Making your Niche: Competing with the OTT Giants
You are an entrepreneur by passion.
You want to start your own business.
You know that the global OTT market was valued at $121.61 billion in 2019.
You also know that the same is projected to reach over $1,039.03 billion by 2027, following an impressive CAGR of 29.4% between 2020 and 2027.
You are all convinced that starting an OTT streaming service is a great business idea to not only grow in the future but also claim a good share from this multi-billion-dollar pie.
You recalled that Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Spotify, Disney, and dozens of more biggies are already doing that. Now you wonder if going eye to eye with the giants is even possible. You are giving your idea a second thought.
Well, hold your horses, and think again.
Netflix and Amazon may be superior to most streaming services, but hundreds of other OTT platforms are still doing some great business.
They are niche players who actually have created their own segments by catering to specific groups of consumers. The biggies have never even been their competitors, to be frank.
Take CuriosityStream for instance. It’s a niche VOD streaming service that offers some high-quality documentaries. None of its content is comparable or poses as an alternative to what you consume from Netflix or Amazon Prime. They cater to a specific set of viewers. In spite of this, they had driven more than 100 million users by 2019 itself.
You could argue that CuriosityStream is still a big player; created by one of the founders of Discovery Network. What about a common man/woman with a modest OTT-business idea?
Well, I have one more example of a business that went even deeper to find a micro-niche for success.
Meet NFA Studios, a highly niched subscription-based VOD streaming service that offers unique access to some of the most influential political and religious content. The platform gained 4000+ paying subscribers in just 3 months of the launch. After roughly a year, they reached over 20,000 more users.
You too can break the barriers
You too may be capable of not only starting a niche OTT-business but also enjoying a grand success with the right strategies by your side. Players like CuriosityStream and NFA Studios are just a few of the countless examples. The OTT streaming market is still in its budding phase, and there is ample space to accommodate several more players. We have curated some special tips that you might find useful and be inspired to get going.
But, before that, let’s acquire some subtle understanding of what makes a niche streaming business.
What is niche OTT Business?
Rather than catering to everyone, a niche caters to a specific set of audience. Not everyone likes every content. Different people may have different tastes and preferences when it comes to watching their favorite content. One can address this difference in taste and preferences to create specific taste or preference groups with similar aspects.
For example, some people may like sci-fi movies, while others may be fond of romantic or biopic movies. Many may not like commercial films at all, but possess some deep appreciation for documentaries.
These broader preferences can become your niche, while you can dig even deeper to create micro and Nano-niches. For instance, if the documentary is a niche, you may come up with micro-niches such as science, politics, history, entertainment, or sports documentaries.
A niche can be found by considering any aspect that meets the following two criteria:
- It should possess lesser competition than the broader market.
- It should have ample demands to set up a viable OTT business model.
A segment with less competition but no demands at all is never a niche. Similarly, a segment with big demands but large competition is also no niche.
For example, magic is a trending segment. It interests a smaller section of the audience but surely is big enough to set up a dedicated OTT streaming platform for teaching or showing magic tricks. Similarly, food lovers make a significant population of this planet. You could set up a food-oriented streaming platform to publish food reviews, food vlogs, food documentaries, cooking lessons, and much more.
Can a niche really help you to tackle with the OTT giants?
But, why tackle them?
A niche sets you apart from popular streaming counterparts that cater to a broader populace. If you can come up with a good niche with decent demands, you need not even face the biggies as your competitors. You could be running a successful OTT streaming platform in parallel to the big names.
Want to watch the latest Netflix Original? Go to Netflix.
Want to watch a good Space Documentary? Go to CuriosityStream.
Interested in real-life US political content? NFA Studios can offer that.
In fact, the big players have solved the biggest hurdle in your cause. They successfully exposed the OTT streaming market and have given a taste of OTT to the people. They have created a demand for the segment you are to explore.
Paraphrasing the words of the founder of a popular niche OTT streaming platform-
Distinctiveness is the way to defeat scale. If you can set yourself apart, you need not go into a content war with anyone. Don’t simply follow the herd. Instead, find out the potential ideas these biggies have missed, or have not explored completely, and try to explore that in your business model.
