When over-the-top (OTT) distribution hit the mainstream, there was speculation about whether it would be the means to an end for the cable industry. The thought was that the diverse array of content, conveniently delivered to viewers on whatever device they had at hand, wherever they wanted to watch and at a nominal price (compared to traditional cable), would spell disaster for the cable industry. Though OTT is disrupting the model of how viewers consume video content, cable providers aren’t experiencing the sense of imminent doom initially thought, but rather those willing to embrace the digital world of TV viewing are more than just learning from OTT, they are building upon lessons-learned for newfound opportunities.
For those cable providers taking a hybrid approach, blending traditional Pay-TV services with OTT offerings, it not only gives consumers the choice of when, where, and how they view, and varied levels of pricing plans, but also creates a distinct advantage over their traditional competitors and pure OTT players. Why? Because they are able to entice consumers with an array of offerings that fit every stage of their lifestyle–from university, to home ownership, to a family household, to retirement. Consumers can have a blend of services suited to their tastes at the time, while providers have new and expanded monetization opportunities with the same customer for years to come.
But offerings alone do not retain customers. In the wake of OTT, providers embracing the digital world have also come to understand that beyond blended viewing packages and payment-level choices, evolved consumer experiences are a priority for ultimate stickiness. Providing the services today’s consumers expect to have…and more…is a must. Live events, audience measurement tools and recommendation engines for intelligent merchandizing approaches, to name a few, provide the individualization consumers crave and give providers new methods to capitalize on those engagements.
And don’t forget the “small stuff” – enhanced digital services such as starting a program from the beginning when joining mid-show, record and watch at a later time, access to content beyond the subscription, and multiple types of payment support (including loyalty, coupon redemption, and others) are just a few more examples of features that lead to customer stickiness with their loyalty and wallet. Self-care is another great OTT best practice. Giving consumers multiple choices of engagement, including how, when and how much interaction is desired is also critical for those providers wanting to keep pace with OTT and stay out in front of their traditional market competitors.
Cable providers that have chosen to embrace OTT offerings in combination with traditional Pay-TV also understand the importance of implementing cloud-based technology for delivering a consolidated, seamless, one-stop-shop subscriber experience for search, content management and billing across each personalized bundle. These new Pay-TV/OTT models, combined with cloud-based technology lay a foundation that captures audiences and their loyalty throughout their viewing lifetime.
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