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OTT, CTV, VOD, SVOD: WTF – What Does It All Mean?

by Laura Hudson | February 20th, 2019

The big buzz words around these days are OTT and CTV. It seems that the two acronyms are interchangeable depending on who you’re talking to. Sometimes they are included in the over-arching umbrella of digital, and sometimes they aren’t. Again, it depends on who you’re talking to.

Let’s go over some acronym identification and definitions so we’re on the same page.

  • OTT – Over the Top

Device used to receive video content through the internet, not through an over-the-air or wired signal. Think: smartphone, tablet, smart TV or streaming stick.

  • CTV – Connected TV

Viewing video content via a TV screen connected to the internet. Think: Roku, AppleTV, your blu-ray player, or smart TV. The operative word here is TV. You’re viewing internet content on the television, not another device.

  • VOD – Video on Demand

Video content to be watched at will, typically delivered from a subscription wired or alternate delivery system. Think: DIRECTV on Demand watched via your CTV or your smartphone.

  • sVOD – Subscription Video on Demand

Streaming service based on a subscription fee. Think: Netflix or Amazon Video.

  • aVOD – Ad-supported Video on Demand

Service that brings free access to content but also shows ads. Think: Crackle and Freedive.

  • mVPD – Multi-channel Video Programmatic Distributor

Service provider delivering programming for a monthly fee. Think: wired cable service like Comcast, Spectrum, or Cox.

  • vMVPD – Virtual multi-channel video programmatic distributor

Service provider offering premium and live video content over the internet for a monthly fee, without the need for network structure. Think: SlingTV, DirecTV Now and Hulu Live.

  • TVE – TV Everywhere

Usually cable networks allowing their customers to access their content via the internet. Think: HBO Go and WatchESPN.

  • STB – Set Top Box

Used by cable and satellite companies to deliver their linear TV signal.

  • Linear TV

This is just good ol’ regular TV as we’ve always known it. You can get over-the-air with an antenna or you can pay for cable or a satellite service.

It can be really confusing.  We’ve been researching opportunities for close to two years now, and this space for advertising is evolving and quickly. Opportunities are pitched with little understanding from the sales force and rarely any data to back up their claims.

The big question still remains: When? When should we be adding this type of media to the mix? When will this media be the first place for a lead? With the quickly evolving landscape of video consumption, no one knows the answer to these questions yet. What we do know is that when it’s time, we will be ready for it. Our expectations of video in all forms will still be: make you the first call and do it efficiently.