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The Alphabet Soup of Streaming Video

Fueled's glossary for video streaming and understanding key terms, phrases, and jargon.

A Glossary of Streaming Video Acronyms & Key Terms

D2C or DTC - Direct To Consumer

This is the practice of selling directly to consumers and bypassing any distribution middleman. For video services, this means selling and streaming directly to consumers. For example, Disney+ is Disney’s DTC offering that bypasses distributors like cable companies, broadcast television, movie theaters, or old-school pay-per-view TV.

SVOD - Subscription Video On Demand

Users pay a fixed monthly (or sometimes annually) rate in exchange for a (typically) wide array of on-demand content typically delivered over the internet. Examples of these services include Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

Genre-Specific SVOD - Genre-Specific Subscription Video On Demand

These are more niche SVOD offerings that tend to offer a narrower range of content centered around a specific type of content. Examples include AcornTV (British drama), Shudder (horror), Sundance Now (drama and crime), Urban Movie Channel (urban-themed programming), and IFC Films Unlimited (independent movies).

AVOD - Ad-supported Video On Demand

AVODs are SVODs that leverage advertising to make them freely available to users. However, there are also examples of SVODs (like Hulu) that do include advertising as a means of offering lower-priced subscriptions, though typically with fewer ads than AVODs or FASTs. YouTube is typically cited as an AVOD example.

FAST - Linear Free Ad-supported Streaming TV

These are free TV channels delivered over the internet (ie streaming) and are practically always linear in nature (as opposed to on-demand). Traditionally, this has been a way for publishers to syndicate their conventional linear channels (found on a MVPD) across multiple digital services. But the key difference is that FASTs are usually available without an MVPD subscription. Examples would be ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Comcast’s Xumo. Comcast’s new Peacock also contains a FAST element.

MVPD - Multichannel Video Programming Distributor

Basically, this is a term to describe services that offer a subscription to a broad set of channels. In other words, a cable or satellite service like Comcast, DirecTV, DISH, Cox, etc. When you think of TV in the 90s and early 2000s, you’re probably thinking of MVPDs.

vMVPD - Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor

These differ from a conventional MVPD in that they do not operate the means of physical distribution (like physical cable lines under the streets, fiber networks, satellites in space, etc.). This would essentially be a provider offering a bundle of channels distributed over the internet. Typically they’re smaller packages of channels and some examples include Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Fubo, Philo, YouTube TV, and Hulu Live.

Pure-Play vMVPDs - Pure-Play Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor

These are differentiated from conventional vMVPDs and AVODs in that they offer substantial non-linear, digital-only content like user-generated videos or original programming and by most accounts do not offer large on-demand digital video libraries.

Linear Content

Linear content is scheduled centrally programmed video content. This format is usually associated with traditional television.

Non-Linear Content

Non-linear content is any set of video content where viewers select what and when to watch. To a certain extent, linear content can be viewed in a non-linear way through consumer recording devices. Though, typically, non-linear is used to refer to fully on-demand types of content.

OTT - Over The Top

Over The Top video is any video offered to users directly through the internet, bypassing conventional, centralized distribution through services like cable, broadcast,  satellite, etc. Though some internet distribution channels are owned by the same companies that control conventional cable, broadcast, and satellite systems, distribution through the internet is informal and treated as any other web-traffic and does not require any type of agreement between the video distributor and the Internet service provider (ISP).

Fueled is a leading digital transformation agency that works with a range of unicorn startups, big brands, and F500 companies to launch world-class consumer-facing technology products, including modern OTT video distribution systems that reimagine how media companies and delivering content to their customers. If you want to discuss how Fueled can help with your OTT needs, feel free to use our contact form or reach out to Managing Partner Ryan Matzner directly.

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