The video streaming business is continually growing and evolving, which means marketers need to keep up with the latest trends and technologies to keep improving their customers’ experience. The number of users watching videos on demand is expected to reach 2 billion in 2023 and the video streaming market is going to reach over 1,720 billion viewers by 2030.
Such a pace means advertisers not only have to master innovative technologies but also use more creative approaches to engage and expand their audience, boost brand awareness, stay competitive, and increase revenues. Of course, there should be no guesswork or intuitive strategies because certain streaming trends are already apparent and should be taken into account to use video streaming to its fullest. Today we want to look at the top 8 OTT trends in 2023 and review each of them in detail.
Top 8 streaming trends for 2023 explained
The world of digital advertising is changing and innovating year by year, and this is no exception in 2023. So, here is the list of streaming trends for 2023 you should know and follow.
1. Popularity of AVOD services
There has always been competition between SVOD and AVOD. The latter seems likely to win this battle in 2023. The point is that not only do viewers prefer ad-supported services because they might give access to favorite videos in return for watching advertisements but also many SVOD services are successfully moving towards ad-supported tiers.
Surveys show that for the last two years, the number of households using AVOD services in the US has grown by 29%. SVOD services show a smaller increase of 21%. Over 64% of CTV viewers in the US say that they prefer to watch ads and pay less rather than purchase an ad-free subscription for a higher price. It is expected that by the beginning of 2024, more than 50% of customers in many countries will stick to a minimum of one AVOD service every month. In addition to this, ad-supported services will dominate over traditional TV advertising for revenue by 2025.
Popular streaming services have attracted subscribers because they provide an opportunity to avoid ad breaks and enable users to watch content with no interruptions. The idea was that if viewers were attracted by such a benefit, they would never want to return to ad-supported services. But with the passage of time, as fees for subscriptions have started to rise, it has become obvious that even households that could afford subscriptions have to search for ways of cutting costs on streaming services. Ad-supported tiers usually make premium videos available with a 50% discount, so why pay more? Viewers prefer to spend between 4 and 10 minutes an hour watching ads rather than pay a higher price for a subscription. Also, some services are able to offer annual payments with a bonus of a few months of free access, and that makes viewers choose AVOD as well. Not to mention the fact that in some cases, premium ad-supported content can be accessed free of charge.
The growing amount of FAST channels and the availability of ad-supported offers on multiple devices and platforms means they have won the hearts and minds of new audiences. Though not every viewer will choose AVOD over SVOD, it still attracts the majority including even the wealthiest households because lower-cost access to favorite shows always seems attractive. There are also benefits for SVOD providers offering ad-supported tiers as they can get extra revenue and make churn rates go lower.
2. Ad support by SVOD services
As time has gone on, prices for subscriptions to video streaming services have increased. This has resulted in burnouts and increased churn rates because viewers have found it hard to maintain all the subscriptions they have wanted. Many SVOD providers lost a lot of subscribers, so they decided that they had to start offering ad-supported videos.
Some popular SVOD services like Disney+ and Netflix nowadays introduce ad-supported tiers. In this case, the service becomes cheaper for viewers. For instance, Disney+ offers access for only $7,99. Also, new partnerships have started, such as the one between Netflix and Microsoft, who decided to unite to leverage advertising by offering an ad-supported version of the streaming platform. By the end of 2023, it is expected that most SVOD services will launch ad-supported tiers.
As for Netflix, it was quite unexpected for this giant to go AVOD because it has remained free of ads for a long time. Even in 2022 Spencer Neumann, the CFO of Netflix, stated that the company was not intending to introduce ads because it had no need for the service. However, that plan changed. There was a drop in the number of subscribers and revenue losses in the first quarter of 2022. As a result, Netflix decided to offer a plan at a lower cost with ad support to attract new customers and increase its revenue stream. The Basic with Ads plan was launched in the US and other 11 countries. At that point, Netflix announced its partnership with Microsoft which the company had chosen over Google and NBCUniversal. In this partnership, Microsoft is responsible for technology and sales. As for the viewability verification and traffic validation, Netflix chose Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify. Also, the company is about to use Nielsen’s DAR (Digital Ratings) in 2023.
So, now many SVOD services allow their users to access premium content at a discounted price, and consumers are ready to watch ads so they can save money. So, in 2023 ad-supported tiers have already been launched by HBO Max, Netflix, and Disney+. If we add Hulu and Freevee by Amazon, we can surely state that almost all popular SVOD giants now offer low-cost ad-supported plans.
3. OTT monetization development
In 2023, the main OTT monetization models will remain the same. Among them are:
- SVOD: a subscription-based model that gives users unlimited access to video content if they have a regular paid subscription. After purchasing this subscription, users can watch top-quality videos anytime and anywhere with no ads interrupting the stream.
- AVOD: a model that is based on ad display allowing users to access videos on demand and free of charge in return for watching commercials. It is similar to ads on cableTV, however typically OTT platforms allow viewers to skip the ad after some time.
