Three OTT service challenges and their solutions!

Keeping service brand front-and-center

For big-name D2C services like Netflix and Amazon, remaining visible to consumers is not a big problem. Most connected TV devices preload the apps and give them a prominent place in the user experience. For smaller providers, their brand could be their biggest asset, according to Arlen Marmel, General Manager of VRV, Ellation:

“I don’t see a lot of people wearing Netflix T-shirts. There are a lot of people wearing Crunchyroll t-shirts, there are a lot of people wearing Formula 1 t-shirts, and other brands they care about deeply. We have to cultivate that. In a pull world, we have to work as diligently as we can to make sure these brands are long-standing and front-and-center for the consumer.”

Video services that identify with a well-defined niche can tap into the passion of the group to help others find the service. Branded merchandise, events, and shareable content are a great way to let the group display their passion and reinforce the value of the service to others in the group.

Short-timer bingeing subscribers

One problem faced by D2C providers is customers that sign up for a free video service, watch all the episodes of a show of interest, and then quit without paying for more than a month or two of service. The behavior is becoming an increasing problem for D2C services. Alexander von Woikowsky, Managing Director of 7TV, a German joint venture between Discovery and Prosiebensat.1, says he leans on multiple business models to help solve the problem:

“With the combination of different business models that we have in our service, we may lose the customer as a subscriber, but our ambition must be to keep him in the universe of our service. We can still keep him in the free world. Then, when we hit the right content for him again, we can upsell him to another pay service.”

In other words, a customer is still a customer even if they aren’t currently paying for service.

Conversions and effective marketing

An effective marketing plan is essential to help people find a D2C service. However, marketing doesn’t end once a consumer signs up for a free trial. What if your conversion rate, the number of people that sign-up compared to the number of people that trial the service, is very low? When I asked Dan Fahy, Vice President of Commercial and Content Distribution, at Viacom what the biggest challenge for D2C services was, he went straight to free-trial conversions and his suggested solution:

“Conversion from trial to paying, which drives your subscriber acquisitions, which goes to your marketing effectiveness. Marketing is a big chunk of your D2C business, and if that’s not effective, it’s a struggle.”

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Four Steps to Successfully Negotiate Rates with Influencers

There’s more hype surrounding YouTube Influencer Marketing than ever. Even though collaborations with creators on social media have driven results, Influencer Marketing is still a young industry with rapidly shifting benchmarks: especially when it comes to compensating creators for the work they do.

At the end of the day, it’s always a negotiation between brand/agency and creator. However, here are some helpful tips that will help you and the influencer you’re building a relationship with leave the negotiation table on good footing:

Step 1: Find a Baseline: Views vs. Reach


First, figure out what you want: do you want to reach, do you want views, or do you want both?

Influencers determine their monetary worth based on their subscriber count or the views they get. Expect to pay about $1,000 USD for every 100,000 subscribers an influencer has on YouTube.

A good rule of thumb to abide by as you do your influencer research is to take a look at how many views on average an influencer’s videos are getting. If you see that views on a creator’s content — on average — represent roughly 20% or more of the total subscriber count — then you can safely assume that their subscribers are real and the content isn’t stale.

Don’t feel any pressure to go big either. Try booking a diverse portfolio of creators and test what works best for your brand. As we’ve seen through hundreds of campaigns on the Grapevine Influencer Marketing platform, micro-influencers yield increased engagement.


If you’re leveraging an Influencer Marketing Platform, you should be able to access insights to metrics such as clicks, click through rates (CTR), cost-per-view (CPV), and more. These are additional tools to help you negotiate for better pricing.

Take a look at the performance of influencers with similar follower counts that work in the same industry and base expectations and benchmarks from there. There is a strong correlation between view count and cost. For example, breaking 100,000 views costs $3,000 USD. Expect to see creators negotiate up based on their views. Likewise, you can use view counts to negotiate down if you need to.

Whether it be views or reach, it really all comes down to how well your targeted influencer can sell. If a video gets 10,000 views but yields 500 conversions, then that’s a success! This is only the beginning of your negotiation process. It’s critical that you use this step as only a baseline for your booking process. The best marketers do their due diligence to ensure that these influencers actually drive a return on your investment.

Step 2: Negotiate Content

Have a clear idea or vision of what kind of content you want the targeted influencer to share. Do you want just a shout out at the beginning of a video or something more integrated? This impacts how much compensation a creator might ask for to promote your campaign, product, or brand. If you need conversions: be sure to equip the creator exclusive (and maybe even generous) offer to help drive more leads.

If you want to build a successful collaboration: give yourself and the creator some time to volley back and forth between ideas to ensure that your content actually resonates. Influencers are busy and the best ones usually have packed content calendars. Build campaigns around a 4-6 week buffer before content actually starts being published. This is especially important to keep in mind if you’re creating campaigns based on holidays or special events.

Step 3: Track and Test

If you thought booking and scheduling content was the end of your negotiation process: you thought wrong! Assign an internal champion on your team to keep close track of the engagement your collaboration is driving with a close eye on clicks and click-through-rate.

If it’s not driving the engagement you need, it might be worth re-negotiating with the influencer, finding someone new, or adjusting your offer/content produced.

Step 4: Collaborate Again

When you work with an influencer you are also building a relationship with someone that could potentially even be a brand ambassador. Think of how some NBA players are either fiercely loyal to Adidas or Nike. That’s all because of the relationships they’ve built with their contacts at those organizations.

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