The video industry has certainly seen significant change in recent years and continues to evolve at an extraordinary rate. It has become increasingly evident that data and personalization must play a key role for OTT service providers if they want to remain relevant and current in such a competitive market. Mrugesh Desai, VP North America, Accedo and Marta Diaz, Product Marketing Manager, Jump Data Driven Video, discussed all of this, as well as what lies ahead for the industry in an interview with IABM TV at the NAB 2022 show.
Here are the key trends, challenges, and opportunities they highlighted:
1. Video is no longer just about video
Being a video content provider no longer has to mean that you are a broadcaster in the traditional sense. Today, video is produced and distributed to consumers by many different kinds of companies and the type of content being produced varies greatly. All of this is feeding an insatiable consumer appetite for a wide variety of video-centric experiences.
Mrugesh highlights that with new forms of content and distribution channels entering the market, a focus on innovation is more important than ever before. This notion is supported by a recent survey conducted by Accedo where just over 94% of video providers cited innovation as either very important (54%) or important (40%). In the IABM TV interview Mrugesh explains that this is creating both challenges and opportunities for video companies who are looking to innovate with their services. On the one hand, video providers need to understand the type of innovations that are most likely to resonate with their audiences and ensure they can be implemented in a seamless way that enhances the user experience. This can be difficult, but if done well, there is a huge opportunity to improve engagement, attract new subscribers, and reduce churn.
For some verticals and types of content providers, the focus innovation goes beyond just the video use case. For example, sports rights holders are increasingly working to expand their presence to create a digital fan engagement hub. According to Mrugesh, this may still have video at the forefront but could be interspersed with added value offerings such as player analytics, scores, and augmented reality experiences.
2. Retaining users is even more important than acquisition
In the IABM interview, Marta further points out that the pandemic brought about a shift in focus, with more video providers paying attention to retaining existing users. With so many video services available and consumers perhaps paying more attention to monthly spend than ever before, it is important to look after your subscribers and give them a reason to stay.
Marta comments that each video service has to find its own niche and directly reach users with high customer lifetime value. There is no value in spending lots of money acquiring users that won’t be the right audience for your service and will likely leave shortly after subscribing.
3. Data is key but needs to be applied well
Being able to reach that right audience comes down to having the right data and using it well. As Mrugesh explains, data provides OTT providers with business intelligence to make informed decisions about content. However, both Mrugesh and Marta agree that the data needs to be applied and analyzed in the right way in order to increase engagement and reduce churn. Marta also highlights the importance of having a strategy in place for effectively segmenting your audience. Once again, the survey commissioned by Accedo supports this as only 27% of video providers say that they are collecting metrics that demonstrate how changes to the user experiences impact usage. The same survey also shows that of those who do collect data,only 24% use it to influence the future roadmap of their product.
4. The future is personal
Pushing personalized content is of course nothing new. However, both Marta and Mrugesh believe that we will start to see more personalization of the entire user experience. The way in which different people want to engage with video services depends on a number of factors. Understanding those, and segmenting the audience accordingly, means that you can create something bespoke and highly relevant for each user. This will improve the content discovery journey and deliver a much more personalized experience.
By adding content that goes beyond just video, service providers can take even further. The potential for providers is to create a truly unique and personalized digital hub for subscribers that puts video at the heart but pushes other information and content that will be most relevant to those users.
5. Super aggregation will remain relevant but isn’t always the answer
Aggregation, the process of bringing multiple video streaming services under one umbrella, is likely to remain relevant because it provides user-friendly and easy access to a multitude of platforms. This dramatically improves content discovery, something that many consumers struggle with in a sea of OTT services. We are likely to see more of these types of offerings popping up; however, Mrugesh believes that there is still a place for non-aggregated services as long as they deliver something different to larger aggregated services. This could be in the form of niche content that is not widely available elsewhere or by implementing innovative features, such as XR or social watching.
Maximizing the potential of video
While video providers will always be challenged to deliver a service that can engage and retain subscribers, access to good data is a vital first step in the right direction. Equally important is to anchor this in a solid strategy to ensure that the intel collected is used to the best effect. Video providers of every size also need to be continually experimenting and innovating.
Accedo and Jump can help you define the right data strategy for your service. Get in touch to find out more.
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