What We Learned at Streaming Media West
On November 1st and 2nd Streaming Media West, a can’t miss conference for anyone in the online video space, came surfing into Huntington Beach, California. Unreel attended as sponsors with a booth on the expo floor to chat with industry experts and introduce ourselves.
Here’s what we learned about the OTT industry from the event:
1. Simplicity at Sign Up:
Mitigating friction during sign up was a major concern for networks with OTT offerings. Considering that the platforms users are creating accounts on do not lend themselves to typing (think writing your name and address with an Apple TV remote), making account creation simple and quick is essential. If the process requires too much time and effort, a considerable number of people will likely give up. Drop-off right before converting a costumer hurts enough and content owners want to ensure it is never because the barrier of joining their OTT service is too intensive.
Solutions to this problem involve only collecting crucial information, and a clean UI that makes it effortless to create your account.
2. Collect Data Please:
The sign up process can be double-edged sword; there is a strong focus on simplicity however collecting significant data about each costumer has huge upside. Being able to organize users into cohorts based on different criteria is vital to analyzing churn and patching leaks in the retention bucket.
A clear example would be HBO, who understands users signing up for their OTT service around the beginning of a new Game of Thrones season in the Winter will have a very different drop of pattern, and respond differently to marketing than users who subscribe to the service mid-Spring. Having users grouped based on information ranging from when they signed up to gender, age, and interests is invaluable.
Knowing the demographics of costumers may be necessary information to collect upon account creation, but the key is to not forfeit ease of use. Simplifying information input from the users side and only collecting metrics that matter can minimize drop offs and still provide the insights a successful OTT service will need.
3. Monetization is a Numbers Game:
The equation networks with OTT offerings are grappling with is simple. How many views could they accrue if their content was free with ads and what CPM would they receive? That number than needs to be pitted against the optimized number of users who would pay a monthly subscription at some price to maximize profits. There are also other factors to consider, such as reputation and protecting other premium distribution channels, however for most it comes down to the bottom line.
The trend seems to be that unless your content is high-end premium with an already passionate fan base, ads and possibly a freemium model is preferable. The prospect of receiving reoccurring payments from an army of subscribers every month may sound more lucrative than the inconstant revenue stream from ads— it is easier said then done. Unless you are able to shell out a considerable marketing budget, consistently produce premium content on a weekly basis, and can capture your existing fans, ads prove to be the better model.
4. Living for live:
Live video is in right now. Considering Twitter and Facebook’s huge push into live streaming the opportunity is clear to everyone. From networks looking for a way to synch their live cable broadcast to their OTT apps, to creators wanting to provide their fans with live coverage of special events, the capability to deliver content in real time is in high demand. In the expo hall nearly every content owner we spoke with expressed interest in our OTT app’s live video capabilities. The appeal is understandable and it is clearly a necessary tool in any effective OTT arsenal.
Looking for your own OTT Apps?
Here at Unreel we have always had a focus on user data. The OTT apps we power for some of the worlds largest networks are continually gathering information about their users from sign up to every engagement they have with content. The data Unreel provides its partners allows for cohort analysis to understand churn, and user-by-user preferences to make effective recommendations reducing the effects of show dumping.