How to Stand Out From the OTT Crowd

The over-the-top (OTT) video market continues to surge. OTT revenues are expected to grow from $64 billion in 2017 to $120 billion in 2022, according to new data from Juniper Research.

This growth is fueled primarily by the rise in subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, but the OTT market is in no way homogenous.

To succeed in the OTT space, you need good content, sure — but you also need to think like a tenured digital marketer. You need to develop, test and optimize strategies to drive traffic to your digital properties, increase acquisition rates and continually engage and delight customers so you can improve retention. Let’s take a look at how you can improve your acquisition strategies and stand out in the crowded OTT marketplace.

One Size Does Not Fit All

For starters, you have to understand your niche, your audience and the way they prefer to consume content. For example, if you are a sports publisher, it might make sense to allow fans to pay only for the games they care about, and to charge a premium for high-value content, such as a playoff game. Market research is key.

Regardless of your vertical, you will probably discover that it makes sense to offer multiple consumption and pricing options designed around the preferences of your different customer segments. Perhaps there is one audience type that wants to pay monthly to access some or all of your content, whereas another group is only interested in a specific program and thus prefers a metered option.

As the OTT market becomes increasingly crowded, flexibility is a huge part of remaining competitive. All you need to do is turn on your Roku or Apple TV to see the mind-blowing number of apps people have to choose from. You need a compelling offer that stands out and a pricing model with staying power. You don’t want it to be this binary decision for customers, whether to stay with you or not. If customers don’t like your pricing options, it is easy to go watch something else.

Offering the consumption and pricing models customers prefer should also improve your key performance indicators (KPIs). Here, businesses can borrow best practices from e-commerce. Measure traffic to your digital properties, sign-up rates, engagement and retention. Analyze data by content type, specific program, customer segment and pricing model. Be open to testing different consumption models and making quick, data-backed decisions. For content creators that previously syndicated to other distributors, embracing this much flexibility can be a challenge, but it is paramount.

Digital media publishers need to strike a balance between premium and freemium. If you are a new player trying to break into the market, it makes sense to offer some content for free, especially if you haven’t built any brand recognition. How else will you convince people your content is worth paying for? Just be sure you have a monetization strategy in place, whether that’s selling ads or converting those new customers into paid subscribers. Be sure to monitor user behavior closely and watch out for red flags. For example, are people dropping off when their “free pass” ends? What can you do to get them to convert?

A growing number of publishers are offering a la carte pricing, in which users can pay for a single piece of content. You just want to make sure you are not cannibalizing your own business. You don’t want it to be a race to the bottom. With measurement and analysis, you will determine how to extract the most value from your content.

Whatever You Do, Do It Safely

Data privacy and protection matters, not just so OTT providers can stay compliant in light of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but also so their customers feel comfortable sharing more information. The more data you have access to, the better you can drive personalization and engagement by understanding the type of content, pricing, bundling, memberships and loyalty and reward programs your viewers value most.

Be sure to use a secure payment system and to communicate the security measures you are taking, so your users feel secure. You certainly want to avoid a fine, but security is also about growth. Consider treating all personally identifiable information with the same level of protection used for payment information.

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Digital TV and video industry to exceed $100 billion, study says

The digital TV and video industry, including power-players Netflix and Amazon, is set to be worth $119.2 billion in 2022, up from $64 billion in 2017, according to new figures.

North America and Western Europe are set to dominate the growth in revenues of the “over-the-top” (OTT) providers of digital TV, with China and the Far East not far behind, according to a report by consultancy Juniper. The Americas will take 33.5 percent of revenues, with Europe taking 31.7 percent.

Digital TV players’ budgets are set to dwarf some of their pay-TV competitors’, with Netflix set to spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on content this year, according to its latest earnings. “Game of Thrones” producer HBO spent $2.5 billion in 2017, while Facebook and Apple both said they would spend $1 billion on original content last year.

At the same time, “cord-cutting,” where people cancel their cable TV subscriptions, is likely to be driven by a switch to digital services between 2017 and 2022. “Throughout the period, subscription video-on-demand will gain ground, not only because of new service launches across the globe, but also due to a consumer switch to the idea of ‘skinny bundles’, or slimmed down packages which will, in some cases, mean cable companies’ customers cancel their packages,” Juniper’s report stated.

While Facebook has recently announced changes to its news feed, meaning that content from friends is prioritized over publisher and advertiser content, live video posts are set to increase, which is an opportunity for brands.

“This content will increasingly be of interest to advertisers, especially in view of Facebook’s monthly active user base of over 2 billion people. The company has launched an app and website called Facebook for Creators to help users refine video content and generate viewership,” Juniper’s Lauren Foye said in an emailed statement.

Facebook’s new video tab Watch, which works rather like YouTube, will also generate further ad dollars for the social network.

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Ad-spend on YouTube, Facebook to grow 130% in 5 years

Data from Juniper Research has found that advertising spend on FVoD (Free Video on Demand) content, such as media on YouTube and Facebook, will surge over the next 5 years, reaching $37 billion (€29.9bn) by 2022. This is up from an estimated $16 billion in 2017.

In addition, unique users of such content will reach just under 4.5 billion globally by 2022, as the appetite for free video media continues its expanse.

OTT’s Push Live Content

The research report, Digital TV & Video: Network and OTT Strategies 2017-2022, found that leading FVoD provider YouTube, which sees over 1 billion hours watched per day, will face increasing competition from social media platforms. It observed that the delivery of live video content via social media channels will be one of the growth areas for 2018, as users increase the volume of live broadcast content posted to these platforms. Such examples include Instagram, which has over 800 million monthly active users, and Snapchat which has 178 million daily active users.

Research author Lauren Foye explained: “This content will increasingly be of interest to advertisers, especially in view of Facebook’s monthly active user base of over 2 billion people. The company has launched an app and website ‘Facebook for Creators’ to help users refine video content and generate viewership.”

Juniper found that this will aid growth in content consumption, with data usage from OTT content surpassing 840 Exabytes by 2022, the equivalent of 129 billion hours of 4K streaming.

Pressure from Advertisers

Recent changes to YouTube’s Partner Program means that it will only accept channels with more than 1,000 subscribers, and 4,000 viewing hours acquired across a year, to its shared advertising revenue programme. This change in strategy results from increased advertiser pressure following several high-profile, offensive, video posts by users. Nevertheless, Juniper forecasts YouTube to account for almost a quarter of all FVoD ad spend by 2022.

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eSports content to drive $3.5BN in revenues

A rapid rise in the consumption of eSports and streamed games content to 2021 will almost double revenues from the $1.8 billion forecast for 2017 to $3.5 billion, says Juniper Research.

he market is on a role at the moment with broadcasters rushing to have an eSports offer. Only days ago, South African pay-TV network SuperSport announced that it was launching the GINX esports TV channel in April, while Spanish telcos are increasing their presence in the growing eSports market by exploring new platforms.

The eSports, Let’s Play & Watch Play: Competitive Tournaments & Content Streaming 2017-2021 report found that much of the rise relates to viewers seeking to improve their own gameplay, alongside a dedicated following of individual broadcasters on platforms including Twitch and YouTube. It adds that whilst the subscription model, as seen on platforms such as Twitch, will contribute significant revenues to the industry, it will be advertisers who reap rewards with almost 90% of eSports and ‘let’s play’ viewers — commentary on streams of the playing of videogames — also watching ad-supported casual games streams in 2021.

Juniper advised companies seeking to cash-in on the trend to either work with a streamer who aligns with their values, or closely monitor content which is to be published.

read more here and/or download the report:$3-5-bill