- TVOD: lets viewers access particular content they’d like to watch and is based on payments per view. Such a model is used both by VOD services and those that offer premium live streams. Viewers don’t subscribe to anything, they pay only for the videos they want to watch.
- FAST: this model refers to free ad-supported TV. This is not about videos on demand but more about traditional TV because it has scheduled programs. The content is free of charge and contains ads.
- Hybrid model: a combined approach is used by many broadcasting platforms. It unites two or more monetization models.
But apart from the existing models mentioned above, some new ones are going to appear in 2023 providing advertisers with more options to generate revenue. For instance, Amazon Inspire offers influencers the opportunity to create shoppable ads promoting Amazon’s goods by placing links to products straight on photos or videos. This means viewers can buy items they see just with a few simple clicks with no need to search for them. In this way, Amazon can also boost purchases of Amazon Prime content. Apart from this, interactive features and overlays (e.g. in-game bets) can also be used to monetize broadcasting.
4. Increasing interest in foreign-language content
OTT platforms are looking towards increasing their global audience, so they are going to offer more foreign-language content to their viewers. For example, in the second quarter of 2021, the share of foreign-language videos demanded by users was less than 2 percent, but a year later it had reached more than 5 percent. The demand share of Japanese language content on Apple TV+ increased from 0,5% in 2021 to 2.9% in 2022.
It all started with the South Korean ‘Squid Game’ series. Now, Amazon Prime is about to focus on Indian regional series, and Disney+ is going to offer Asian content in 2023 (over 50 original titles). So, focusing on high-quality regional videos, such as documentaries, series, and anthologies, is a good idea if you want to expand your streaming channel.
The option of offering multi-language content is another benefit of OTT that traditional TV simply can’t provide. There are no boundaries for the language and location, so videos in the original language are being delivered in a flexible and personalized manner.
5. Growth of FAST channels
The next streaming trend concerns the growth of Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV channels. FAST channels may be considered a better version of linear TV. They provide scheduled but high-quality personalized content with well-targeted ads and at the same time give viewers an experience that is very similar to watching traditional TV.
It is important to distinguish FAST channels from those of AVOD because although they both support paid commercials, they still differ from one another. What is the difference between them? It’s all about the format of the ads that are being displayed. AVOD services allow monetizing videos via banners, sponsored ads, interactive commercials, etc., while FAST channels offer advertising that is similar to what viewers see on cable TV. They may be pre-recorded and appear randomly during live streams. AVOD and FAST show different ads to the viewers but may be accessed on the same devices.
Apart from this, there are several types of FAST channels:
- Exclusive: offer content exclusively on some platforms.
- Non-exclusive: offer videos on multiple platforms at a time.
- Free: a classic type that is based on AVOD or traditional TV advertising.
- Premium: premium options may be added to free ones, and that includes subscriptions and pays per view.
What are the advantages of FAST? These channels have the best features of traditional TV and CTV making high-quality content more affordable. They display more new videos but in a familiar view for those who are used to watching linear TV. In this way, FAST platforms such as Pluto TV and Tubi have been able to expand their reach greatly. Consumers choose FAST because it is free, and this factor attracts many viewers because they don’t have to pay monthly fees for cable TV or buy subscriptions to streaming services but still can enjoy top-quality content.
The main challenge for providers that want to run FAST is the need to plan the programming because videos on such channels are not available on demand.
6. Omnichannel video marketing
To be more successful in the video marketing industry, you surely need to use different platforms. This includes leveraging websites and apps, social media and email marketing, and so on. For instance, you can promote your brand on YouTube, run live events on streaming platforms, and partner with content creators for them to make announcements and engage more audiences. It will also be great to use some interactive features, augmented reality options, and those powered by artificial intelligence to create a new experience for your audience and improve your marketing strategy at the same time.
An omnichannel approach requires more creativity and a technological boost from advertisers but nowadays there are many tools for that. The main idea is that one creative can and should be used everywhere being simply adjusted to a certain platform or format.
Let’s take a closer look at the channels you are able to view.
Your own media channels: this is the best way to control the content distribution process from its publishing to analytical data and necessary optimizations. This point might include a custom CTV app, your company website, your accounts on social media, etc. Through these channels, you can not only distribute your videos but are also able to keep in touch with your target audience. How can you use them effectively?
- A custom CTV app: you control every detail making your content available to a wide audience including not only your regular viewers but new audiences. Your videos are showcased on major platforms like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google TV, you can use advanced analytical tools to get detailed reports, track the performance, and implement optimization tailoring content to the particular needs of your viewers. Your own CTV channel can be created easily with no extra knowledge or effort from your side. Just request professional service from a global app development and video distribution platform, such as VlogBox, and you’ll have your channel set up and launched within weeks.
- A website: a place where your customers can access your content and learn valuable information about your brand. Your company website is a place to share links to other channels and invite users to access other content, collect data about your audience via subscription forms, and use it for further promotion of your services as well as maintain communication with the viewers.
- Email: a perfect opportunity to get closer to your customers providing them with a more personalized experience. It boosts their loyalty and allows you to inform them about the latest updates concerning your brand, special offers, etc. Make your emails engaging, possibly interactive, and intriguing to keep them interested in your content.
