OTT Vendor – What is Your WebRTC Strategy?

November 1, 2012

OTT vendors need to start taking stock. They are the ones with the most to lose from WebRTC.

You know my opinion about OTTs and WebRTC. OTTs rely on locking in users into their free services and then trying to find how to monetize them. When I worked on my presentation for the WebRTC conference, I bumped into this interesting document from Tango. The best part is their business model:

We have a lot of ideas on how to make money once Tango reaches a critical mass, and are going to explore and experiment with a wide variety of ways to monetize mobile video calling including offering premium services.

Let me translate it for you: We have no clue how we are going to make money. Once we have a large number of users, we will try different things to monetize.

Frankly, there are only 4 ways I’ve found to monetize VoIP services by OTT players:

  • Advertising – nice, but nagging. And people don’t really want that or care for that today in their calling service
  • Interconnect – the moment you want to reach out to PSTN (regular telephony service), you pay
  • Premium services – draw a line somewhere in the feature set you offer, and have some features as paid services. Nice, but what amount of customers really go for that?
  • Wait to be acquired – or run out of money

It can also be some/all of the above.

But what happens when you throw WebRTC into the mix? You get social networks that can eat the lunch of OTT players – take their user base rather easily and offer the same services the OTT does:

  • With better advertising, which users are already used to on those social networks
  • With interconnect, because these users spend a lot of time in these social networks
  • And with premium services – or not. It doesn’t really matter for the masses

If you are an OTT vendor, you should not ignore WebRTC. You should think hard on what are you going to do about it.

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  1. It seems to me that a big hole to be filled with WebRTC is security / identification clearing. Connection to the PSTN is going to become less and less relevant when every device is web-rtc is enabled and wifi is ubiquitous.

    However, I still have to know how to reach someone (directory services) and know they are who they say they are, etc.

    I am sure the big social media players will play in this space.

    1. It all depends on the use case.

      If we are both on LinkedIn or Facebook – do I need our WebRTC call to be authenticated anywhere else besides on these websites directly?

      1. Yes, agreed. There will be the larger identity providers (Google, FB, Twitter, LI). They are a natural. The question is how will they play nicely together?

        Will a standard such as oAuth emerge that everyone adopts?

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