaching inventory access to help you navigate the waters of OTT.

Media Agency

A good media agency or media buyer will have mulitple points of access to OTT inventory across several sources. By focusing on target audience and less on content, a media agency/buyer will have greatly improved reach, efficiency, and positive campaign results. Look for an agency that does the work in-house to help you keep control and campaign management centralized.

Multichannel Video Programming Distributors

These providers traditionally offer cable or satellite service and have OTT on-demand as well as via their streaming offerings. In many cases, MVPD’s have locked-in geographical areas they can service. In one metro, Comcast may be the only choice; in others it may be Spectrum.  For true audience reach, you’ll need to buy across multiple MVPD’s.

Comcast Logo Spectrum Logo Cox logo mediacom logo


Virtual Multichannel Video Program Distributors.

vMVPD’s offer multichannel experiences to consumers but do not offer traditional infrastructure like cables or wires. Their content runs exclusively over the internet. Similar to MVPD’s, the audience is limited to only those consumers that use these individual vMPVD’s.

Sling Logo Hulu Live Logo Pluto TV Logo Roku Logo

Content creators like cable channels or networks offer OTT through their apps or “channels” that are used by consumers.  As an example, you might download the CBS All Access app or the Fox+ app. Commercials are served via OTT. Your audience on these buys will be limited to just those consumers that download and use individual apps or use them through their cable subscription.

HBO Logo CBS All Access Logo Fox + Logo
Subscription video on demand

SVOD providers require a monthly fee in addition to your internet or pay-TV provider bill. Some have an advertising ecosystem, while others do not allow ads of any kind.

Hulu Logo Netflix Logo Amazon Prime Video Logo

What’s next for OTT?

The people have spoken. They want to watch their TV media on their time and on their terms over the internet.  The COVID-19 outbreak has only accelerated what was already happening. With more time on their hands, less money for subscriptions, no sports, and the overwhelming and sensationalizing of cable news, people need an escape.  They’re turning to OTT/CTV.

OTT holds a huge amount of promise, but it exists in a complicated landscape. It may be the perfect fit for your business, but without the right expertise, you could be wasting valuable ad dollars. The first step is carefully evaluating OTT/CTV with regard to your specific business goals and needs.

Media Place Partners can assist you by helping you evaluate the potential of OTT/CTV for your business. Contact us today and let’s get to work.