By Rob Antolin, Key Account Specialist and Julie Geller, VP,  Marketing

A new movement is taking place in the way that we consume content. The rise of on-demand, over-the-top (OTT) services is making it possible to easily find media wherever, whenever and however we choose. The shift to streaming media also allows companies to serve up content tailored to our individual viewing habits, resulting in our own personalized online landscapes.

A leading component in this shift is over-the-top (OTT) services, which refers to content that is accessible over the Internet from third- party sources like, NetflixHulu and myTV, and is delivered to audiences often through subscriptions.

One of the best examples of this model is Netflix, which offers a continuously updated catalogue of content to subscribers. But more important than the volume of content is the way that Netfilx is able to serve up specific titles or recommendations based on the viewer’s previous viewing history. It’s this kind of functionality that makes it easier than ever for viewers to find the content they want and this is leading to increased viewership.

VentureBeat reported that Netflix is on track to surpass HBO’s overall subscriber base, which, if that pans out, will mark a significant change for broadcasters and how they approach delivery. But it’s not all about the viewers. Broadcasters have an opportunity here to learn detailed information about their audiences with the data collected by these OTT services.

1 in 3 Millennials watch mostly online video

Source: 2013 New York Times video study

Moving to a streaming media model also means that audiences are more likely to find content they might not have considered otherwise. In fact, a New York Times study found that viewers are more likely to watch commercials if there’s a countdown timer visible.

6 in 10 are likely to watch ads if the countdown timer makes it clear they are short

User preferences and algorithms play a large role in sites like, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon and Netflix. From connecting people’s friends and contacts, to following their interests and hobbies, our digital landscapes are being strategically curated to appeal to our specific tastes on a daily basis.

huff po screenshot










So is this helping or hurting us? Well, it’s safe to say audiences are spending less time channel surfing and more time watching what they want. It also means broadcasters are learning more about their audiences and their viewing habits. So even though it might be too soon to say whether this movement is making us more intelligent, it’s definitely making the way we consume media much smarter.


About Rob Antolin

Robert Antolin joined the Cision Canada team in early 2012 to assist clients in optimizing the media monitoring services and workflow. Before joining Cision Rob held roles with CBC Sports and National Hockey League. He maintains an unhealthy obsession with sports of all kinds, and can usually be found live-tweeting whatever competition he is watching. Rob has an undergraduate degree from the Western University in Media, Information, and Technoculture and holds a post graduate Honours Public Relations Certificate from Humber College.

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