Launching a global over-the-top (OTT) streaming service can be daunting. There’s so much to consider: content rights, languages, currencies, payment gateways, and more.
Brightcove recently sat down with a panel of experts to uncover the things you should think about if you’re planning an OTT service of your own:
Paolo Cuttorelli, VP APAC, Middle East and Africa at Evergent.Evergent provides an integrated revenue and user management application used by many of the world's leading communication and media companies.
Moustapha Bekheet, VP and Managing Director at WatchiT!. Launched in 2019, WatchiT! is the first SVOD in the Arab world, reaching a global audience of 400 million people from its Egyptian headquarters.
Becca Paoletti, Co-Founder and CEO of CakeWorks. New York City-based video agency CakeWorks helps content creators, media companies, publishers, and startups around the world with challenges like how to monetize effectively.
Here are some of the insights they shared:
On pricing and monetization
Study the market and launch with exclusive or niche content. When you’re faced with the challenge of trying to launch a subscription-based service in a traditionally free-to-air market, focus on offering viewers content they can’t get anywhere else. If viewers are going to pay for content, exclusivity equals value.
Know your audience – and your competition. Get to know your potential audience inside out: Who are they? What are they watching? What are their interests? What platforms are they on today, and how much are they spending? In the US, people are already paying for four to five streaming platforms. Understand the difference between content viewers will pay a premium for versus content that is available for free on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok.
Start lower and offer multiple options. If your technology allows it, offer tiered pricing with a low entry-level option. Then be as flexible as your platform permits. For example, if you have higher-value content, monetize it through a transactional or premium subscription package.
Reduce or remove free trials. A lot of services, like Disney+, Netflix, Curiosity Stream, and just recently, HBOMax, are doing away with them. If you really want to offer a free trial, though, limit it to seven days or less. Some of the discounts and packages our panelists had the most success with were based on periods of six months or a year. That way, you know you have a viewer who's interested in your content and who's willing to commit, and you're not dealing with marketing to them throughout the duration of a free trial.
Preview content. Free episodes are a smart alternative to free trials. Someone can watch one episode of a series, and if they like it, they can subscribe for the rest.
On going global
Make the entire experience as easy as possible. Going global introduces so many potential hurdles into the viewing experience, from whether content is available in a particular region to the currencies and payment options your platform will accept. From a customer’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than going through the entire process of finding a show they want to watch and getting ready to pay, only to find at the last moment that the content isn’t available in their region, or they can’t use the credit card they were intending to pay with. You want to make things as easy as possible for them, so put any critical information that may impact their ability to enjoy your content at the beginning of the process, not at the end.
When they’re ready to pay, meet customers on their terms. Payment methods vary greatly from region to region. In Asia, for example, customers expect to be able to pay for a streaming service with a bank transfer. In developing economies, digital wallets are popular, and in some places, you can piggyback on the relationship a consumer has with their cell phone carrier. You should strive to meet customers on their own terms and give them the opportunity to pay in whichever way works for them.
On building a successful service
Keep costs in balance. Understand your costs for content, marketing, and technology, and make sure they’re in balance. You don't want to have the best platform with every bell and whistle without enough marketing or content to take advantage it. So if you're starting small and you have a small content budget, go small. Put a basic platform together with some baseline marketing strategies that leverage what you can do on social with little to no money.
Understand churn to reduce it. Once you have a customer, it’s vital to keep them. Gain a deep understanding of what they expect, then exceed their expectations. Knowing exactly why viewers leave is the first step in getting them to stay.
Encourage gifting. If someone really loves your content and believes it’s a good value, they’re going to be willing to buy it to give to someone else as a gift. So give them that opportunity. Sharing your service with others is the ultimate endorsement of your content and your pricing. Let your most passionate viewers be ambassadors for your brand.
And remember, if you’re looking to launch an OTT streaming service, we can help.
Brightcove Beacon features an advanced monetization module powered by Evergent that allows your viewers to easily make payments in their local currency and with their preferred payment method – just what you need when your potential audience is the world.