- Social media: don’t forget to represent your brand on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other platforms to stir your audience’s interest with creative videos. Make sure you’re familiar with the characteristics of every platform and use their advantages to the fullest to increase profits – engage loyal viewers and expand reach attracting thousands of new subscribers. Social media accounts are also great for sharing links to your CTV channel and website.
Apart from your own media channels, you can use third-party paid channels to distribute your content. For instance, you can request services from FAST OTT aggregators and cooperate on the basis of revenue share or fixed fees to have your videos featured in the libraries of OTT channels. You can also use influencer marketing to promote your brand. Influencers have a wide audience that trusts them, so when they mention your content, many new users may well take an interest in your offerings. This is a good way to boost brand awareness and drive more traffic to your channel. In addition, you can pay for ads on social media, i.e. buy ad space to distribute your videos on popular social media platforms and expand your audience.
7. NFT and metaverse integration on CTV
Smart TV is used not only to watch video content. It has been used to get a new interactive experience, and in 2023 this is bound to develop even more. For instance, with Smart TV you can leverage the metaverse, including NFTs, and this is an advantage not only for users but for CTV marketers as well.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a technology based on blockchain and they have all that is needed to make a great change in the streaming world. In particular, NFTs can influence content monetization. For instance, while popular streaming services like YouTube Music and Spotify charge creators up to 30% of the revenue, platforms based on NFTs offer a 90% reward for streaming.
NFTs are about peer-to-peer video distribution, and they have a certain effect on the way streaming is implemented today. For example, Samsung has already launched a Smart TV NFT platform where some major NFT marketplaces, like Nifty Gateway, are featured. It allows viewers to sell and purchase tokens and showcase them on Samsung Smart TV. Furthermore, LG has announced its intention to introduce features of NFTs on their screens as well. These changes may be a great start for something innovative, and other players in the industry may follow this example.
What about content related to NFTs that is being displayed on CTV? It has only started emerging there that provides an excellent opportunity for many creators to become pioneers in this field. It is expected that soon, NFT-branded channels will be available on CTV where videos can be monetized based on several models. According to S&P Global research, 50% of the NFT traders are among Netflix and Amazon Prime users, and HBO Max, Apple TV, Hulu, and Disney+ show almost the same results. Taking this into account, we can say there is a potential for growth of NFT-related CTV channels.
It is important to say that some NFT-based CTV apps have already been launched on the most popular CTV platform in the USA. For instance, there is a StreamNFT channel that allows users to display NFT collections and look for new ones connected to the major NFT marketplaces. Currently, not all formats of the NFT files can be supported but this is still only the beginning.
What about the metaverse? It gained momentum in 2022 and today it is expected that this technology will transform the digital marketing world. Viewers tend to get very engaged by immersive experiences powered by VR and 3D or 4D. The Metaverse affects the journey of the consumer as it is able to provide a complete path of the funnel until a customer makes a purchase. Customers got tired of static ads and wanted to get a more interactive experience. Not just to sit and watch the ad but be a part of it and play their part in the story of the brand. This is what metaverse provides. And it is a great opportunity for the brands to open up new horizons that have almost no limits.
8. Video streaming quality and speed increase
This is one of the main trends in terms of viewer satisfaction and improving their experience. All popular OTT providers keep abreast of the latest technologies that help provide better-quality video by streaming high-resolution content saving speed and bandwidth. This can be done by using, for instance, the AV1 and H.266 codecs that help run 4K and 8K videos easily by decreasing bitrates.
Also, the quality of the video will be improved thanks to 5G mobile Internet. Bandwidth has increased and provides 20x times higher download speed compared to 4G Internet. As a result, videos will run smoothly on mobile devices with 5G and on screens where households have a 5G connection. Apart from this, new technologies that increase video resolution also help avoid some issues that might have appeared with video running, e.g. slow start-ups and buffering time.
As for the protocols, the best solutions for video streaming are Web Real-Time Communications and High Efficiency Streaming Protocol. As the WebRTC protocol was developed for small video chats and not large-scale broadcasts, creators need to use new approaches to scale CDN. In this case, a multi-CDN approach can be implemented for sharing traffic to a greater number of ISPs.
2023 has brought in new rules for video streaming services and advertisers, though some of the trends are not exactly new. However, viewers’ behavior is constantly shifting and it is crucial to capture these changes quickly to be ahead of the game.
CTV advertising is gathering pace, and since many SVOD services have switched to the AVOD model and the number of FAST channels and their fans is growing, advertisers have more potential than ever to attract new audiences with their campaigns. Households are using cable TV less and less, so there is surely a reason to review budgets and allocate more funds to CTV campaigns.
The introduction of ad-supported tiers is allowing streaming services to provide a more affordable but still top-quality experience. But it is crucial to use a detailed approach to succeed, e.g. leverage the latest technologies to ensure high speed and good quality video streaming both on big screens and mobile devices, take into account the rise of foreign-language content, and make every channel work effectively towards your marketing strategy success.