As more consumers moved online during the pandemic, demand for streaming services exploded, and competition between providers has never been more intense. Despite the stellar subscriber numbers seen over the past year, growth rates are likely to slow due to a return to pre-Covid behaviors combined with indications that consumers are reaching subscription fatigue.
Today’s consumers have more choices than ever and are now looking beyond the content offering when deciding which services to choose. To stay competitive in the next phase of the streaming wars, service providers must deliver viewing experiences that are not just passively consumed. Now is the time to innovate and further evolve the viewer experience by creating “hyper-personalized” experiences that are tailored to each viewer and are naturally differentiating.
Personalized experiences for every viewer
Everyone consumes content differently and wants to watch on their terms. Viewers are now shifting their focus to the quality of their viewing experience, and the level of personalization plays a big part. Consumer behavior and lifestyle changes have driven the industry to facilitate 1:1 tailored experiences that meet these requirements. As a result, content owners are beginning to offer more personalized content packages and on-demand viewing options, which are only set to increase.
Today’s consumers are incredibly savvy and are always looking for value for money. Offering tailored content packages means that subscribers will get a viewing experience that resonates and truly reflects their interests and preferences. Receiving this personalized viewing experience leads to a much higher engagement rate and increased subscriber retention, building trust and longevity between the provider and the user.
Investing in tools to empower streaming providers
To create these viewing experiences, providers must invest in tools that empower them to offer highly personalized packages. OTT has the unique ability to provide a seamless, customized viewing experience for every viewer through innovation and technological advancements. Users can now access fully personalized streams or virtual linear playlists as soon as they log into their service.
Underlying this new personalized experience is a wealth of data. It’s now possible to generate a manifest for every user that presses play. Content, advertising, and delivery can now be tailored to the habits and preferences of each consumer as a result of having access to much greater insights into customer data.
This information is highly valuable as it provides a holistic end-to-end view of each consumers’ behavior. Having access to this vast amount of data empowers service providers to revolutionize the viewing experience.
Having a platform that supports the viewing experience from end-to-end is an essential requirement to enable personalization. By spanning the entire video lifecycle, service providers can easily leverage the actionable information necessary to deliver high-quality, seamless, personalized video experiences to every viewer on any device.
Reaching the right viewer at the right time
Personalization paired with metadata enrichment maximizes the impact of recommendations and generates unique insights about audience behavior and content value.
This information is vital to inform content purchasing and content creation decisions as it enables broadcasters to know what their audience wants and is most likely to engage with. Reaching viewers with the right types of content at the right time will increase engagement and lead to subscription renewals, mitigating churn.
Opportunity for advertisers to maximize
Personalization goes beyond content and into ads. In addition to building personalized content playlists, broadcasters can use the intimate knowledge of individual viewers’ habits to create highly targeted ads.
This level of personalization isn’t just about the relevance of the ad; it’s also the placement of the ad and its length. It allows service providers to provide next-generation viewing experiences that are much more engaging than anything we’ve seen before. The technology to do this is available now, and it can be done at scale.
The future of video streaming
Today, personalization is more important than ever and will play a massive part in the success or failure of a streaming service. With the current streaming landscape looking uncertain, service providers have the opportunity to engage with viewers in new ways by creating personalized packages of content and ads that genuinely resonate.
Having next-generation personalization tools and programming capabilities should be a top priority for global streaming providers today. In addition to driving the growth of video views and revenue, the capabilities enable the future of video streaming. Providing innovative, personalized viewing experiences based on their location and interests will keep viewers engaged and avoid the possibility of them looking for another service to keep them entertained.
Ariff Sidi is General Manager & Chief Product Officer, Media Platform for Verizon Media
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