The OTT giants have an enormous amount of money and offer everything like a Supermarket. Whereas, your niche could be a smaller but distinctive shop with special content.
Examples of some successful niche OTT players
- Shudder Horror and Supernatural Genre.
- PokerGO– For watching live Poker events.
- Crunchyroll: Manga and Anime music and dramas.
- CuriosityStream: Award-winning documentaries.
- Dust: Streaming platform of an independent studio.
- NeTV: Content from film festivals and independent creators.
- Lebra Play: Multi-ethnic entertainment content from 13 different regions.
- Eros: Hosts more local Indian content than Netflix and Amazon combined.
- Passionflix: Selection of classic, romance-themed content with a unique rating system.
- Marquee TV: Referred as Netflix for Arts with content based on interest and hobby.
- NFA Studios: Access to legacy and new uncut political speeches from world leaders.
What to survive as a niche OTT player?
As easy as it seems, setting up a niche business model is not a laid-back job; especially in the OTT streaming industry. You might not have to face the streaming giants directly, but hundreds of other niche players in your interested domain may make it difficult to stand out in a niche as well. What’s the secret of those who managed to succeed in this industry?
It’s basically a combination of three fundamental strategies:
- Compelling content
- Customer loyalty
- Price point
Nothing is as important as your content library
You might be serving a smaller segment than the big players, but the quality of the content you serve must beat even the best. It’s the first thing that consumers see and what they want from an OTT platform.
OTT has not only revolutionized the way we used to consume content but also the way content was produced. With OTT content going extremely accessible, independent creators have found their platforms to showcase something that traditional TV or theatre content was unable to display. People want that type of content from their favorite OTT streaming platform.
Focus on four major aspects while building your content library:
- Keep evolving with time.
- Iterate new learnings in your service.
- Develop user experience that people love.
- Create content that people have shown their interest in.
For example, if you are serving the Food niche, create unique food-related content that is not offered on any other platform. If your videos are unique, people will welcome them and pay for them. Create in-house content, sponsor other creators, or source from a content distributor, but find some unique content that is not available elsewhere.
Acknowledge customer loyalty
Getting new subscribers for your platform is crucial, but it is even crucial to keep your existing customers happy. It is thrice as difficult to convert a customer for the first time than selling again to an existing customer. More than 70% of your revenue each month will come from renewed subscriptions alone.
If you value customer loyalty and keep your library up-to-date, your existing OTT subscribers are more likely to keep renewing their subscriptions for an average of 5-7 months in a row. Besides, 79% of these happy customers are also likely to recommend your platform to other users in their circle.
Hence, if you have happy customers, not only do they pay for your services, they also bring in more customers to you.
Your pricing can grow or kill your platform
Content pricing strategy is as crucial as content quality and customer loyalty. All three factors are linked directly to each other. Customers may pay a little extra to watch some good, exclusive content, but keeping your prices beyond the reach of your average customers would only invite abandoning of your platform.
Most of the small, niche players keep their prices way lower than the big names to make a good first impression, and these strategies do work in their favor. For example, an average customer pays at least $8.99/month to Netflix, but hardly even care to watch even half the titles that Netflix offers. Whereas a niche platform need not source such a big catalog, thus they can keep their charges lower.
Many platforms choose freemium OTT revenue models to attract as many users. They offer streaming services free of cost to the users and generate revenue from showing Ads. However, they also offer premium alternatives so users who don’t want Ads can enjoy an ad-free experience.
To sum it all
Working under a niche is the easiest way to compete with existing players in the market. A niche OTT platform, with its unique set of content and a few but loyal customers, can do wonders. You just have to be ready for acclimatizing your strategies as per time, prospects, and demand.
For example, you may exhaust all your capital in developing your OTT platform from scratch, or you can choose a much affordable and quicker way of using a turnkey solution like StreamView to build your SVOD platform. The money you save could be used in developing more trending features on top, content licensing, and marketing of your platform. This is just yet another way to not only survive as a niche player but also to thrive by putting in some strategic investments.
StreamHash provides many such turnkey solutions to set up OTT platforms without developing anything from scratch. Literally, anybody with zero coding knowledge can build an audio, video, or live streaming platform using StreamHash scripts.