For companies in the TV, movie, and video marketplace, 2020 brought ample change. While many struggled in our new reality, others thrived. Today, many operators stand at a crossroads, trying to determine the best path forward in their OTT video strategy.
The shifts in the market present chances for companies to capitalize on new trends while the opportunity remains available. This study, about the needs of United States consumers in the OTT video experience, aims to help broadband, pay-TV, and mobile operators understand how to establish a successful position in an evolving market, and how to best leverage current consumer and market trends.
The study phases included:
- Online Consumer Survey: Examine OTT video purchasing, use, and perceptions of engaged OTT consumers.
- Online Community Study: Learn about the service experience, frustrations, desires, and perceptions in consumers own words.
- In-Depth Consumer Interviews: Understand consumer pain points, motivations, and preferred solutions in greater depth.
The study also reveals opportunities for operators to serve customers of streaming services:
Content Selection vs. Discovery
For users, choosing something to watch is a greater challenge than searching. The vast amount of content available to consumers is overwhelming, making it difficult for consumers to make a decision. In fact, the terms “overwhelming”, “difficult”, and “give up” often arose among study participants in discussions about content discovery. Users report being frustrated in choosing which show or movie to watch and spending a significant amount of time assessing options.
Consumers see personalized recommendations as helpful, but only if they are accurate and help users narrow their selections to a reasonable set. Study participants commented that recommendation engines for some services were unhelpful, promoting service-prioritized content rather than what users wanted to watch. Other search experiences, including Amazon Channels and Google TV, return results that are a mix of content included in the subscription and additional content that requires additional fees, which is frustrating for consumers seeking easier selection decisions.
An All-In-One-Place Experience
An overarching theme is unification – bringing as many aspects of streaming together as possible into one centralized experience. Many study participants repeated this theme, indicating that it would positively affect the experience and change their usage and purchasing behavior.
Presently, consumers are forced into multiple siloed experiences. They want one spot for all enabling aspects of the experience - service evaluation, purchasing and payment, content discovery and selection, credential management, trials, and account management.
New Types of Bundles
Study participants expressed interest in new types of streaming service bundles and bundling-related business models. Service providers including Verizon, Disney+, and Hulu have noted success in bundling video services with each other, with music streaming apps, or mobile services.
Several key factors affect the appeal of bundling programs. Consumers generally expect some type of benefit, such as discounting or a unified experience, in choosing to use a bundle. Without some benefit, they see little advantage over subscribing directly to the streaming service. The services available and the content within those services must be appealing. Few consumers will bundle unwanted services with popular ones just to get a discount.