Last month, I described how one interactive TV (ITV) venture, Canoe, is tackling technical challenges to roll out its offerings to cable TV operators.  The overall concept, dubbed over the top (OTT) is all about displaying content over the top of traditional TV programming.  New technology is now making it possible for local TV stations to enhance their revenue streams using OTT through a variety of ways. This media format could eventually reach a value of $5 billion according to Parks Associates.

TV station operators know that viewers are watching content through Internet-connected sets or traditional sets that are connected via set-top boxes. This connection makes it possible to reach viewers with other content they’ll find interesting. Top applications include displaying a quick view of the upcoming weather forecast or a video that displays a summary of local political or high-school sports news. To access this data, users simply press a button on their remote controls. In some cases, TV stations have already developed apps for mobile audiences that can be easily modified to appear on household TV screens. Randa Minkarah, SVP of business development for Fisher Communications, notes that, “People want to watch TV when and where they want to watch it. We are all working to figure out what that looks like.” Fisher Communications, Roku and Flingo are all competing to help TV stations develop the OTT business model.

Across the country, TV station operators are experimenting with how to sell ad space on these apps to local marketers. According to a recent article in TVNewsCheck, KTVU San Francisco hopes to make money by “running 10-second spots in front of video clips.” To make the technology work, stations need access to an app or they can develop their own and encourage consumers download it. As with any new technology, a number of companies are competing in the marketplace. It’s too soon to tell how successful any of these strategies will be but at least 10.4 million Internet-connected TVs will be sold in 2011. And millions more consumers have set-top box installed – making  a ready market..

[Source: Phillips, Heather. Stations Amp Up Viewing with OTT Apps. Tvnewscheck.com. 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2011]