S05E06: Game of Streams (Keeping the viewer engaged)
Our Media Solution Specialist, Magnus Svensson, is sharing his reflections on the online streaming industry in this post. This is part of a monthly series so make sure to follow us here if you don’t want to miss an episode.
More and more reports points towards an increased churn for streaming services and that we, in many countries, might have seen the peak of number of streaming services per household. Even though the streaming service churn is less serious than churn in other types of subscription services, it is still something that needs to be addressed.
Many streaming services focus on attracting new subscribers by original content and by acquiring of distribution rights for popular sports. But equally important, and often seems to be forgotten, is how to keep the viewers engaged and stay within your service.
The reason shopping malls are popular for families to spend their weekends is because that families find everything they want, all in one place. If you want to go shopping, watch a movie, go for an exercise, or get something to eat, it is all under the same roof. You can spend the entire day at the mall without the need to leave.
The same strategy and tactics could be applied to streaming. Focus should be on keeping the viewer engaged and to stay within the service as long time as possible. The more time spent in the service per day, the less chance that they will leave the service and cancel their subscription.
Instead of a slate after the popular game, present the user with a documentary connected to the sport. Instead of the (sometimes not related) recommendations after the movie, take me to a companion podcast or a clubhouse type discussion around the movie I just have seen.
Formula One is setting TV ratings records and attracting new fans thanks in large part to “Drive to Survive,” the documentary made by Netflix. At the start of this year’s season ESPN ratings are up 50 percent from the 2020 season and 36 percent from 2019. I am sure that other sports could benefit from nonfiction program and the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” is another brilliant example.
Aim to build your streaming service as a one stop shop for your subscribers and viewer. Build upon your tentpole shows or sports rights and create ways for the fans to stay within the service as big part of their time as possible.
Create or acquire documentaries and miniseries that connects with your original content. Make it possible to discuss around what you just have watched, through a live audio session or chat possibilities. Make it possible to find more information connected to the show or game.
Whatever you do in your service, don’t leave the viewer with a dead-end or slate, as this creates a good opportunity to switch the attention to another service.
Who pick up the cord-cutters?
In the US, the households continue to cancel their cable/satellite subscriptions in a rapid pace, mostly in favor of subscription streaming services, but also trying to find less expensive ways to watch content. The virtual alternatives, or skinny bundles as they sometimes are called, has become quite fat and is no longer the main alternative when cutting the cord. Free ad-funded television services (or FAST) are instead picking up a lot of the previous cable viewers.
In Europe and in the Nordics the cord-cutting is far from the same levels. One reason is the pay-tv fees are much lower than in the US. Another reason, as for example in Sweden, most subscribers are on its basic utility cable packages and the fee is often included in rent paid to the landlord.
One thing is in common across the world when it comes to cord cutting. The early adopters have already abandoned their traditional subscription or has not subscribed at all. But to get most of the people that has grown up with linear TV you need to create something that is similar.
Far from all people have the skills, or interest, to install devices and multiple applications to watch the morning news show or the evening entertainment. The simplicity of just turning on the television cannot be neglected. The lean-back television viewing is far from outdated and could with easy means be recreated with modern technology and become an updated version of traditional TV. The FAST services are so far the answer to this need, but I believe that the content needs to be adjusted for each market to really take off outside of the US.
Use the streaming technology to create an environment where people will recognize their current way of watching television but make it an updated and modern version.
To watch out for the coming months…
Merger and acquisitions will be frequently announced during the coming months, both on the technology vendors side as well as on the streaming service side. We have already seen a couple of large mergers and some smaller and more will come.
Maybe not the coming months, but Streaming Tech Sweden will be back next year. The date for STSWE22 has been set to the 2nd of June so make sure you save the date.
Magnus Svensson is a Media Solution Specialist and partner at Eyevinn Technology. Eyevinn Technology is the leading independent consulting company specializing in video technology and media distribution.