CTV & OTT: Glossary of Terms

Streaming television is at an all-time high. As we’ve developed a newfound familiarity with our living room couches, at-home content consumption has surged to new heights.

The opportunity for marketers is abundantly clear—and advertisers are moving fast. According to Advertiser Perceptions, 66% of advertisers plan to increase their streaming budgets in the next six months. With audiences and your competition flocking to the channel, the time to crystallize your CTV & OTT marketing strategy is now.

If you’re new to the space, you may at first feel lost because of the shorthand vocabulary that dominates discussions. Marketers use a lot of acronyms and the streaming space is especially stuffed with them. Here are some core definitions to keep you oriented.

Learn More: Your Guide to Connected TV Video Ad Specs

Connected TV (CTV) and Over-the-Top (OTT) Acronyms and Definitions

Over-the-Top (OTT) 

This translates to the act of streaming television and film content over the internet. Audiences can consume OTT content on any device that has an internet connection, including TVs, laptops, and phones.


Connected TV (CTV) 

This is any TV that can connect to the Internet. This is the most popular way that audiences stream OTT content, whether it be from an OTT device connected to a TV (e.g., Xbox, Amazon Fire Stick) or an OTT app (e.g., Netflix or Hulu) on a Smart TV (e.g., YouTube TV, Roku). 

Linear TV (LTV) 

The traditional way of consuming television content, most often with a satellite or cable connection. Viewers have to watch a program at a specific time or must record content to watch at a later time. “Cord cutting” refers to individuals that are abandoning their LTV subscriptions in favor of streaming.

Addressable TV (ATV)

The ability to show different advertisements to different households watching the same program via set-top boxes, cable, or satellite. This sounds a lot like what’s possible on OTT/CTV, but ATV refers to targeted advertising on linear TV. 

Video on Demand (VOD)

Any service that allows consumers to watch programming on an on-demand basis, inclusive of OTT, CTV, and content distributed via select cable or satellite services (e.g. DirectTV Cinema or Xfinity On Demand). 

Advertising-based Video on Demand (AVOD)

In exchange for free content, consumers agree to watch advertisements. 

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD)

This is similar to traditional TV packages, allowing subscribers to watch as much content as they would want for a flat rate. Common SVOD providers include Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix. Not all of these services are ad-supported. 

Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD)

Users purchase content on TVOD services on a pay-per-view basis (e.g., renting a movie on Apple TV). 

TV Everywhere (TVE)

This refers to streaming video content from television channels. Users are required to authenticate a channel subscription before watching content either live or on demand through a streaming app.  

Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (vMVPD)

We know, it’s a mouthful. vMVPD services are an aggregate of traditional linear TV viewing and on-demand streaming, allowing users the option to flip through channels to watch live or on-demand programming. Common vMVPD providers are Sling TV, Pluto TV, Philo, PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube TV. It’s a popular option with cord cutters that want to retain access to select cable channels, particularly sports networks. 

Demand-side Platforms (DSP)

DSPs allow marketers to purchase ad space across many ad exchanges, sometimes via a real-time bidding process. Popular DSPs with OTT inventory include Amazon, Roku, and Xandr. 

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

A server-side technology that allows for the seamless insertion of ads into VOD content and linear programming. 

Server-side Ad Insertion (SSAI)

The process by which ads are seamlessly inserted into long-form streaming content. This technology creates a broadcast-like viewing experience for the viewer. 

SubRip Subtitle File (SRT files)

A plain-text file that contains information about your video ad’s subtitles, including time codes. It’s standard practice to include SRT files along with your video creatives for closed captioning purposes. 

View-through Rate (VTR)

A metric used to measure video creative performance on certain CTV / OTT advertising channels. Because a majority of ad-supported streaming features non-skippable ads, VTR can reach 100% depending on where you advertise. 


FREE DOWNLOAD: The A to Z of CTV & OTT: Your Creative Guide to the Newest Performance Channel

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