In 2021 –as the global pandemic draws out, with continuing limitations on cinemas and live entertainment events, and people around the world again spending their free time sheltering at home– streaming and home entertainment services are having another year of exponential growth.
Following in the footsteps of media giants Netflix, Amazon, Disney + o Apple +, the next batch of major content providers have seized this window of opportunity to launch their own OTT platforms, partly to offset losses at the box office they have suffered due to the pandemic.
Companies like Warner Bros., Paramount+, HBO Plus, NBCUniversal Peacock, are beginning their own direct-to-consumer streaming services, hoping for a coveted slot in consumers’ daily entertainment agenda.
The purpose of this article is not so much to analyze the Streaming Wars, which already gets a lot of attention in the media and on social networks, but rather to look beyond and explain how a potent Video and Big Data strategy can help companies substantially increase their revenues.
Let’s begin with a series of important facts:
- In 2020, video consumption constituted 80% of all internet traffic.
- Video streaming services grew 200% in 2020
- Live events streaming increased 400%
- With the rise in telecommuting, most companies relied on videoconferencing for their internal meetings and for meetings with clients; as a result, videoconferencing services such as Zoom saw their activity multiply by ten.
Given these facts, companies these days must have well-defined video strategies within the framework of their digital transformation process, and these must go hand-in-hand with a strong data strategy.
Now let’s have a look at some of the current market trends in video and streaming, where services have the most potential for growth in the next few years.
We’re seeing how several major sports corporations with big budgets have successfully launched their own OTT services; companies like Dazn, Bein Sports, NBA, MLB, Laliga and NBC Sports, which normally sell exclusive rights to live sports events. In this category we also put content aggregators such as Comcast, Telefónica and AT&T, who buy these rights to broadcast the events exclusively on their IPTV, Cable or OTT platforms, as a differential added value over their competitors.
But this is just a beginning for sports streaming. Until now, it has really been only the companies that have the financial muscle to purchase the rights to major sports events and make them available to their users that have launched these kinds of services with OTT technology.
What OTT offers, however, is the possibility to create video applications for different types of devices at a much more affordable price than with other technologies, and consequently, it broadens the range of companies that can launch this type of service. The question therefore becomes more about how to acquire the content, and what business options these companies have within their means.
So, this should make you think about the possibilities of the practically unlimited array of sports and events that can be broadcast and have an audience that wants to see them, is willing to pay, but doesn’t have a way to access this content except through this type of application.
Sports like volleyball, surf, skating, swimming, handball and many more that are not as massive as soccer and basketball can find a very suitable distribution channel through OTT streaming.
When it comes to niche content, again, the options multiply very quickly and go into all kinds of subject matter and content, including religion, music, fashion and trends, LGTBI, independent film, Manga, classics, documentary… and on and on; opening the door to unlimited cross-content services and options that will interest people with very different backgrounds, nationalities and tastes.
For niche content, OTT is once more an unbeatable option to reach the audience you want, in the simplest manner, at the right time and on the right device, with a business model that becomes more interesting as time goes on.
Live events of any kind:
Another trend that took off with the pandemic and seems to be here to stay is the broadcasting of live events to any place and device through OTT.
But rather than look at major sporting events such as the World Cup, Olympic Games or NBA playoffs, let’s consider events that are closer to home but could definitely have hundreds of thousands of followers and lots of interest around the world.
Events such as the Carnaval in Rio, the running of the bulls in Spain, the Kentucky Derby, Sunday mass in Vatican square, a surfing championship, a concert or any other live event that could be of interest to people and fans anywhere around the planet.
Lots of new brands and companies are working on clustering live events and streaming them on OTT, and this trend may see some important growth in the coming years, in a push to get all types of events to reach any individual across the globe interested in viewing it through live streaming on the internet.
At present, and for all the reasons mentioned above, any company that has a recognizable brand should have embarked on the process of digital transformation if it wants to prosper in a somewhat unforeseeable but 100% digital age and compete in this highly competitive and dynamic environment.
One of the pillars of that transformation is the use of video in its multiple facets: to communicate with users, for customer care, video tutorials, and to generate all types of content and marketing materials for its consumers, as it has been well-proven as an effective communication tool.
A second pillar within this transformation is data capture and its effective application to successfully manage the business.
