As the popularity of OTT (Over-the-Top) streaming services continues to soar, platforms strive to differentiate themselves by offering unique features that enhance the viewer experience.
In this article, we’ll explore five essential features that set certain OTT services apart from the competition. From download and offline viewing to watch parties, shopping, sports betting, and additional services, these features cater to diverse user preferences and elevate the streaming experience.
Download and Offline Viewing:
One of the most sought-after features for streaming services is the ability to download and view content offline. Netflix, a pioneer in the streaming industry, allows its subscribers to download movies and TV shows for later viewing. Similarly, Amazon’s Prime Video offers offline viewing on its platform, providing users the flexibility to enjoy their favourite content even without an internet connection.
This feature is particularly useful during travel or in areas with limited internet access. We now spot many people who enjoy offline viewing on airports, airplanes, trains and many other places outside our comfort home. While being rather surprising at first, this feature now feels essential, especially for those who frequently travel.
This might have felt much bigger and more needed during covid lock-downs – streaming platforms have introduced watch parties, enabling users to enjoy content simultaneously with friends and family, regardless of physical location. While they are now free to go to the cinema or visit friends and family, watch-party still feels like a fun extra feature.
Hulu offers a watch party feature that synchronises playback across multiple devices, allowing participants to chat and react in real-time. The shared experience enhances social interactions and creates a virtual movie theatre atmosphere, even when viewers are miles apart.
In recent years, sports-focused streaming platforms have started incorporating sports betting features, allowing users to place bets on live games directly within the streaming app.
One prominent example is FuboTV, which combines live sports streaming with a built-in sportsbook. Users can enjoy their favourite sporting events and place bets on their preferred teams, creating an immersive and interactive sports viewing experience. Another sports-focused streamer Dazn launched Dazn Bet in 2022.
Dazn has already kick-started the betting feature in several territories, including the UK and Spain. While the brand is also popular as a streaming platform in other territories such as Japan where there are numbers of other Japanese betting sites, online betting is legally in a grey area, hence their betting feature hasn’t launched yet, only stating that it is in the future scope.
Some OTT services have integrated shopping features directly into their platforms, transforming the streaming experience into a comprehensive entertainment and shopping destination.
For instance, Roku, a popular streaming platform, offers the Roku Channel, which not only provides free movies and TV shows but also includes a “Featured Free” section showcasing various shopping offers and deals. Users can seamlessly browse and purchase products without leaving the streaming platform.
To offer added value and cater to diverse entertainment preferences, some streaming services integrate additional services into their platforms. Amazon Prime Video, for instance, includes access to Amazon Music and other branches, providing subscribers with a vast library of songs and even other comprehensive services like shopping.
This combination of video and music streaming enhances the overall entertainment package for users.
Apart from the mainstream giants like Netflix and Disney+, there are more and more specialised and locally focused platforms that appear and evolve. As the OTT streaming landscape continues to evolve, platforms strive to stand out by offering unique features that go beyond basic content delivery.
Download and offline viewing, watch parties, shopping integration, sports betting, and additional services like Amazon Music are just a few examples of the innovative features that enhance the streaming experience.
By embracing these features, streaming platforms cater to the diverse preferences of viewers and provide an immersive, interactive, and all-encompassing entertainment experience.