Winning the Multi-Platform Delivery Balancing Act

“Consumer mobility” isn’t just about smartphones.

One of the best things about being a consumer in today’s video market is that there’s such an abundance of great stuff to watch. As companies get smarter about improving experiences and content discovery, it’s easy to be torn as to where to spend entertainment dollars. To succeed, today’s business models hinge on maintaining a reliable share of our minds and wallets over a longer stretch time, which favors a multi platform delivery strategy that includes both digital and broadcast destinations.

Audiences are on the move, but ready to watch

No matter what the road looks like between you and your viewers, their journey can change with just one click. High churn has followed fast consumer adoption.”[1] Some key findings from the research that Parks Associates published this summer:

  • Most OTT services are experiencing churn rates that exceed 50% of their subscriber base.
  • Motivations for cancelling services are largely based on perceived value.
  • High churn is indicative of “growing pains” as services work to find audiences and resonate with them.
  • Outside of Netflix, subscribers are averaging twenty-one months of membership to an OTT destination.

One of the most telling data points from the same research: the same folks who are cancelling OTT services are also spending more overall on their video entertainment than subscribers who stay put. Not just on services, but on physical media as well (DVD purchases / rentals). That begs the question: how do I keep the biggest share of wallet if the wallet isn’t shrinking, and, in fact, might be expanding?

The best audience relationship wins

How are content providers and global operators of all stripes building deeper engagement with their audiences? For the most part, it’s by capitalizing on the opportunity to understand the audience lifecycle at the individual level. By knowing the primary reasons for churn, brands can actively respond to learnings with a more tailored experience, and retention tactics that follow suit:

  1. Content-led churn: “there’s nothing on
  • Serve content that builds your audience. Niche-focused or otherwise, creative budgets are expanding to meet equally expanding consumer demands for high-quality, compelling programming.
  • Make content discovery as simple as possible, improving natural and voice search as well as how choices are presented onscreen.
  • Build awareness with viewers through data-driven suggestions and communication campaigns.
  1. Technology-led churn:  “I’ll return to a great experience”
  • Know your technology, inside and out, identifying areas of opportunity to elevate multi platform delivery quality. Earlier this year, we introduced Media Technology Lifecycle Management as a framework to get there. You can learn more here.
  • Align with technology partners that can streamline workflows and deliver value back into the business – as well as cost savings that can be applied to content creation / curation.
  • Improve the ability for viewers to get help fast. Live support, rapid issue resolution, and proactive communication that demonstrates care for each playback experience.
  1. Intermittent subscribers / viewers: “I’ve already watched what I want” 
  • Stay in solid (but not relentless) contact with lapsed viewers, possibly engaging them through fact-finding exercises that allow them to share.
  • Showcase other facets of your programming based on what you know about the historical relationship and viewing habits of viewers.
  • Utilize social media and other avenues to maintain mindshare and keep your offerings relevant, inviting audiences to return.

It’s not just about audiences . . .

Advertisers buy OTT and broadcast ads for different missions. Traditional TV is tops when it comes to reach and ROI, which is why, ironically, some of the biggest TV ad buyers are online and technology companies. As Jeri Smith, CEO of advertising research firm Communicus, puts it: “You can only make so much money on people who already know your brand. To reach everyone else, you need TV.” This is why ad spend is actually increasing. OTT is really effective in the sort of tailored, targeted techniques that keep prospective buyers moving towards a purchase. Broadcast TV delivers more ROI than any other medium by building awareness across demographics. Quality reigns supreme on either side of the aisle though, with audience engagement – that secret sauce of compelling content and superior experiences – ultimately dictating where advertising budgets are going to be spent.  

Content providers and global operators are getting really creative at finding ways to keep viewers engaged, while solving for shifting multi-platform delivery challenges at the same time. Whether it’s creating brand new content-driven experiences for fans, or aligning with technology providers that can liberate and augment a brand’s creative resources, it all comes down to a differentiated, repeatable quality of experience that consumers recognize as valuable.

[1] Parks Associates, “360 View Update: Churn and Retention of OTT Video Services,” 2017

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