There are currently many established video aggregation platforms. Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok and other social networks are being used by companies to communicate with their followers and send promotional messages, but not all these companies are creating their own OTT platforms, which could have big advantages for understanding and communicating with their customers.
What advantages are we talking about?
- Interaction with the consumer within your own environment, with your image and brand and the security of knowing it is a friendly and protected environment.
- The ability to establish a direct channel of communication with the user or consumer, allowing you to send notifications, updates, satisfaction surveys, direct customer care, and overall provide a more personalized attention.
- Most of all, the ability to collect data directly from your consumers. And here we are referring not so much to the personal information they are willing to share with you, but more importantly to behavioral data, which allows you to better understand their needs and give them added value when you interact with them in any area of the business.
Now, having seen the various upsides to launching your own OTT service within the digital transformation process we’ve been talking about…
How can you take advantage of a good data strategy to achieve your objectives?
We’re obviously all very familiar with companies such as Amazon, Google, and Netflix, and how they’ve become leaders in their fields, thanks to effective data use, which has set them apart from their competitors and is the main reason for their success.
Cloud technology, cost reduction in data processing and storage and other advances in the world of Big Data now means that you don’t have to be a tech giant to get the most out of your data. With the right artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms and the proper data-driven strategy, you can derive real advantages for your company and foster its growth.
Large companies use data analysis to make important decisions. It plays a big role in deciding whether to discontinue a product or service, close a division or conversely, launch new products, identify a new set of consumers, or penetrate countries you had not thought possible, using a good data strategy. This is how Netflix came to creating series it had not originally planned on producing, responding to group of users with very specific tastes.
In this regard, these new trends in the realm of video, and these new services that have been launched (or will be launched in the coming years) can, by maximizing the benefits of data, help businesses where budgets and resources available to invest are somewhat limited, and where the margins are finer in making the right business decisions.
Great! Let’s say now that you want to launch an OTT and use video to improve your business in one or other way. Here are some of the first steps you should be taking to really take advantage of your data.
What types of data and KPIs should you be monitoring, and what can you do with them?
In a nutshell, the three primary objectives of OTT are: customer attraction, retention, and communication.
Customer retention KPIs are relatively easy to monitor, considering that users are already within a controllable environment where you can have insights into their behavior, whether they interact with the platform or not, since in any case this leaves a trail of relevant information.
The KPIs you should be measuring are: active users, average time spent on the application, most-viewed content, devices used, frequency, average consumption time, app navigation, etc.
In addition to this data on user activity, you should also be looking at common behavioral patterns, which can help identify different user clusters that might benefit from different kinds of attention or promotions: heavy users, early adopters, sporadic users, millennials, baby boomers… Groups such as these deserve a more personalized, focused attention, which in turn can increase Customer Lifetime Value, or CLTV, the KPI that many companies are most interested in maximizing.
The use of data to apply towards attracting new customers usually involves setting up similar behavior profiles from within your users. This profile can be substantially refined, not only through socio-demographic data, but also machine-learning classification algorithms that identify patterns of common behavior, and classify them within communities or targets, and which normally shed light on behaviors that traditional marketing doesn’t necessarily detect.
Once these communities are identified, and then analyzed for socio-demographics and behavior, then actions to identify their potential needs can be designed.
The next step is to turn to digital advertising platforms that are easily targeted, such as Google, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, to attract communities that are similar to the ones generating the most value for the service. Once these new users start to arrive on the platform, then the phase of customer retention described above begins.
In our current digital world, communication with users at all levels and at all possible times generates an infinite quantity of valid data to help us improve in many areas.
What follows are some of the types of communication that we can establish with users through an OTT platform:
- Offers and promotional materials sent via notifications, emails and SMS
- Such as product demos, videocalls and tutorials
- Company announcements, training, statements, press releases
- Videocalls, chatbots, forms.
All these forms of communication with the final user have something in common. They all produce an important quantity of information in the form of data, which can be used to establish behavioral patterns and to look at feedback on products and services. Properly managed and structured, this information can help you increase the position of your brand or product, increase sales and improve company KPIs.
With so much information flowing at high speed through the internet, where video has become an unbeatable communication tool and technologies allow us to connect with users on any device, where with every click we leave a trace of who we are, the time is ripe to offer end users something unique, knowing as well that the data such actions generate will be just the thing to make your business triumph ☺