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The User Experience as a Differentiator for Video Services

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By Michael Lantz, CEO Accedo

It’s clear that modern technology allows all video service providers to reach consumers directly via a range of devices for a fraction of the cost of setting up a TV service using traditional broadcast technologies. As a result of this, we’re seeing an abundance of services and content distribution initiative all over the world. 

The trend we at Accedo see from working with hundreds of customers, is that immediately after an initial launch, video providers turn to the question of service differentiation. How should a video service ensure consumer loyalty and, over time, increased and more profitable usage?

The obvious (and very expensive) route is content differentiation. Clearly, this will always be an important element for any video service. By knowing your target audience’s preferences and understanding the content market, it’s possible to create value and a healthy business. However, what I personally find more interesting is what I call “User Experience (UX) Differentiation”. This is encompasses all aspects of a service, including features, user experience, performance, cross-device availability and more. As the market continues to evolve, UX differentiation will become increasingly important.

The whole point of the UX in a video service context is to make it easier for consumers to reach and watch the content they like. This challenge is relatively simple for a standard movies-on-demand service with a few hundred titles and new ones launching monthly. A reasonably simple recommendation engine coupled with a category-based browsing experience would probably solve most consumers’ needs.

However, we see increasing fragmentation of target audiences and the types of video services becoming available adding considerable complexity for video service providers to contend with. Content is updated very often, increasing the need for consumer communication. Consumers behave differently depending on the day of week, time of day or from where they are accessing the service, and different consumer groups interact in different ways within the same services. Last but not least, consumer behaviour has changed significantly over the past ten years, with increased interaction needs and added feature requirements being important for their long-term loyalty to a service.

Accedo is in the business of helping our customers achieve the best possible UX differentiation. Our vision is that, in the future, it will be possible to have a truly dynamic user experience, where it will be possible to adjust the UX, feature wise or even design wise, in real-time for different target groups, different times or even based on different behaviour. This will require a deep knowledge of how consumers behave in the service, and what the business objectives are with the service.

TV channels and pay TV operators typically have a thorough understanding about how to acquire and package content to different consumer groups, but struggle with defining the best user experience for different users. The standard mistake is to think about UI design rather than UX, i.e. how the service looks like rather than how consumers interact with it. A second, less obvious, mistake is to assume that it is possible or even necessary to create one UX to fit all users of a service. Instead, we believe that the winners will be the video services which manage to create and maintain a dynamic, adaptable UX over time and at manageable costs.

Hear more from Michael on March 16 as he presents “The user experience as a source of competitive advantage” at Connected TV World Summit.


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