Over-the-top (OTT) services remain a disruptive force for many traditional service providers, offering customers alternative outlets for TV, movies and other forms of digital content. Interest in these services has surged in the wake of COVID-19, as millions stay home, looking for new ways to be entertained. Indeed, according to Comscore, the number of households using OTT streaming increased 28% in March 2020 over the previous year.
This may give traditional providers cause for concern, especially with more than half of all streaming activity during that month (56%) coming through dedicated streaming devices. Yet the opportunity remains for service providers and OTTs alike to benefit from the ongoing demand for digital content. Rather than engage in competitive – and sometimes adversarial – activities, it seems logical for these players to explore potential partnerships by offering bundled services to their customers.
Indeed, several service providers and OTTs have made significant moves in adopting this approach. AT&T in Mexico, for instance, has partnered with several OTT providers, including Netflix, Spotify and DIRECTV GO, to deliver more expansive content services. Using Amdocs Media’s MarketONE platform, the operator is today in a far better position to support and manage their OTT partnerships.
T-Mobile has also explored OTT bundles, attaching free Netflix subscriptions to its unlimited family plans through its “Netflix On Us” promotion. More recently, the company partnered with Quibi (also powered by MarketONE) to offer its customers complimentary access to that content platform after it recognized that 85% of video traffic on its network came from the kind of short-form content that Quibi excels at.
Service providers protect their revenue streams
Partnering with OTTs and bundling various services is also a major churn fighter. By offering a one-stop shop for all digital content needs, cord-cutting becomes a far less attractive option. Partnering is also a means to increasing average revenue per user (ARPU), as it allows traditional providers to offer a wide variety of different content platforms – ranging from video to music to gaming – that customers would otherwise find only with a dedicated OTT.
Another point is that partnering with OTTs provides increased access to data related to subscriptions and the user experience, including valuable insights that fuel engagement strategies, enhance user experience and build lasting customer loyalty.
OTTs expand their market footprint
Service providers have something that every OTT wants: a large market footprint. OTTs can therefore find a wider audience and increase brand visibility by partnering with operators who have already built up a presence in various markets. Moreover, it exposes hard-core service provider customers to OTT content that otherwise, they would not have considered subscribing to.
Customers MUST enjoy a better user experience
Benefits notwithstanding, integration challenges can still prevent operators from delivering the excellent user experience customers expect.
User onboarding, for instance, presents several logistical issues that need to be addressed when bundling disparate OTT services. Existing operator identity and order management platforms – in all likelihood – were not designed with such complex setups in mind. In many cases, they are not able to handle the unique workflow requirements associated with seamlessly provisioning third-party OTT services.
Further complicating matters is that traditional providers and OTTs have distinct user onboarding processes. When onboarding workflows are kept separate, customers must start the process with their service provider and then complete it within the OTT app. In addition, customers need to manage multiple login credentials for each platform. This only diminishes the user experience and creates customer friction.
Operators can address these concerns by employing third-party integration solutions that streamline onboarding and facilitate a more seamless user experience. Such solutions enable end-users to sign up for various OTT services with the same level of convenience and ease of use as enrolling directly through the OTT provider.
Bringing service providers and OTTs together with MarketONE
When all parties work together instead of fighting over market share, everybody wins. Yet to realize the full potential, service providers and OTTs must overcome certain logistical obstacles. While integration in particular presents a number of hurdles, a seamless integration solution can help pave the way for success and growth.
With Amdocs Media’s MarketONE simplifying OTT-service provider integration – lowering project costs, streamlining day-to-day management requirements and supporting a better user experience – all parties can bury the hatchet and focus on working together. Download our new eBook to learn more.
About the author: Ian Zeifman leads product marketing for Identity & Commerce, Amdocs Media