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By Paul Brickel

Director of Product Management, OTT Solutions at Brightcove


How to Maximize OTT Conversion and Reduce Subscriber Churn


OTT service strategy is often focused on extending market reach. In this context, reach equates to attracting new audiences and extending the service to new platforms. While we’ve previously discussed the value and strategy of extending market reach, it’s also worth emphasizing that reach does not necessarily translate into revenue. Reach is an enabler. Maximizing conversion and minimizing churn is what’s critical to sustainable audience and revenue growth.

A direct to consumer strategy is less about "how many devices can I get on?" and more about “how do I maximize conversions and reduce churn?”. This means being on the "right" platforms, not the most and providing a frictionless experience, not creating hurdles in the signup process. This means delivering a "premium" and engaging user experience, not throwing a UI in front of a viewer just because it’s possible. The goal is to reach new audiences and engage in a way that converts them into a customer and more importantly retains them.

Today’s consumers have an ever increasing number of choices for subscription services, but the competition is fierce. According to a recent study by the IBB Consulting Group most SVOD subscribers sign up to more than one service. It is extremely likely that one or more of those services is Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, and we also have to consider premium content providers like Showtime and HBO Now, for you Game of Thrones fans. When fighting to be one of the selected services, unique content with a passionate and loyal following is the winning formula.

Factors to consider

  • How do I want my brand to be experienced?

  • Am I priced right?

  • How do I engage my audience?

  • How do I keep them engaged?

First Impressions

Take a look in the different app stores and compare the many SVOD and AVOD apps there are to choose from. They are most definitely not all the same. Which ones would you want to install? Which ones will you remember? Is the brand experience consistent across all platforms? As UI trends and platform operating systems evolve which of these apps will keep up with the times without the need for another investment across all of the targeted platforms?

The user experience matters. Being compliant with the platform’s user interface guidelines matters. Delivering a consistent brand and navigation experience across all supported platforms makes a big difference in viewer satisfaction. Minimizing friction in the signup and account creation process will drive conversions. Support for in-app purchasing along with universal login across all platforms not only helps to optimize the user acquisition strategy but puts your app in good standing with the app stores which is important when they evaluate apps to promote and feature.

Determining the optimal price point for an OTT Service can be a challenging exercise. As mentioned earlier, reaching and converting your audience to subscribers is increasingly competitive. Consumers want a good value and your OTT service needs to provide a return on your investment. We often see that many SVOD services undervalue their offering. If we revisit the “Paid OTT Video Services” report from the IBB Consulting group we learn that most consumers are willing to pay $5-$10/month for an additional service. This same report informs us that this same price point is the sweet spot for niche content.

Keep in mind that the pricing model is more than just your monthly recurring fee. You want to work with a provider that allows you to offer a trial period as well as coupons or promo codes that enables you to reward loyal viewers or as an incentive for viewers who may not renew.


Providing a good first impression, teasing consumers with a free trial, and offering a good value are the key ingredients in bringing a service to market. Providing an engaging experience will keep them coming back. Keeping content fresh, using social and email campaigns, constantly measuring what is working and what isn’t are critical to keeping viewers engaged and coming back for more. Solutions like Brightcove Social, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager are valuable services for optimizing campaigns and OTT Flow’s application A/B testing will ensure the user experience is keeping viewers engaged.

Managing Churn

Viewers leave when they no longer feel they are receiving good value for a service. Engaging users and providing a frictionless experience helps to build the rapport needed to keep subscribers happy and frequenting the service. Providing viewers with fresh content on a regular cadence sets the expectation that they can expect new and exciting content on a regular basis. Universal access is critical as viewers migrate across platforms. A viewer might start a program in a web browser, transition to a mobile device while in transit, and switch to a connected TV device when they arrive home. The account used to initiate the service should work across all platforms.

A bespoke OTT solution is not the only way to deliver a premium OTT Service. Our customers choose a turnkey solution because they wish to get their service in the marketplace quickly and with a pricing model that allows them to rapidly see a ROI. The viewer's benefit from a consistent user experience across all devices which can all be accessed with the same user account.

The benefits of turnkey do not need to compromise a premium user experience or on the features that allow the service provider to extend their reach, optimize their user acquisition funnel, engage and delight their viewers, and keep them coming back for more.

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