Over-the-top content

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In broadcasting, over-the-top content (OTT) refers to delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content. The Internet provider may be aware of the contents of the Internet Protocol packets but is not responsible for, nor able to control, the viewing abilities, copyrights, and/or other redistribution of the content. This model contrasts with the purchasing or rental of video or audio content from an Internet service provider (ISP), such as pay television video on demand or an IPTV video service, like AT&T U-Verse. OTT in particular refers to content that arrives from a third party – such as Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, or WhereverTV, and is delivered to an end-user device, leaving the ISP only the role of transporting IP packets.[1][2][3][4]

In the U.S. an online video distributor (OVD) is defined in FCC 13-99 as "any entity that offers video content by means of the Internet or other Internet Protocol (IP)-based transmission path provided by a person or entity other than the OVD".[5][6]

Over-the-top messaging refers similarly to the concept of third parties providing instant messaging services as an alternative to text messaging services provided by a mobile network operator.[7][8] Particularly WhatsApp narrowly focused to replace text messaging on internet connected smartphones. Founded in 2009 it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for approximately US$16 billion,[9] now has more than 900 million active users[10] and also provides over-the-top voice calling capabilities.[11] Other services like Skype have also taken away traditional (mobile) phone operator business by using open internet communication to replace and enhance existing operator controlled services.

Consumers can access OTT content through internet-connected devices such as desktop and laptop computers, gaming consoles (such as the PlayStation 4, WiiU, and Xbox One), set-top boxes (such as the Roku), smartphones (including Android phones, iPhones, and Windows phones), smart TVs (such as Google TV), and tablets.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Saul Hansell (March 3, 2009). "Time Warner Goes Over the Top". New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Over-the-Top Video and Content Delivery Networks Will Transform Video-On-Demand Provisioning". Electronic Component News. November 19, 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. 
  3. ^ "Why 2011 Is Being Called The Year Of "The Cable Cut"". Business Insider. December 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Who Is Playing The OTT Game And How To Win It". Business Insider. December 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "User Interface Holds the Key to OTT Success". Pay OTT TV. March 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ "FCC Adopts 15th Report On Video Competition". U.S. Federal Communications Commission. July 22, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "CHART OF THE DAY: Mobile Messaging". Business Insider. 2013-05-17. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  8. ^ Tim Maytom (2014-08-04). "Over-The-Top Messaging Apps Overtake SMS Messaging". Mobile Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 2015-08-28. 
  9. ^ Albergotti, Reed; MacMillan, Douglas; Rusli, Evelyn M. (February 20, 2014). "Facebook's $18 Billion Deal Sets High Bar". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A6. 
  10. ^ Leena Rao (September 4, 2015). "WhatsApp hits 900 million users". Fortune. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Whatsapp Status" (blog). Retrieved February 10, 2016.