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Data Science and OTT – A Match Made in Heaven?

If you’re unfamiliar with OTT, it stands for “over-the-top.” It refers to delivering film and TV content via the internet without a traditional cable or satellite subscription. In other words, think Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc. These platforms have been rising in popularity in recent years, largely thanks to the increasing availability of high-speed internet connections.

But why exactly is data science so crucial for OTT platforms? Put; data science helps these companies to understand their customers better. By analyzing customer behavior and using the information to inform their content strategy, OTT providers can ensure that they’re consistently delivering the most relevant and engaging content possible.

We’ll look closely at how OTT platforms use data science and its benefits.

What is Data Science?

It is an interdisciplinary field which uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from data in various forms, both structured and unstructured. In other words, data science is all about turning raw data into actionable insights.

It uses a variety of steps to achieve this, including but not limited to:

  • Data mining involves exploring large data sets to look for patterns and trends.
  • Machine learning: This artificial intelligence form allows computers to learn from data without being explicitly programmed.
  • Statistical analysis: This involves using mathematical techniques to conclude data.

How is Data Science being used in OTT platforms?

OTT platforms use data science to improve the user experience in several ways. For example, Netflix uses data science to personalize recommendations for each user. This tells that users are presented with content they are likelier to enjoy, which keeps them engaged with the platform.

Additionally, by understanding what users are watching and when they are watching it, Netflix can make strategic decisions about what content to produce and when to release it.

Hulu also uses data science to personalize the user experience. However, Hulu takes things a step further by using data science to recommend content and determine which ads to show users. This allows Hulu to generate more revenue while ensuring users only see ads for products and services they are interested in.

How OTT providers use Data Science

There are a few ways in which OTT providers use data science. It helps them understand their customers and what they want. By analyzing customer data, OTT providers can learn more about their target audience and what content they’re most likely to watch. This information can then inform content strategy and ensure that future releases are tailored to the customer base’s needs.

Data science uses to track customer behavior. This information can be precious for understanding which content is being watched and when and how long viewers care for. This data can then decide ad placement, content creation, and customer retention.

Data science can help OTT providers to understand the competition better. Analyzing users’ behavior on competitor platforms makes it possible to identify areas where your platform could improve. It can also help you avoid making the same mistakes that your competitors have made.

OTT providers use data science to improve the user experience in a few different ways. One is through recommendations. Using data from your viewing habits, OTT providers can tailor recommendations for what to watch next.

This helps users discover new content they may enjoy and keeps them engaged with the platform. Netflix, for example, famously uses data science to power its recommendation engine.

Another way OTT providers use data science is to improve the stream’s quality. By analyzing data about user behavior and network conditions, providers can ensure that users get the best possible experience when streaming content.

This is especially important as, increasingly, people are streaming video on mobile devices with unreliable or patchy connections.

Lastly, data science is being used by OTT providers to understand their users better. By analyzing demographic data, OTT providers can gain insights into their users, what they want, and how they can better serve them. This information is invaluable for developing new content and marketing existing content to the right audience.

Data science is an interdisciplinary field which uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from data in structured and unstructured forms.

In other words, it is a way of turning large amounts of data into useful information to make better decisions. For example, it can use data science to understand user behavior, Identify trends and recommend content.

When it comes to OTT platforms, they can use data science in several ways, such as understanding customer behavior, identifying piracy risks, improving customer retention, or reducing churn.

For example, data science uses to understand why customers are canceling their subscriptions or not watching certain types of content. This analysis can change the platform or content offering to improve customer satisfaction.

Data science can also identify which customers are at risk of cancelation so that targeted campaigns can be run to try and keep them as subscribers. This kind of analysis can help reduce churn rates and improve customer retention.

Data science is used in OTT platforms in a variety of ways. One of the most important ways is through recommender systems. Recommender systems are algorithms that suggest content to users based on their past behavior.

Netflix, for example, uses recommender systems to offer movies and TV shows to users based on what they have previously watched.

Spotify uses recommender systems to create customized playlists for its users. Data science is also used in OTT platforms to target ads. Advertisers want to reach as many people as possible with their ads, but they also want to ensure that they are interested in what they’re selling.

OTT platforms use data science to target ads so that they are shown to the people who are to be interested in them.

OTT providers’ data science teams focus on understanding two key areas – content and viewers. Regarding content, data scientists use predictive analysis to identify which shows are most likely successful. This helps OTT providers determine which new shows to greenlight and invest in.

Data science can help OTT providers understand how to best package and price their content offerings. Regarding viewers, data science teams use predictive analysis to understand viewing behavior.

This includes understanding what times of day people are most likely to watch certain content, what genres people are interested in, and even which ads people are most likely to respond to.

This information is used to personalize the viewer’s experience. For example, if a viewer typically watches cooking shows at night, they might see more cooking-related content recommended to them in their evening viewing lineup.

Role & use of Data Science in OTT platforms

Content Acquisition and Curation

One of the most important aspects of any OTT platform is the quality of its content. After all, no one wants to subscribe to a platform that doesn’t have anything worth watching.

That’s where data science comes in. Platforms like Netflix use data science to help them identify gaps in their content libraries and decide which shows or movies to acquire or produce next.

Not only that, but data science is also playing an increasingly important role in curation. Using complex algorithms, data scientists can surface content that might interest individual users and deliver it directly to them through recommendations and other personalization features. This helps keep users engaged with the platform and encourages them to explore new content they might not found on their own.

Marketing and distribution

Acquiring and curating high-quality content is one thing, but getting people to watch it is another challenge. That’s where marketing comes in. And these days, OTT platforms are using data science to power their marketing efforts in various ways.

For example, many platforms use customer segmentation to target ads and promotional materials for specific groups of users. Others use predictive analytics to forecast future trends and viewership patterns to allocate their marketing budgets more effectively.

And still, others use A/B testing techniques to optimize everything from the subject lines of their emails to the images used in their social media posts.

No matter how you slice it, there’s no doubt that data science is playing a vital role in the success of OTT platforms today. And as these platforms continue to grow in popularity, we’ll likely see even more innovative data science use in upcoming years.


Data science is valuable for any business but is essential for OTT providers. By understanding their customers better and using that information to inform their content strategy, OTT companies can ensure that they’re consistently delivering the most relevant and engaging experience possible. Data science could be the key to success in a highly competitive industry such as this.

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