Consumers, operators and content owners drive gains
Shipments of over-the-top (OTT) devices reached an estimated 1.67 billion worldwide in 2013, according to recent data from IHS iSuppli. This is a year-over-year gain of 20%, and the same percentage growth is expected in 2014.
The December 2013 press release predicted that shipments of OTT devices would total nearly 2.7 billion units by 2017, amounting to an impressive increase of 86% between 2012 and 2017.
Consumers are one group fueling growth in the OTT market. A September 2013 study from Crackle conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates found that more than one-quarter of US internet users planned to replace their TV service with an OTT device in the six months after polling. This was the third-largest response among respondents, trailing connected TV and computers.
In order to keep up, operators, another group driving increases, are taking advantage of opportunities provided by OTT devices. For example, Q2 2013 polling by Incognito Software asked broadband service providers worldwide about their attitudes toward OTT content/services. Six in 10 respondents said the devices provided an opportunity to develop new services, and 36.9% saw the chance to form new partnerships. Overall, positive attitudes were more common than feelings of being threatened by such devices.
Content owners are the third group fueling gains in OTT devices, using them to expand the audience for their films, music and videos, according to IHS iSuppli.