Despite the current macroeconomic climate, the OTT industry is forecasted to keep growing in the coming years, reaching a new peak of 4.2 billion users by 2027, according to research firm Statista. In this rapidly evolving market, OTT services must constantly transform and adapt in order to gain a competitive advantage and ensure business sustainability in the long term.
It goes without saying that the strategy employed by OTT service providers needs to evolve continuously, with each stage bringing a new set of action plans and approaches. When your streaming service has been up and running for a while and has established a decent subscription base with stable revenue streams, you may want to consider an expansion strategy for your OTT business plan.
So how do you get your OTT service ready for subscriber growth and expansion? Various elements, such as user experience, technology, scalability and of course your content, all need to be taken into account.
To prepare your OTT service for subscriber growth, it's essential to ensure your technology infrastructure is up to the task. As Digital TV Research predicts, OTT revenues will hit $210 billion by 2026, so fortifying your technology infrastructure is crucial. The goal is to anticipate increased bandwidth, storage, and server capacity needs, ensuring scalability and performance.
Platforms like Netflix have showcased the effectiveness of leveraging scalable cloud solutions, particularly Amazon Web Services (AWS), to support their OTT services. The use of AWS and similar cloud infrastructure allows these platforms to efficiently manage the growing demands of increasing subscriber bases. As subscriber numbers rise, the infrastructure can dynamically adjust to handle more data, more users, and increased streaming demands without the need for substantial physical infrastructure investments. This adaptability is crucial for OTT platforms, ensuring they can provide uninterrupted, high-quality service even during peak usage times or rapid growth periods.
As your OTT platform expands its reach and cultivates a larger audience, it becomes crucial to adapt and evolve your content strategy to meet diverse viewer demands.
Venturing into international markets is a strategic move. This might necessitate broadening the scope of your content licensing or incorporating content dubbing and subtitling services. Such adaptations make your content more accessible and appealing to a global audience. Advancements in AI technology have streamlined the process of audio and subtitle translations, making them more efficient than traditional methods.
Moreover, there's a growing trend among successful video services to invest in creating original programming. Netflix's "Stranger Things" is a prime example for this case when original content reverses subscriber decline and drives subscription growth. Producing origoinal content is often done alongside offering licensed content, providing a unique blend that not only distinguishes your service but also tailors it more closely to your audience's preferences. This approach to content strategy not only enhances viewer engagement but also strengthens your brand's identity in a competitive market.
Having a great content library is great but it won’t get you far if you are failing to deliver an engaging and seamless user experience, since poor UX can lead to viewers feeling frustrated and abandoning a platform. Keeping user satisfaction in mind, the following elements are some of the things to be considered when building exceptional OTT UX.
In order to harness the full potential of data analytics in support of your OTT service's subscriber growth, you must invest in the right tools. Good analytic platforms will enable you to delve into subscriber behavior and preferences, and to cluster user types in ways that are actionable.
With the right data and effective tools to analyze your data, you can enhance user engagement and retention rates. Moreover, data analytics allows you to identify specific areas within your platform that require improvement, enabling targeted optimization efforts.
Let’s look at Youtube as an example. YouTube's analytics-driven approach enhances the viewer experience with personalized recommendations, but also helps content creators on the platform to understand their audience better, guiding them to produce more engaging and relevant content. Analytics are used to track key metrics like watch time, viewer demographics, and engagement rates (likes, comments, shares), which are critical for predicting trends, identifying successful content, and reducing churn. This data-driven strategy enables YouTube to continually refine its service, offering a personalized experience to each user, and maintaining its position as a leader in the video streaming industry.
As your audience grows, so do your options around how you want to monetize your content. Begin by assessing whether your existing strategy is yielding the desired results or if a change is warranted to stimulate growth. This evaluation should involve a comprehensive analysis of market trends, understanding the evolving preferences of your target audience, and staying attuned to user behaviors.
To effectively optimize your OTT platform's monetization strategy, consider and implement a diverse array of models. These might include subscription-based plans (SVOD), ad-supported content (AVOD), transactional options like pay-per-view (TVOD), or even hybrid models that blend these approaches. The key is to align your monetization strategy with different viewer segments and their evolving needs and expectations, while also ensuring it supports the sustainable growth of your OTT platform.
This could also mean adopting different strategies for different markets, knowing that viewer behaviors and preferences can vary significantly across regions. For example, in markets like the United States and Canada, where viewers are accustomed to subscription services like Netflix and Hulu, a subscription-based model (SVOD) works effectively as audiences here are often willing to pay a premium for uninterrupted, high-quality content. While in the Asia-Pacific region, including countries like India and Indonesia, ad-supported models (AVOD) are popular. Viewers in these markets are often more price-sensitive and may prefer free or lower-cost content that is supported by advertisements.
With more audience, it's likely you’ll need to prepare for an expansion in your customer support needs. SuperOffice reported that 86% of consumers value great customer experience over price - this emphasizes the need for multi-channel support and proactive customer service when it comes to nurturing subscriber growth and improving customer satisfaction.
One of the most important things is to make it easy for users to reach out and get help by providing various ways to contact support, including even social media channels. Responding quickly to their inquiries and swiftly resolving any issues they encounter are highly recommended as this not only builds trust but also creates a positive experience for users.
Your support channels are also a valuable conduit to gather feedback from your users. When subscribers feel heard and see their concerns addressed promptly, they're more likely to recommend your service to others. Like in any other market, word-of-mouth is a powerful engine for growing the customer base in the world of OTT.
As the OTT market expands, a strategic, data-driven approach is essential. Building robust infrastructure, developing a versatile content strategy, ensuring exceptional UX, utilizing advanced analytics, diversifying monetization models, and providing excellent customer support are not just strategies but necessities for sustainable growth. The sophisticated reader should consider these elements as fundamental pillars in their OTT expansion strategy, using them to effectively navigate the complexities of the evolving digital entertainment landscape.