OTT vs. CTV: What’s the Difference?

Blog 5 min read | Jan 2, 2024 | Martina Georgievska


In the fast-paced evolution of media consumption, over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) have stepped up as revolutionary forces. These platforms redefine traditional viewing, blending accessibility, interactivity, and immersive experiences.

What is OTT?

OTT refers to the delivery of video content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV services. Essentially, OTT platforms allow users to stream content directly through the internet, making it accessible on a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and streaming devices like Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. Popular examples of OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

This method has transformed the way audiences access and engage with content, providing a more flexible and personalized viewing experience. Viewers can choose what to watch, when to watch, and on which device to watch it, liberating them from the constraints of scheduled programming.

Benefits of OTT

OTT content delivery has become increasingly popular in the media and entertainment industry, offering a range of benefits for both consumers and content providers.

  • On-demand access: OTT platforms allow users to access content whenever and wherever they want, ensuring on-demand flexibility. Therefore, users are no longer tied to traditional TV schedules.
  • Affordability: Many OTT services offer subscription plans at competitive prices, allowing users to choose packages that suit their preferences and budget.
  • Wider audience reach: Without geographical constraints, content providers can reach a global audience and expand their market beyond regional boundaries.
  • Content variety: OTT platforms invest in original content production, offering a diverse range of shows, movies, documentaries, and more. This diversity caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences, attracting a broader audience.
  • Enhanced engagement: Interactive features such as comments, ratings, and social sharing foster a sense of community among viewers and elevate the viewing experience.
  • Targeted advertising: OTT allows for more precise targeting of advertisements based on user data, preferences, and behavior. Consequently, advertisers can reach specific demographics, making their campaigns more effective.
  • Innovative technologies: OTT platforms are quick to adopt and integrate new technologies, such as 4K streaming, virtual reality, and augmented reality. This ensures that users experience content in the highest quality possible.
  • Insightful analytics: Thanks to data analytics features, OTT platforms can collect and analyze user data, providing valuable insights into viewer behavior. This data can be used to refine content recommendations, improve user interfaces, and inform business strategies.
  • No need for traditional infrastructure: Unlike traditional broadcasting methods, OTT does not require expensive infrastructure for cable or satellite transmission, reducing overall operational costs for content providers.
  • Instant streaming: With high-speed internet connections, OTT platforms offer instant streaming, minimizing buffering times and providing a smooth viewing experience.

What is CTV?

CTV specifically focuses on the delivery of content to television screens through an internet connection. Unlike traditional TV broadcasting, CTV relies on the internet to transmit content to smart TVs or other devices connected to the television. Popular CTV platforms include apps like YouTube, HBO Max, and Disney+, which can be accessed through smart TVs or devices like Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

One key distinction between CTV and other forms of streaming lies in its direct integration with television sets, providing a seamless bridge between traditional television and the digital realm. CTV combines the immersive experience of watching content on a large screen with the interactivity and on-demand nature of OTT services.

Benefits of CTV

Connected TV (CTV) has gained prominence as a popular method for delivering content to television screens through an internet connection. Here are its main benefits:

  • Hybrid viewing experience: CTV combines the traditional TV viewing experience with the flexibility of internet-based streaming, offering users the best of both worlds. It maintains the familiar large-screen experience while providing on-demand and interactive features.
  • Versatile device support: While primarily designed for smart TVs, CTV platforms can often be accessed on various devices like gaming consoles, streaming media players, and set-top boxes, providing users with flexibility in choosing their preferred device.
  • Optimized for large screens: CTV platforms are designed to deliver content on larger screens, ensuring a high-quality and immersive viewing experience. This is particularly advantageous for content that benefits from a larger display, such as movies and sports.
  • Flexible viewing times: Similar to OTT, CTV allows users to access content on-demand, freeing them from the constraints of traditional TV schedules. Viewers can choose when to watch their favorite shows and movies.
  • Engagement opportunities: CTV often includes interactive features, such as app integrations, social media sharing, and personalized recommendations, enhancing viewer engagement beyond passive watching.
  • Targeted advertising: CTV platforms enable targeted advertising on television screens, combining the precision of digital advertising with the impact of television commercials. Advertisers can leverage user data for more effective and personalized campaigns.
  • Efficient advertising spend: Advertisers can benefit from cost-effective advertising on CTV platforms, reaching a large audience while potentially reducing costs compared to traditional TV advertising.
  • Expanding market reach: CTV’s internet-based delivery allows for global reach, enabling content providers to expand their market beyond regional boundaries and reach diverse audiences.
  • Diverse content options: CTV platforms often integrate popular streaming services and apps, providing users with a wide range of content options from various sources, including movies, TV shows, news, and more.
  • User profiles and preferences: CTV platforms often support multiple user profiles, allowing each household member to have a personalized viewing experience based on their preferences, watch history, and recommendations.
  • Simplified infrastructure: CTV eliminates the need for traditional broadcasting infrastructure like cable or satellite transmission, reducing operational costs for content providers.

OTT vs CTV: Key Differences

Feature OTT CTV
Device accessibility Accessible on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and streaming devices. Primarily accessed through smart TVs, but can also be streamed on devices like gaming consoles, streaming media players, and set-top boxes.
Content delivery Delivered over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV services. Utilizes the internet to deliver content specifically to television screens.
User experience Offers a personalized and on-demand viewing experience, allowing users to choose content and viewing times. Integrates the on-demand flexibility of OTT with the immersive experience of watching on a large television screen.
Advertising opportunities Often provides targeted advertising options based on user preferences and behavior. Allows for targeted advertising on television screens, combining the advantages of digital advertising with the impact of television commercials.


With the help of OTT and CTV, viewers break free from traditional TV constraints, embracing on-demand accessibility and diverse content choices. OTT platforms redefine engagement, while CTV seamlessly combines large-screen grandeur with interactive digital streaming. These technologies are reshaping entertainment, harmonizing personalized content delivery and immersive experiences, erasing boundaries between traditional and digital media.