Data Driven • March 11, 2023

Revolutionizing OTT and E-commerce through Computer Vision

This blog post by Prachi Jain is the winning entry in Quantiphi’s February’21 QuriousWriter Blog Contest.

Think of the last movie you streamed. There must have been clothing, an accessory, or a food product that you saw on screen and couldn’t resist the temptation of buying. For instance, the elegant gown that Emma Watson wears in the movie Little Women or the watches that Robert Downey flaunts on the screen.

Impulsive buying behaviour is something all of us have indulged in at some point. In fact, impulse buying is considered to be one of the significant factors in boosting sales volume in the retail sector.

Driven by the curiosity that is stimulated by various triggers such as advertisements and online content, we are often tempted to look up the price and other details of the things that catch our attention. Adding these things to our wish lists gives us a feeling of gratification, if we cannot purchase the object of desire.

Matching your purchase intent within media content is a revolutionary concept. While most of the advertising may seem tone-deaf and interruptive, here, a brand is included throughout the digital content and is likely to grab your attention.
This opens up multiple possibilities for hyper-commercializing the OTT media streaming platforms with e-commerce. Retailers can offer the viewers with instant buying options as they watch their favourite shows.

Hyper-commercialization enables advertisers to influence consumers' attitudes, awareness, and behaviours as they engage with the media. The holistic motivation behind the hyper-commercialization of content is to bring products closer to the purchase intent.

OTT Media: Next frontier of content consumption

Over-the-top (OTT) Platforms refer to media streaming services offered via the internet directly to its viewers. OTT bypasses traditional media channels like cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms. At present, , streaming services form an integral part of the media, entertainment and gaming ecosystem with capabilities to scale up and serve the global and niche audiences alike.

Advertisers’ Interest in  OTT platforms

OTT offers many  benefits over traditional media. Research shows this segment is highly receptive to OTT advertising and avoids skipping the ads. OTT enables viewers to watch their desired content at their convenience, and  on the preferred devices. It also helps in data transparency as every data point of the user is known. Consumption patterns on OTT devices offer valuable  information for targeted advertising. 

These channels make microtargeting possible because of the deep insights about audience segments and their viewership behaviour. OTT is similar to the traditional media in terms of media format publishing and the placement of ads which offer additional opportunities to target online consumers.

Revenue models for OTT

OTT-business earns its revenue via various revenue models such as  subscription model, advertisement model, hybrid model, and transactional model. Introducing different shops while watching the content has the potential to create a significant size revenue for the OTT media services.

Following the trends in the OTT space, it is certain that technological advancements will empower the media industry to a great extent. 5G has to offer a speed of 100x, low latency, smooth 4k, and VR streaming, and decreased buffering. With the rise of 5G, the transition towards video streaming will  surge. 

With the outburst of the pandemic, there has been a significant rise in content consumption over OTT due to easy accessibility, higher availability of time, lack of a social life, and inaccessibility to outdoor activities.

During the COVID-19 lockdown phases,  subscription-led OTT services like Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, Amazon Prime launched new movies on their platforms to gain maximum viewership and subscriptions revenue while offering  interesting entertainment options to families.  While viewers prefer the platform with not only the best content but also with the best UX features, such as  easy navigation, considerable font size, color, and readable attractive thumbnails, OTT space is witnessing fierce competition  in impressing consumers with their UX features.

Objects detected by CV and tagged with metadata information (Image Credits: pexels)

How  computer vision is transforming OTT

A video enables the visibility of various objects in the scene. Viewers are attracted to the vibrant clothing, jewelry, furniture, food, electronic appliances, and accessories, while consuming content that can be easily identified by computer vision. If they are conferred with an option to buy these products at the time when they like them, they will be more  likely to purchase them. This will certainly reduce the drop rate due to the inaccessibility of these items. Integrating e-commerce options with an OTT app and aligning these options in relevance to the scene viewed will reduce the decision-to-action time.

 The metadata in the digital content is linked to the brand's e-commerce site, pointing to the exact item for checking  its availability. The other options include  the ability to provision with alternative similar brands and/or products or google search for the products identified via computer vision. 

Computer vision algorithms will help us detect objects in the scene and either fetch the data from the metadata with options to purchase or run an image search on those objects, and store the purchase link on the same. The latter, however, is not an accurate option. The total possible exhaustive combinations are -

  • Same brand and product
  • Same brand but different product
  • Same product but a different brand
  • Similar product and similar brand
  • Similar brand but different product
  • Similar product but a different brand

Impact on stakeholders

Hyper commercialization comes with various advantages for all the stakeholders – consumers of OTT, media houses owning OTT, and content creators in the production houses. Customers gain the ease of buying their favorite items at the inception phase, get more options to interact with the media, spend consumption as well as shopping time, and enjoy a live purchasing experience. Thus, these customers save a lot of time in researching for the product and gain the satisfaction of purchasing the original and authentic products.

The unsurpassed joy of shopping while watching the content is that engagers get to buy items that are used by their favorite celebrities and feel emotionally connected to it. The emotional appeal drives more traffic to watch the content and increases sales for the brand being endorsed within that content.

Production houses will have the opportunity to obtain sponsorships from the brands and thus, reduce the production cost. Moreover, they can attune their content to gain maximum traction without altering the storyline, emotions, and intent of the script. This also gives an opportunity for brands to create their own content with an interesting storyline. Hyper-commercialization benefits media houses by generating additional revenue from its sales, the possibility of a commission from brands for its technical integration, publishing strategy, offering visibility to content consumers, and bringing products close to them.

However, hyper-commercialization doesn’t always simplify things. The concept needs to be technically improved to avoid adding on the media file size due to metadata size. The user interface must not be heavily loaded due to e-commerce options, and the shops can create metadata load detection accuracy delays if enabled in the motion scene.

Customers may either face issues in watching content if this feature is not diligently implemented or may not use these features at all if it is hidden in the tree-like option within the settings. Hence, smart UX with an easy-to-understand flow that strikes a balance without compromising the viewing experience is indispensable. OTT companies also need to ensure that the links in the metadata are authentic despite the commercial pressure to promote other brands over the original brand. Production houses face the risk of losing authenticity and in turn, customer loyalty.


Hyper-commercialization in the OTT space is bound to gain importance in the coming future.  Spectacular advancements in OTT have just begun. Creating an ecosystem where all the  stakeholders are represented, especially the integration of e-commerce and media, presents  tremendous  scope for  growth. 

Written by

Prachi Jain

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