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Retaining Subscribers in the Competitive World of Media Streaming

3-minute read

According to PWC’s Consumer Insights Survey 2020, 36% of people surveyed spent more on entertainment and media during the pandemic. 60% confirmed their media consumption had also increased, in particular relating to streaming services and video. With  the number of people staying home and working remotely,  many people sought to maintain a connection to the outside world using online media as a form of distraction and entertainment. 

Now as people are finding their way between hybrid working, shopping and entertainment experiences, new media consumption trends are emerging.  

According to Grand View Research, the global video streaming market was valued at USD50.11 billion in 2020. Video-on-demand is predicted to reach a value of USD80.83 billion by the end of 2022. What was an exponential growth curve in 2020 is now showing signs of slowing. (Original predictions were figures of USD88 billion by end 2021)

Media companies that actively expanded their offerings to take advantage of the growth potential are now finding it harder to gain and retain subscribers. Add to this increased competition and changing consumption habits. The ability to deliver relevant, engaging and personalized digital experiences to subscribers is critical.

Why customer experience is the key to driving subscriber growth

In an industry where the media and content are relatively similar, the one clear area that media and cable providers can compete on, is the digital customer experience. The experience starts the moment a potential new subscriber is doing research on a service, all the way to selecting the next movie to watch. When subscribers are looking for entertainment they first want to find the services that deliver the content and value they seek.

Media providers need to ensure they provide a frictionless and efficient shopping experience. The goal has to be to help the potential subscriber select the services and options that meet their needs. Once they become a subscriber, media providers need to create experiences that fast track finding viewing material that appeals to them. Recommendations based on previous viewing, latest releases or most popular ratings are a step in the right direction in creating more personalized experiences. But what's more important is learning from how they're navigating online. 

With so much choice available to consumers, service providers need to get innovative if they wish to compete and gain market share. Leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) can help reach more potential subscribers shopping for a new service and then serve up targeted, relevant recommendations once they become a customer. AI-driven experience optimization can learn from user behavior for changes and adapt accordingly, resulting in a continuous optimization of the customer experience. 

How AI-driven experience  optimization can wow customers

The power of AI is that it gives companies the opportunity to experiment with a broad range of ideas and quickly see which of those ideas are getting the best response from real customers. Optimization further evolves by adding to the top performing ideas, removing the low performers and constantly making more changes aimed at improving customer experiences. AI-driven experimentation and personalization is also able to automatically detect user clusters so that experiences can become more targeted based on individualized preferences. This means an optimization has to go beyond simply determining the highest average. Instead it has to serve the best experience to each customer, every time. 

Personalization done differently

While the general trend is towards personalization, there is also a concern about privacy. How much information do companies really need in order to deliver relevant experiences? Without using personally identifiable information (PII), it is possible to serve up more relevant experiences using data such as location, device type, time of day, date, pages visited and more. When combined with more personal data such as demographics, loyalty information, and previous history, media providers can get even more targeted based on identified preferences (driven by AI). The outcome can get media providers much closer to delivering experiences that individual subscribers are looking for.

AI-driven experience optimization has several benefits: It can address security concerns and compliance mandates and enables media providers to retain full control over their customer data. The solution can also incorporate additional data sources over time and as required which can drive more refined insights. As media providers start to leverage more PII, they should use a solution that protects user privacy by leveraging data hashing to pass opaque values. This approach ensures that a security audit will go smoothly and quickly. 

In an increasingly competitive industry, AI-driven experimentation provides a solution that meets the growing expectations for personalized digital experiences. AI starts to add value immediately by increasing the effectiveness of specific promotions and generating lift. This gets even more valuable when combined with manual targeting data based on known trends. It optimizes using ideation at AI-scale to identify the best performing ideas and combinations. The end goal is maximizing the value of each idea and using AI automated targeting optimization to drive down to smaller clusters.

The ability to retain subscribers by delivering personalized experiences will depend on media providers ability to respond to changing consumer preferences. AI-driven experimentation and personalization is the key to keeping pace with changing market trends and ensuring media experiences remain relevant and engaging to consumers.

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