For those who preach “content is king,” there’s never been a more exciting time, with the continued growth of companies in OTT services, including all the new skinny bundles and niche OTT platforms. And for audiences the good news is that you can pretty much watch whatever content you want. The bad news is the experience to find it. With so many OTT offerings, packaged and offered in so many different ways, content discovery is the next big challenge for the OTT market.
For the cord-cutters, cord-nevers and cord-forevers, one still common thread is that customers are given a plethora of choice in content and need to be given a reason to engage with that content. And with the TV market producing more shows than ever before, and with the proliferation of niche services and aggregators across services, how will customers find and engage with new content? The argument exists that content discovery will be ruled by the feed, and that the mobile-first feed is ruled by an oligopoly. Check out related market research from Activate here and industry predictions from Redef here.
There is a lot of conjecture on the future of OTT; we are still in the early days. Will customers want to manage or pay for 10 different OTT subscriptions? What happens with live sports? Will we move back to an aggregated approach after fighting the cable 300-channel model?
However, there are things from my day-to-day activities that give me a sense of what will work for me as a huge consumer of content.
- I love that I get equal amounts of interesting content as I do my friend’s kids’ soccer tournament pictures in my social feed. But when it comes to intriguing content, the trauma from click bait has garnered up issues of trust, and after being burned so many times, the experience has been scarred.
- Recommendations matter. Whether it’s the latest skincare I want to try or the next original series I’m looking to binge, I look to my friends to see what they recommend—e.g., Stranger Things, anyone? The influence my social network has on me is significant, and I can easily be swayed by someone I trust.
- I am not as patient as I used to be. The days of scrolling through the channel guide or searching through catalogs to find something to watch are over for me. I want ease, speed and quality—on every device. Well, don’t we all?
Whether it’s the social feeds, mobile devices, or the smart/connected home and TV, my bet is on the technology that offers the best customer experience in navigating through content, making recommendations based on my influencers (friends, tastemakers), and delivering an ease with as few clicks as possible. Wherever a company sits in the OTT ecosystem—content licensor, distributor, advertiser/brand—there is a keen eye looking for who can help them win in content discovery. To which I say, if content is king, then customer experience is the queen who rules the king.