Video: How Can OTT Providers Use Data to Increase Engagement?

Dan Burkhart, CEO, Recurly: The most successful publishers out there have quite sophisticated insights that they keep an eye on daily, frankly, and it relates to, when you think about bundles and curation, a need to understand the intersection between not only price points and plans or bundles that are being offered, but also what happens over time with those bundles that are being offered in terms of, say, a cross sale up sale migration path. It can be churn events, it can be sort of customer decisions that are being made around either intentional or unintentional churn. There's credit card-driven churn as well, where your credit card fails.

We've heard about the Netflix announcement that the EMV chip and PIN replacement impacted their customer churn, so that can be unintentional churn, there can be intentional churn where a customer deliberately comes in and says, "unsubscribe me, I want out", that intersection between all of the various price points and content offerings, the ongoing customer activity and that the continuity of that relationship over time, and those billing events and the kinds of different events that upsell, cross sell, upsell migration path for offerings is really critical to watch.

Again, I'll back way up to my prior life where we would acquire customers that tended to be ten years older on average, just from a demographic profile perspective, so they had very different consumption patterns on eBay, than customers we had acquired say from Yahoo or Google, and those different characteristics of different customer demographic profiles certainly have strong bearing on the kinds of content that they're going to be interested in consuming, and the kinds of content that they're going to be engaged with over time.

Serge Kassardjian, Global Head, Media Apps, Google Play and Android: The number one thing around data and collecting data, is being able to analyze churn. The biggest issue with OTT providers right now is people go in and they binge a whole bunch of content and then they churn out immediately, so there's a lot of questions on, okay, how do we stop that. There are a lot of ways to do it right, the way you're looking at someone like a Hulu right now, who's introducing bundles with Showtime and a Hulu bundle, and now the linear bundle that they're including, providing news services, but the data needs to let you know who are your customers that are going to be churning out most frequently. How do you re-target them even after they've churned out? How do you target them before they're churned out? To make something compelling so that when they finish a season of a TV show, you know that they've finished that season despite of being at any time within the calendar year, so that you can re-target them and keep them on your platform in some kind of way.
I think that's the biggest issue right now, especially with a lot of the big networks that are going from a model that is traditionally been part of the bundle to a new direct to consumer model. How are they figuring out this process of churn? Because they don't have data around it right now. If you go and talk to any of these guys, say, CBS, and you ask them, "What did you do with churn a year ago?", they're just going to throw their hands up and say "we have no idea,” because they never had to deal with it.

Dan Burkhart:                    The most successful publishers out there have quite sophisticated insights that they keep an eye on daily, frankly, and it relates to, when you think about bundles and curation, a need to understand the intersection between not only price points and plans or bundles that are being offered, but also what happens over time with those bundles that are being offered in terms of, say, a cross sale up sale migration path. It can be churn events, it can be sort of customer decisions that are being made around either intentional or unintentional churn. There's credit card-driven churn as well, where your credit card fails.

                                             We've heard about the Netflix announcement that the EMV chip and PIN replacement impacted their customer churn, so that can be unintentional churn, there can be intentional churn where a customer deliberately comes in and says, "unsubscribe me, I want out", that intersection between all of the various price points and content offerings, the ongoing customer activity and that the continuity of that relationship over time, and those billing events and the kinds of different events that upsell, cross sell, upsell migration path for offerings is really critical to watch.

                                             Again, I'll back way up to my prior life where we would acquire customers that tended to be ten years older on average, just from a demographic profile perspective, so they had very different consumption patterns on eBay, than customers we had acquired say from Yahoo or Google, and those different characteristics of different customer demographic profiles certainly have strong bearing on the kinds of content that they're going to be interested in consuming, and the kinds of content that they're going to be engaged with over time.

Serge Kassardjian:            The number one thing around data and collecting data, is being able to analyze churn. The biggest issue with OTT providers right now is people go in and they binge a whole bunch of content and then they churn out immediately, so there's a lot of questions on, okay, how do we stop that. There are a lot of ways to do it right, the way you're looking at someone like a Hulu right now, who's introducing bundles with Showtime and a Hulu bundle, and now the linear bundle that they're including, providing news services, but the data needs to let you know who are your customers that are going to be churning out most frequently. How do you re-target them even after they've churned out? How do you target them before they're churned out? To make something compelling so that when they finish a season of a TV show, you know that they've finished that season despite of being at any time within the calendar year, so that you can re-target them and keep them on your platform in some kind of way.

                                             I think that's the biggest issue right now, especially with a lot of the big networks that are going from a model that is traditionally been part of the bundle to a new direct to consumer model. How are they figuring out this process of churn? Because they don't have data around it right now. If you go and talk to any of these guys, say, CBS, and you ask them, "What did you do with churn a year ago?", they're just going to throw their hands up and say "we have no idea,” because they never had to deal with it. 

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