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GUEST ARTICLE: Audience insights empower OTT businesses to gain competitive advantage

India’s OTT streaming market is anticipated to become the sixth largest by 2024.

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Mumbai: India is witnessing a monumental shift in the consumption of entertainment with the emergence of OTT platforms dominating traditional television and big screens. The heightened demand to access quality content conveniently, has led digital video content to rise in popularity. According to a recent report by CII and BCG, between 2019 to 2022, India noticed a growth of only two per cent in the adoption of TV services by households, but a 51 per cent rise in SVoD (subscription video on demand) services, in comparison. Additionally, given the exponential rise in internet access and the rapid developments in online video streaming platforms, India’s OTT streaming market is anticipated to become the sixth largest by 2024, as per the PwC report.

This growth has resulted in tremendous opportunities for all OTT companies in the country, widening the business landscape for OTT players to grab adequate market share/outwit competition. To stay ahead of the curve, companies are increasingly looking for ways to deliver as per consumer’s appetite for entertainment and improve online video viewer growth.

How can businesses identify their best content and uncover actionable audience behaviours across devices and geographies to track customer interest and engagement?

Customer engagement is the primary driving force behind the SVoD ecosystem. SVoD providers in the space are largely emphasising on data to improve the end-user experience by providing recommendations based on customer preferences more effectively. However, companies need a more innovative way to bring their value to the market and set them apart from their competitors. By taking analytics to the next level, businesses can have a greater understanding of audience dynamics and customers’ lifetime value, build more successful personalisation, acquisition, and retention strategies from data.

Another consideration is user experience. This is an important factor in getting viewers to subscribe to an OTT service. This, of course, is taking into account that the content is engaging, and the genre is of interest to the audience being targeted. The user friendliness of the app and its seamless flow needs to be taken into account while building an OTT service. If not, it can become a deterrent for consumers to subscribe, preventing audiences from seeing the curated content.

Unlocking ‘Audience Insights’ to create ‘Measurable Results’

Audience data is necessary to drive revenue and business value for OTT companies, particularly those operating with an SVoD model. By leveraging a robust intelligent video platform, businesses can collect and analyse data from multiple sources in a single, reliable, secure, and scalable platform to produce valuable insights. Bringing these data sources together enables business leaders to make data-driven decisions to optimise content, marketing, and product strategies. When video performance metrics are coupled with the audience insight data, the video works better for the business and for its revenue goals.

With this approach, businesses can unlock new insights to achieve the much-needed edge in an increasingly saturated market. For example, in order to lower customer acquisition costs and churn rates, while maximising investment in content, companies should augment data metrics with content and subscriber insights to drive the following business strategies successfully:

  •  Focus on high lifetime value (LTV) customers - Net-new acquisition costs for OTT companies are high but audience insights can lower acquisition costs by identifying which marketing sources have the highest conversion rate and lowest cost per acquisition.
  •  Engage stalled trialists - Audience data can indicate which subscribers signed up for the service but have yet to stream a video. Such viewer insight can inform automated marketing emails to those viewers, prompting them to watch and engage.
  • Reduce churn of at-risk customers - Businesses can prevent churn by identifying which audience chorts are declining in their engagement and have a high likelihood of cancelling based on behavioural patterns in their viewer history.
  • Increase loyalty - Creating the most value for customers is critical to build loyalty. Businesses can leverage insights for targeted, personalised marketing campaigns to promote relevant  content based on viewer behaviour.
  • Optimise content investment - Content acquisition costs are a huge investment. Audience insights can help understand what content is driving the most subscribers and the most consumption. Businesses can further licence more similar content that bring additional value to its customers.
  • Promote the videos that will drive the most revenue - Using content performance intelligence can direct audiences to the content assets and maximise the revenue achieved through the acquisition of content.

Winning in the era of transformation

Marketers have taken advantage of lots of data points over the years: subscriptions, video views, customer payments, marketing touchpoints, video metadata, marketing channel investment. All of the metrics speak to critical business needs. However, in today’s fast-paced market, having the right data is no longer enough. Businesses need intelligence from that data. They need centralised solutions that not only house that data but translate it into measurable results. With an additional layer of machine learning on top of the data infrastructure, businesses can integrate diverse data sources together and apply advanced analytics to predict customer dynamics and fuel profitable growth.

By aggregating the data, businesses can achieve a comprehensive, 360-degree view of the video performance tied to customer engagement. Aggregated intelligence is thus becoming a critical component for business success. This next evolution of audience and content insights are central to engage customers, monitise content, and prepare OTT businesses to make the most of the changing dynamics in the entertainment industry.

The author is Brightcove managing director - sales, India & SAARC region Subhasish Gupta.

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