TO MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF CONTENT, HYBRIDITY IS THE NEW NORMAL

From the research that comprises our recent paper Survive and Thrive: The Changing Environment for Content and Video Providers, one of  the surprising takeaways was that “being discovered” surpassed operational costs as the number one business challenge facing survey respondents. Along those same lines, “maximizing customer lifetime values” was in a virtual tie with operational costs for second place. The clear takeaway here is that success in video means to drive engagement up, while driving costs down. Today’s monetization strategies are geared towards accomplishing these fundamental goals while building a fantastic content-consumer relationship – one screen at a time.  

 

BUILDING ENGAGEMENT, FROM AD SPOTS TO PREMIUM CONTENT

It’s that “relationship” thing that’s led us to our current industry conversations around maximizing customer lifecycle values, hybridity and flexibility in commerce models, and so on. Advertisers are in the same boat, quickly becoming savvy to the unique audiences at different destinations. It’s a constant learning experience for every video-based business, which is not just a statement about consumer behaviors. It’s also about “unlearning” outdated processes and manual procedures in favor of radical new ways to consistently: a) get to a screen quickly, b) merchandise effectively, and c) serve a consistently crisp, clear audio/visual experience.

The advertising industry, for example, understands that there are different audience cultures at different video destinations, and that campaigns are more successful if they’re tailored to be more aligned with the content that’s carrying them. The trick is to be able to participate in whatever folks are watching. The increased shift to on-demand viewing means that advertisers need a much faster response time from their ad delivery workflow, while gaining cost efficiencies that free up needed resources for targeted ads with shorter shelf-lives (we talk more about that in this blog). Industry adoption of a centralized cloud-based delivery model is an important first step towards modernizing the process of buying, selling, and delivering video products. 

Within the video industry, relationship building is a complex balancing act between how consumer behaviors change at the macro audience level, and how an individual’s preferences change over time. There’s a direct tie back to advertisers as well: brands that need a deeper relationship with consumers – automotive brands, for example – are going to gravitate towards destinations and delivery methods that can bring them into a closer orbit with actual buyers. 

 

ORGANICALLY GROWN AUDIENCES ARE HEALTHIER

There’s never been a better time to build an audience than today. That said, it’s also an increasingly global audience, which means that commercial strategies need the technology horsepower and know-how to pivot based on regional changes in addition to larger lifecycle management concerns. Some merchandising requirements might seem like no-brainers, like the ability to describe video assets in multiple languages as well as in images; but nurturing relationships at that scale means solving for the entire end-to-end – from app/storefront to multi-currency transactions, in different ways, with different customers, in different regions. 

From a technology standpoint it’s imperative to have the ability to change up the way your content is merchandised, and the way promotions and offers are displayed, so that the user experience can be tailored to support all these factors easily. There are a ton of factors to consider:

  • Content might be bundled for specific audiences by category: such as genres, series, sequels, and trilogies. Or, dynamically bundle content targeted for specific devices and access rights (e.g. one movie for the iPad, two movies for all devices, or a collection of media that dynamically changes).
  • Pre-set access rules and pricing templates might be applied for different viewing rules like pay-per-view events, season passes, single transactions, movie bundles, or subscription access.
  • Product tags need to be easily applied at the video and bundle levels to make it easier for folks to search for and select content

For a subscriber-based model, pricing and special offers can get complicated quickly. Maybe a code-based promotion is the way to go (i.e. “enter FREEWEEK to start your trial”), or maybe a discount is applied based on a percentage, or at a fixed rate, or based on a minimum time commitment, or . . . you get the idea. Ultimately, a true hybrid monetization model is something that needs a lot of technology behind it, to enable companies to turn their consumer data into actionable intelligence – and then into stronger, longer relationships. 

 

THE BUSINESS OF “PLAY”

Demographics and buyer personas exist to categorize the constituents of a market, so that businesses can understand them and do a better job catering to them. Video brands looking for a deeper one-on-one with customers need the flexibility to shift and pivot on a more personal level. For more information we invite you to read our new article The Business of Play: Monetization in a Video Economy. A truly savvy business model begins with creative out-of-the-box thinking; but implementing it is a technology challenge that’s evolving right along with delivery quality and screen resolution.