Debashish Chakraborty
Marketing Initiative

The fate of Over the Top services and publishers in times of coronavirus

As the Over the Top (OTT) and publishing industries witness a never-like-before boom, how are platforms staying afloat?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world significantly, leaving uncertainty in the future of global citizens and businesses. Industries across the world and irrespective of sectors are confused and distressed, striving and adapting to try to stay afloat.

Against this backdrop, the media industry, especially OTT services and digital publishers, have been experiencing robust user growth, which comes with its own set of opportunities, learnings, and — most importantly — challenges.

Source: MoMAGIC Survey
Source: MoMAGIC Survey

The OTT industry has disrupted and diversified the way content was and will be consumed. While large portions of the Indian audience only started paying attention to this service in 2018, following the releases from Netflix (Sacred Games) and Amazon Prime (Mirzapur); today, over 40 services have entered this space and have been needleworking cinema lovers with some 'real' content. According to a 2019 PwC report, the OTT market is set to grow at a rate of 22% to reach Rs 12,000 crore in the next four years.

The boom in the video streaming industry clearly unveils why OTT services are becoming the harbingers in the media and entertainment industry. The ongoing lockdown has not just shot up the average time spent from 20 minutes to 50 minutes per day, but also multiplied the subscriber count of video streaming services.

A consistent drop in the number of cord-cutters has resulted in industry services redirecting their marketing spends towards streaming platforms. Not only are the engagement numbers in OTT's favour, but there is an increasing number of related tools that allow marketers to attribute app installs, registrations, and session data to OTT ads to help advertisers understand OTT's unique contour and capabilities.

The fate of Over the Top services and publishers in times of coronavirus

Another industry that has picked up and witnessed tremendous growth is the digital publishing segment. Once an emerging market, with everything just a push of a button away, currently, e-papers, e-magazines and online publishers are making long, effective and efficient strides.

This ongoing situation has also provided publishers with the opportunity to explore various aspects of improving functioning efficiency. This can be taken up as the ideal time for organizations to explore different territories which would help them improve their current method of functioning.

The world is constantly evolving, and this current situation is also evolving., The whole idea of an organization’s workforce working from home was a far-fetched concept until now. To leverage this opportunity organizations need to enable and scale their remote workforce.


While in a situation where organizations across the globe have asked their workforce to deploy their services from home, the challenges that an organization faces becomes of greater magnitude.

In particular, there are several challenges that the publishing industry faces, and this pandemic situation has added new and critical obstacles. Even when factors like communications and coordination among teams and team members are a primary concern, there are other factors like how to access enterprise applications, firewall concerns, changing market, fight against credential abuse and content scraping, and prevent downtime from deployment updates or hack attacks, which cannot be ignored.

For a digital publisher, there are various components that one must have to look into when a large part or most of their workforce is active from multiple remote locations. The whole concept of a remote workforce comes into question, as there are several aspects that now must be reconsidered. Akamai's Business Continuity Assistance Program is designed to help employees access corporate and web applications from anywhere via the Internet – defending from malware, phishing, and malicious web content. Additionally, security control can be applied to each user identity established using on-premises, cloud-based, or Akamai identity stores.

The fate of Over the Top services and publishers in times of coronavirus

As far as the OTT market is concerned, while the entire industry battles COVID-19 led content fatigue, curation of content has been working for the services – but, for how long? Also, to deliver a flawless and uninterrupted viewing experience, these services need to elevate their technological game, which has remained a constant bug, since the inception.

With more and more first day releases, it has become very important to safeguard the content available on OTT platforms. Though the Indian audience is getting accustomed to paying for content, screen sharing is still an option and is being widely adopted. Considering that the average cost of acquisition in India is around Rs 300-400 per subscriber, this hampers the monetisation chain, burning a hole in the pockets of the services, repeatedly.

Some of the other common issues include cyberattacks, illegal VPN access, screen recording, content theft, user data theft and privacy compliance.

Post-lockdown Scenario

As a result of the lockdown led isolation, the consumption of content online is skyrocketing, leading to dramatic upsurge. But while the content is the king for OTT platforms, tech remains an underdog. Superfast and smart technological production, starring encryption, cloud, compression, CDN & decoding remain the key tech assets, providing a strong foundation to build upon.

Platforms have been introducing new features like voice tags to search titles and leveraging machine learning to amplify sending personalised notification and recommendations. They've been investing heavily on the tech front, as much as one-fourth of their expenditure, underlining the importance of tech

Securing Remote Access

From corporates to consumers, today, everyone is living in an unprecedented time. Learning is no longer a long-term reward but a short-term necessity to stay afloat. As many organisations are opting for work-from-home culture, remote workforce seems to be the new normal. But while this helps the company save its massive spend on 'infrastructure', what needs to be understood is if its tech-infra is suitable and equipped enough.

The fate of Over the Top services and publishers in times of coronavirus

While remote functioning comes with its own set of challenges, accessing and securing this new workstyle remains the prime issue. Legacy/traditional remote access solutions like VPN introduce risk and management complexity which now, with an influx of remote users, the only way they can function is to limit the number of apps. An alternate option can be switching to tools like 'Enterprise Application Access' by Akamai which can scale better and maintain business continuity while maintaining security controls.

With attackers now raiding with sophisticated and targeted attacks that use COVID-19 as a lure, enterprises are concerned that remote devices might become compromised with malware or ransomware or user credential being stolen through a phishing attack.

To run effective distributed organisations, employers need to consider factors like streamlining operations, keeping the corporate environment secure and saving costs. Tools like Enterprise Application Access would get them a step closer to adapting to the changes— securely. The services are designed to help ensure that only authorised users and devices have access to the internal applications they need — not the entire network. No one can access applications directly because they are hidden from the Internet and public exposure.

In the coming months, with increasing traffic and remote access dependency, OTT services and online publishers would need to be innovative and cautious. While the former will help organisations seek the silver lining and move ahead, the later will ensure a secure environment from the novel virus—and business-crumbling threats.

Enterprise Application Access by Akamai integrates data path protection, single sign-on, identity access, application security, and management visibility and control into one service. Take a 60 day trial of Enterprise Application Access here.

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