Four States Small Business Blog

What is OTT and Why Does it Matter For Your Business?

Posted by Chad Elliot on March 9, 2021 at 7:45 AM
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You want your business to earn the attention of future customers. So, it is essential in any ad campaign to place your ads where they’ll be seen by those who will be interested in your message. In this age of seemingly limitless sources of entertainment - TV, Social Media, Radio, Netflix etc., it is easier to target potential customers based on their individual characteristics. An important part of your marketing strategy should be OTT marketing (over-the-top marketing).

OTT channels are services where media is distributed through the internet, going “over-the-top” of traditional sources like cable or satellite. There are different kinds of OTT sources: ad supported apps, (Pluto, Crackle, Tubi TV), subscription-video-on-demand or SVOD (Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+), and streaming multi channel bundle services (Sling TV, Hulu Live TV). Streaming services like Hulu or Pluto allow paid ad placement on video content, giving your business

 an excellent tool for getting your message out. 

Largest OTT Services in the U.S.

OTT services are an often bewildering subject to understand. This has a lot to do with each particular service’s efforts to distinguish itself from its many competitors. Services offer unique titles, pricing, and stance toward ads. Below is a list of OTT players to know in the U.S market. Not all of these services support ads, but many do. All data on platform subscribers is from Statista.

  • Netflix

Netflix has been the big player in OTT video streaming. It continues to lead the field with approximately 171 million viewers in the United States. The service does not allow ad placement, however, other OTT services are growing faster than Netflix which do. 

  • Amazon Video

Amazon Video comes in a strong second to Netflix, with 136 million subscribers and strong projected growth. Amazon allows for ad placement on their video content. Additionally, because Amazon is also an e-commerce website, it is well positioned to make sure ads are served to viewers who are interested in the sort of products your company offers.


  • Hulu

Hulu boasts around 100 million subscribers. Hulu offers tiered subscriptions options with or without ads. Hulu with ads is $5.99/month, while the package without ads is $11.99/mo.


  • Disney+

Disney+ burst on the scene at the end of 2019, quickly gaining approximately 85 million subscribers. While Disney+ does not currently allow ad placement, it is important to note that few people exclusively subscribe to Disney+. This is largely because Disney+ only streams content owned by Disney.

  • Crackle

Crackle boasts around 20million monthly viewers. Viewership has swelled since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

  • Pluto TV

Owned by Viacom, this streaming service boasts 43 million active users.


OTT As Part of An Ad Strategy 

Endless discussion continues about “cord cutting trends,” but until recently most households which subscribed to an OTT service still had cable or satellite. As recently as 2018, 70% of households with OTT service also had satellite or cable. However, according to, this is rapidly changing as 61% of adults between the ages of 18-29 are OTT only. 


As viewers increasingly switch to OTT streaming services, ad placement strategies must likewise change. But rather than except this reality begrudgingly, it is more beneficial to take note of the benefits afforded by OTT marketing. The versatility of OTT marketing should not be overlooked.  


One of the biggest benefits of internet based advertising is its ability to identify consumers and move with them through their buyers journey. It’s also easy to reach an audience likely to resonate with your marketing message, with incredible amounts of customizability in your campaign. You can make certain that your ad is only shown to someone who’s already been searching for similar products to your business's. Or, you can determine which content your ads are shown on. If you find that your customers overwhelmingly like a certain TV show, you can choose to prioritize showing your ad on that show.


All these tools in OTT marketing make ever more effective campaigns possible. These campaigns can be integrated with your other advertising efforts, reinforcing your message and keeping your brand front of mind. When the day comes for that potential customer to make a purchasing decision, they’ll remember your company because your message appeared to them at the right times in their buyer’s journey.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Marketing ROI, Digital Marketing, Advertising