by Gino Galassi, Op-Ed Contributor, September 7, 2016
The digital video market is the holy grail for companies in the broadcasting, cable TV, super platform, over-the-top, and telecom industries. The market is also rife with vexing challenges.
Viewers of digital video are dissatisfied, have difficulty finding relevant content, and have inconsistent viewing experiences. Providers lack insights into customer data to deliver them more personalized services.
The system is flawed – at least for now. And the market is not reaching its potential. To achieve success, the industry has to face the challenges head on.
While growth in viewing streaming digital video continues to be rapid, satisfying viewer experiences continues to fall short. In a nascent market, this is expected. A number of factors cause these unsatisfactory viewer experiences such as automatic insertion of irrelevant or repetitive ads, missing performance of basic features such as video start-up time, complex or irrelevant search mechanisms, complicated application browsers, and constant shuffling of content between varying subscription levels and services. But understanding and addressing them can help content providers win the battle for the viewer.
Difficult And Inconsistent Viewer Experiences
Given the explosion of channels and sources, viewers struggle to find programs they want to watch. Video content is becoming more ubiquitous yet in many ways more elusive to access.
There are a variety of video platforms for streaming content including Amazon, Netflix and even Facebook, along with traditional TV giants such as Comcast. Each employs its own distinct technologies, capabilities, features, applications, and programs. This variety often works against its goals, resulting in an inconsistent, confusing viewing experience. For example, viewers may be able to get live streaming video on Netflix but not on other platforms, or not as quickly, or with the same accuracy.
Insufficient Insights Based on Viewer Data
For content providers, figuring out how to use video data for commercial advantage is a continuing problem. They collect data from their video platforms but have difficulty applying consumer insights to make their businesses more profitable. But whether their business models are subscription, advertising funded or transactional, acting on consumer insights can be key to addressing revenues and increasing investment returns.
Viewers now expect a personalized and relevant experience. That might mean the content provider recommends a new drama series just as a viewer finishes viewing one, or an email that suggests they subscribe to the new sports package, or even a tweet replying to a complaint about buffering during the last episode of a show. Anything less would reduce consumer engagement – and ultimately impact loyalty and churn.
What To Do?
To better meet viewer requirements, digital video providers should develop personal profiles. These create an immersive experience by allowing users to create their own profiles; the users could share those with family and friends and receive tailored recommendations and content feeds based on viewing histories. Providers should also create more relevant ad by providing mechanisms to increase accuracy of targeted advertising to encourage ad viewing and increase viewer satisfaction.
To deliver more relevant content to viewers, digital video providers should consider using unified search. This is a method that enables unified search with category filters to allow customers to find content easily on multiple platforms. Using this search capability, providers can integrate all types of content so viewers can easily locate their favorite content on live, video on demand, and digital video recorders. Providers should also employ machine learning and advanced predictive analytics techniques to provide search results tailored to a viewer’s profile.
Video providers could create a unified experience in which content is accessible across multiple devices using simple navigation features to make the viewer experience more consistent, They could also develop uniform and universal pricing models viewers could buy transactional and subscription video-on-demand assets.
Cross-channel measurements could be taken to improve the quality of insights providers generate about viewers. These measure business performance across all channels by having a 360 view of the consumer to facilitate consistent interactions by using the right reporting and business metrics. Digital video companies could also establish analytics and data leadership by identifying how to build these skills either in a central team or dispersed in the business.
The reality is that the digital video market is complicated, multi-dimensional, far from mature. But when you get to the heart of the matter, this is about a person sitting watching video content on a TV, smartphone, laptop PC or some other device. The questions on everybody’s minds should be: Is this viewer satisfied?” If not, why not? How can we learn more about what this person wants to see, and when, and on what type of device, and for how long?It’s going to take a while to get it right. But it has to happen, for the great potential of this market to be maximized.