4 Opportunities to Grow Your SVOD Strategy
How much do you think you know about your audience?
Are you plugged into everything you need to know about your subscribers to retain them and keep them engaged? Enough to re-engage various cohorts and create marketing programs targeted just to them? Enough, even, for you or your executives to make confident decisions about what kind of content to invest in next?
If you are, consider yourself fortunate. And maybe a little lonely. (Even Severance creator Ben Stiller had to attend Comic-Con to learn anything about the people who actually watch his Apple TV+ series.)
At IBC 2022 – where 50 exhibitors and 20 conference sessions focused on this very topic – it became clearer than ever that streaming-content measurement and viewer analytics are becoming increasingly important for subscription services.
Knowing your audience – being so tuned into its viewing habits, preferences, and behaviors that the programming you serve them next feels like it materialized from your analytics crystal ball – is vitally necessary for engaging and retaining subscribers. But it remains an area that’s notoriously difficult to conquer without focusing on the right technology investments.
Here are some other newsworthy topics from IBC that prove media technology is evolving to address the most critical obstacle to SVOD success: keeping your subscribers watching.
Data-Driven, Not Disconnected
In many media businesses, marketing and content teams are dealing with too many disparate, disconnected sources of data across various departments. All the data in the world won’t help with subscriber loyalty, engagement, and retention if each piece is sitting in a different bucket or with different teams in the organization.
Harnessing audience data from across the tech stack, aggregating it in one place, and harmonizing it so the connection points are relevant and causal is the key. Aggregated audience data allows you to:
- See engaged viewer usage trends and identify key audience cohorts to target for messaging
- Explore content titles with a deeper analysis of performance and decision-making around which titles to promote
- Discover content trends such as popular, top, first watched, and even which titles are better at holding the attention of various audiences
- Discern actionable insights to steer trials, promotions, reminders, and new content
Once media businesses can observe the correlations across their workflows, their tech stack, and their content, they can proactively reduce churn, retain subscribers, and inform SVOD strategies.
Audience Experience is Everything
If there’s one thing everyone at IBC 2022 could agree on, it’s that audience experience means something different to everyone – but for media businesses it’s the lifeblood of their success. When your audience grows, your company grows.
For some, it’s the performance of the player. When the viewer clicks “play,” the video must load immediately and start instantly – period. For others, it’s pristine quality, with the stream adapting automatically to the available bandwidth and streaming conditions, as seen in cutting-edge demos of Brightcove’s Context-Aware Encoding and Low Latency at the Ultra HD Forum.
But the considerations we saw on display at the event are expanding to include innovations in personalization, AI-driven recommendations, and even ad relevance.
Scaling Must Be Supported
As media brands add livestreaming to their portfolios, the burden on technology becomes more complex and less predictable. It’s one thing to plan a live event with a fixed number of pay-per-view viewers; it’s quite another to have a news cycle rocked by an urgently breaking story that entire nations want to hear first – for instance, as happened during IBC with the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
From encoding massive amounts of video all the way through the “last mile” deliverability in the viewer’s home, any number of bottlenecks can keep a stream from reaching its destination. Ensuring scalability – enough to power, say, a 2-million spectator live sporting event – will require more than brute force and faith in technology. Rather, according to Brightcove’s SVP of Product Strategy and Marketing, Marty Roberts, in the IBC issue of Digital TV Europe, to achieve scale with rock-solid confidence, “it’s important that a team is in place to resolve any critical issues in real time.”
An important takeaway from several IBC talks was the importance of viewing your subscription business as only one in a portfolio of media offerings. Diversifying your revenue streams into a multi-monetization strategy is a sound way to ensure you reach all facets of your audience.
From ad monetization through the passive “lean-back” experience of FAST, to OTT apps with content curated to your audience’s tastes, to premium transactional offerings and pay-per-view, the way to hook viewers into your brand will be to provide the content they want regardless of how they view it, and the experience they want when they’re viewing it.
Overcoming SVOD Obstacles
Here’s the reality: we saw clearly at IBC 2022 that media businesses are learning that they must use data-driven decisions to know which audiences to reach out to and to devise strategies to nurture longer-lasting viewer loyalty. It’s now clearer than ever that this isn’t just a fad or a passing trend, but for long-term growth and success, subscription media businesses need to crack the audience insights code if they want to compete.