What is OTT streaming?

We get asked all the time – what is OTT streaming?

OTT, or “over the top”, is a content distribution channel (Read: streaming service) that brings you content via the internet. OTT is most known for describing large subscription-based video-on-demand services, like Netflix and Hulu, and is completely disrupting broadcast and cable content providers.

  • The global OTT market accounted for $110.1 billion in 2018 and is now expected to increase to $438.5 billion by 2026, according to a recent report by Research Dive.
  • Nearly all Americans aged 25-34 access TV content through the internet.
  • 80% of U.S. consumers subscribe to a paid streaming video service.

Which is why, we sat down with a panel of experts to discuss how OTT streaming is changing the live video industry. But first – we wanted to cover the basics of OTT streaming and why the landscape is changing so rapidly.

What is OTT streaming?

As you read above: OTT is an acronym for TV and film content watched via streaming services rather than cable or satellite providers.

But OTT is more than services like Netflix and Hulu.

Many OTT providers offer live streams with more niche content, similar to cable TV channels. As an example, of course, you can get ESPN through an internet streaming service – but what about that fishing channel you tuned into when you had cable? There’s an OTT channel for that.

OTT’s premise and true success is that it can offer you everything cable and broadcast could – with the flexibility to watch your content anywhere, anytime you want.

Now let’s take it one step further. OTT platforms aren’t just limited to movies, television, and the content you once consumed when you had cable – OTT is also changing how we behave in other verticals such as faith and fitness.

Especially during the pandemic – OTT live streaming has been vital to maintaining communities and routines. That weekly exercise class you took at your local yoga studio is now live streamed through an OTT platform, and you can access it at any time. Your church has hours of faith content uploaded for you to access and live streams each Sunday service.

OTT isn’t just becoming a larger part of consumers’ media diets; it’s becoming a more significant part of consumers’ daily lives.

OTT statistics

OTT streaming statistics

  • One-quarter of consumers added at least one paid streaming service within the past few months. (Consumer Technology Association)
  • According to the Nielsen Remote Worker Consumer survey, 25% of adults added a streaming video service in the past three months. (Neilsen)
  • The OTT market is set to reach $167B in revenue by 2025, double the revenue of 2019 ($83B). (Applicaster)
  • Vimeo OTT has seen a 260% increase in hours viewed on OTT channels in the last year.
  • Live video grew by 93%, with an average viewing time of 26.4 minutes per session. (Conviva).

OTT sports statistics

  • Streaming is poised for growth, as much as 52% each year with a projected $4 billion in earnings by 2024. (Bain & Co)
  • According to a PwC survey, the primary reason consumers stuck with paid TV subscriptions was to have access to sports channels. 82% of respondents said they would stop paying for their TV service if they didn’t need it to watch live sporting events.
  • Live sports are interesting to 13% of people, which was the second highest preference after news at 13.8%. Audiences also want us to see eSport events live streamed on social media with 4.5%. (IBC)

OTT entertainment statistics

  • 50% of viewers now consider an OTT channel their “home base” for watching TV, compared to 42% for traditional TV set-top box. (StreamingMedia)
  • 90% of households with children at home subscribe to at least one OTT service. (Park Associates)
  • In Q3 2019, 24% of US households were supplementing a subscription to one of the big streamers (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) with another service that wasn’t one of those three. (Adweek)

Learn more about OTT

What do companies need to launch an OTT platform? Major networks and smaller brands alike are investing more in OTT. Cultivating an expert team of developers, marketers, and producers are crucial for any OTT strategy. Or, you could partner with an OTT provider like Vimeo.


  • What businesses need to launch an OTT platform.
  • How live video can be a differentiator in an OTT content strategy.
  • What’s next for the future of OTT distribution.

Our guests include digital programming experts William Mao, MP&Silva; Mark De Couteau, EDGESport/WME; and Jon Keller, Odd Networks, to discuss OTT product, strategy, and how industries are shifting to meet customer demand.

Get started with your OTT streaming.