Personalization and Engagement in the OTT Space

Personalization and Engagement in the OTT Space, this is the topic our experts from Float Left and Jump discussed in this interesting interview!

Lauren: As you know, engagement is a popular topic in OTT. Providers are always looking for ways to help keep their viewers engaged and interested in their platforms.  What are the common challenges your clients face when wanting to increase engagement and how does personalization play a role? 


Tom: The burden of choice is a real issue within OTT, not only from an app discovery perspective– finding services that consumers are interested in– but once you’re in there, how to find the right content for you if there’s a large library of content.  We believe heavily in fact that personalization is critical for growth in these services.  It reduces the amount of time and friction for consumers to connect with what they are looking for. This is across all industries as well, not just within OTT.  Personalization is a critical aspect of the consumer experience and with so many options it is critical to have that as part of your service. 


Lauren: At Jump you offer a personalization solution.  Can you tell us a little about what it does and how it works and what is its competitive advantage? 


Jerónimo: Personalization is an amazing topic. I agree with Thomas, it is crucial to have a more personalized experience with the end-consumers and people who want entertainment to help them find what they want to watch, it’s as simple as that. In our case, technology-wise and business-wise, when we created the Jump Personalizer (that is our technology for personalization in different industries in media/entertainment– we work in OTT streaming, pay-TV, and gaming) the main challenge is creating a technology that is frictionless. What we have seen in the industry over the past few years is personalization is a huge investment project that at the end uses a lot of intensive resources for moderating and creating a personalization strategy, and really making an impact to increase engagement and viewership. We engineer our personalization technology and create a 100% API-based plugin into user experiences. With the minimum amount of data-points and data-sources about the behavior of the OTT subscribers, we are able to make a personalized experience in just a few days. It’s a huge change, as it’s not just for the big Tier1’s of the worlds with deep pockets, but also the rest of the market. 


Lauren: From the end-user perspective, what are the main benefits of service personalization and how does it affect retention rates? 


Tom: At Float Left our number one objective is improving the customer experience for the end-viewer, our customer’s viewers. That means we have to improve the viewing experience through a smarter and better user-interface and user-experience. We believe that the best user-experience across all industries are personal. The personalization factor makes consumers feel more connected to the brand and at the end of the day that makes the service more sticky, and reduces churn.  That personal connection that the brands have established with the viewers and consumers is key for minimizing churn, and again personalization is at the heart of that. 


Lauren: What’s the average time a media service provider needs to collect their customers data in order to provide efficient service recommendations?  How do those efficient recommendations impact content consumption? 


Jerónimo: I think I will expand in data collection— our recommendation is always collection in real-time.  Real-time doesn’t necessarily mean complexity, sometimes it’s the other way around– it’s a simpler process when you can collect data in the UX, on the player level, and you can do that in real-time.  It’s not necessarily a must that you provide personalization processing in real-time. You can collect data in real-time and depending on user behavior (sometimes user behavior is not changing every second) so you can prepare personalization and recommendations and then alter that at a certain frequency depending on the user behavior. That is something that our technology can balance automatically in a smart way. Depending on how your consumers are behaving, we can refresh recommendations on a daily basis, by hour, by minute, or in real-time. Also, you need to take into account there is a cost-component, so you need to optimize the benefit of the personalization with the minimal cost.  


In terms of the impact, there is huge potential. We have customers that have increased 75-80% consumption using personalization.  I also like to highlight that personalization technology is very coupled with the user experience. It’s very important to define the proper UX that will allow these fantastic, automatic algorithms to really trigger the different use-cases. But if you use [personalization] in a poor user experience– (i.e. not good looking or poor navigation)  it won’t work properly. A combination of good UX and nice technology, plus human intelligence all together makes the magic. It really makes the impact for this 75-80% increased consumption.  It’s these three components that need to be coupled together and this is how we typically work with our customers and our partners. 


Tom: We agree 100% with that, and to your point, that’s why we want to join forces here because we’ve spent 11+ years working on making the end-user experience with the TV platforms as fluid and as frictionless as possible.  But now there’s this other dimension that we need to tap into, to your point, is that data-layer that is ultimately sort of feeding itself. As the users are engaging with the service that has great content, there are so many components that need to come together in harmony to make this be the most effective, but once all of those things are working in harmony, it sort of feeds itself.  As users engage more through a better UI, we’re collecting better and more meaningful data, that data is then serving up more meaningful personal experiences and better recommendations.  This whole ecosystem continues to grow and get better as users engage with it more and more.  That’s really what we believe is the future of OTT services and where they need to go.


Watch the full video here.