Boosting OTT subscriber numbers with TV data

Boosting OTT subscriber numbers with TV data

Giles Cottle, Tue 29 May 2018

Customer acquisition can be a difficult task for OTT subscription businesses. Most potential customers want to watch decent TV programs (whatever that means to them) and are willing to pay a certain amount to do so. It's also slightly different to some of the other data-related problems we help solve, in that the focus is on customers that you don't have yet - whereas churn, upsell and so on rely on customers - and data - that you do.

Nevertheless, focusing on one's rivals and their services and brand reputation is no less important than concentrating on one's own, especially if they have a more significant share of the market than you do. The data you have on your actual customers can tell you a great deal about acquiring new ones because they too were acquired at some point.

When we work with our customers to improve their customer acquisition, we typically start with a single customer view. This report combines all of the data you have about any customer in a single repository. Perhaps some teams across your business are already using a single-customer-view but are they sharing what they are doing? The data to make a single-customer-view will come from different sources, and many companies are collecting them in different places. Data sources typically include weblogs from Google Analytics, CRM data, smart TV data, set-top-box data, OTT TV data, financial data and data from third-party sources.

All of this data can help you discover why your customers chose your OTT service. Can you identify how many customers chose you rather than a rival? And why did they pick you? Was it recommendations from friends and family? Or better coverage of a particular TV genre? Or better customer service? Or your competitive price? Your advertising campaign? And if so, from where? Terrestrial television? A billboard? Social media? Discovering what has driven actual customers to choose your services offers the solutions to attracting new subscribing. Not all data points can answer all of these questions, but a single customer view will get you as complete an answer as possible. With this in place, we should either a) realize that we don't have the data available to answer these questions, or b), have some understanding of the customers' reasons for subscribing to the OTT service, and start developing strategies that respond better to their needs.

If the former is the case, there is probably still more data that can be found to answer these questions. For instance, integrating what you want to know into the sign-up-process: merely asking the customer why they choose the service when they sign-up can be very revealing. Market research can take this a step further, but it's critical that this information is normalized and put together into the single-customer-view. Asking current customers these questions can be useful, too.

With the latter, it is about understanding what works, and what doesn't. Ideally, this data can be benchmarked against either the industry or previous campaigns. If social media is underperforming, the decision is to either spend less or to change the mix of activity to reflect better what is working. Moreover, looking at competitor analysis to understand why their customer signed up for their services rather than yours can only be helpful in increasing acquisition rates as when you comprehend why some people prefer your rivals, you can take action to try and draw them to signing up to you instead.

Think about scheduling. TV companies wouldn't dream of devising their schedules without reference to the likely programming of their rivals. Bringing as much data about customer behavior as possible into concise and up-to-date reports means all aspects of OTT can be tweaked to attract more customers. If only 5% of customers mention your poorly performing sports channels, but 39% enthuse about your Bollywood channel you may decide to abandon your sports coverage and look at new ways of upselling your Bollywood content, such as a premium service for new releases. Or, vice-versa. It's about looking beyond just the TV data to see what the whole picture.

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Dativa is a global consulting firm providing data consulting and engineering services to companies that want to build and implement strategies to put data to work. We work with primary data generators, businesses harvesting their own internal data, data-centric service providers, data brokers, agencies, media buyers and media sellers.

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