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OTT vs CTV: What’s the Difference?

The difference between the OTT vs CTV explained

Two terms that often come up in discussions about the media and advertising industries are "OTT" (Over-The-Top) and "CTV" (Connected TV). While these terms are related, they play distinct roles in the streaming media ecosystem. Understanding the differences between OTT and CTV is crucial for grasping the nuances of TV content consumption. To clarify the distinctions and uses, let’s explore the dynamics of OTT vs CTV.

What is OTT?

OTT stands for Over-The-Top, a term used to describe content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly to viewers over the internet. This term bypasses traditional cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the types that traditionally act as controllers or distributors of such content. OTT encompasses a wide range of video content types, including television shows, movies, and live broadcasts, accessible via internet-connected devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and Smart TVs.

Examples of OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+.

What is CTV?

CTV stands for Connected TV, which refers specifically to any television set that connects to the internet and can stream digital video at the viewer's convenience. CTVs include devices such as smart TVs that have built-in internet capabilities and devices that enable a standard TV to become connected, like streaming sticks, game consoles and boxes (Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox).

OTT vs CTV: Key Differences

Device vs. Delivery Method:

CTV refers to the actual devices that connect to the internet to enable the streaming of OTT content. It represents the hardware component or set of components in the streaming equation.

OTT is a method of delivering content directly to consumers over the internet. It represents how content is delivered and consumed, regardless of the device.

Scope of Content:

OTT services provide a vast library of on-demand content accessible on any internet-connected device, not just TVs.

Usage in Advertising:

CTV advertising is considered a subset of OTT advertising because it specifically targets advertisements delivered on a Connected TV device. This targeting can be highly specific, utilizing data about viewer habits, interests, and demographics.

OTT advertising can occur on any device capable of streaming digital content, including mobile devices, computers, and CTVs, making it a broader term.

Why the Distinction Between OTT and CTV Matters

Understanding the distinction between OTT and CTV is essential for content creators, advertisers, and media companies as they navigate the digital media landscape. For advertisers, CTV offers targeted opportunities that are more specific to television viewing, while OTT offers broader reach across various devices. For consumers, the distinction helps in understanding the type of access they have to streaming content.

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