The adage used to be that content was king. The reality is that it’s long since been dethroned. At a time when video assets are largely ubiquitous in their availability and consumer viewing habits have changed beyond all recognition, competition between broadcasters is steeper than ever before. They’re still vying for attention, jostling over engagement figures, and fighting for supremacy on our TV sets and smartphones, much in the same way they’ve always done. But the tools they’re using to wage this battle are starting to change. In 2018, it’s the user experience – not content, nor distribution – that’s become the most significant asset in their arsenal.
Perhaps the strongest driver behind this shift is that viewers don’t want a one-size-fits-all approach to personalisation. It’s always been the case, but now the wealth of OTT services out there that cater for a variety of different niches and requirements shows they’re willing to pay for it. This has left broadcasters in a position where delivering a unique proposition for their audience is no longer just a nice to have – it’s a necessity. They’re in need of something that’ll help them stand out from the crowd and go beyond merely colourfully reflecting their asset library.
So, if it’s largely a level playing field out there, what’s in it for the average viewer? What’s going to push them towards a subscription from operator A over a similarly priced offering from operator B?
The answer lies in how operators address the user experience in a new way. Before we consider what that should look like in reality, though, we need to identify how we ended up here.
The Achilles heel of current streaming services
The majority of streaming services out there currently offer the same experience and design across their suite of apps, regardless of who the viewer is, what their preferences are, or how they’re interacting with the platform. This approach isn’t going to wash in the new experience-centric world we’re heading towards, particularly when you consider how every person using a streaming app has a different intention.
Some will be first-time visitors who are expecting to see what’s available in the content library that’ll encourage them to stick around. Others could be die-hard thriller fans that want a personalised homepage tailored around their genre of choice. And some don’t know why they’re there, and are simply looking for a way out.
Each type of fan has different needs and expectations when it comes to service functionality and design, offering a tremendous opportunity to deliver a highly personalised experience that’ll help drive ARPU and reduce churn.
The battle for customer loyalty
So, what’s the answer? At Massive, we believe it’s in creating a platform that doesn’t treat customers like just another number, where the user experience can be personalised in real-time based on individual preferences and other data points.
For us, the approach is two-pronged. Operators who come out on top will be the ones who fully understand and harness their customer data to deliver tailored user experiences that adapt in real-time based on viewing habits and behaviours.
Secondly, introducing personalisation shouldn’t be at the cost of giving up your brand’s identity entirely to an algorithm. If you’re missing a human element, you’re missing part of your personality that gives the viewer a sense of quality and, ultimately, a reason to pick your offering over the competition.
That’s why we believe empowering marketers and editorial teams, those who know your brand and audience best, to take ownership over your front-end is vital.
Next-level personalisation – to the victor the spoils
The future, then, is putting a next-generation user experience platform at the heart of all this to remove the headache broadcasters face. It’s the antidote to the all-too-common static UX approaches currently on the market that require significant investment in time and money to make changes on a single device, let alone the full suite of apps. Instead, this alternative approach empowers content schedulers, and editorial and marketing teams, to do what they do best – create a unique experience with the tools at their disposal to help keep viewers engaged.
It’s not rocket science, but it is the future of OTT. There’s a growing and pressing need for real-time control over the UI/UX of any content delivery service, putting the power back in the hands of content schedulers and editorial teams. And its platforms like Massive’s AXIS that help broadcasters to make this a reality.
Massive will be showcasing AXIS at NAB (April 9th – 12th). Come find us in the South Hall (Upper), booth SU9005CM. More details here.