Competition and Partnerships intensify
The number of OTT services available to subscribers is continuing to grow. More and more content producers are turning to D2C (Direct to Consumer) models to maximise their revenues and retain control over rights to their catalogues. In the US, the number of video services is now nearly 300.
There’s little doubt that the largest providers, including Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, will be stacked by subscribers as discussed in our previous blog on Service Stacking. But what about the rest of the OTT ecosystem? According to research by Imagen, 17% of consumers believe that eventually there will be too many services to choose from. These providers will need to find new ways to engage and retain subscribers.
One emerging tactic is giving customers the opportunity to subscribe to services as part of their mobile phone contracts, or internet providers. OTT Services are being bundled with technology as well as software. Smart TVs come with Netflix installed as standard. How can OTT providers take advantage of these partnerships?
Partnerships between OTT provider and telco networks, where SVOD services are being bundled with main line or mobile connections, has been steadily increasing since 2016, with more than 600 partnerships of this type. With a greater investment and rollout of the 5G network, comes more opportunities for customers to stream video content.
This model makes sense; mobile network customers are offered discounted subscriptions to OTT services, and use more data as a result. A win-win, for both the mobile network provider, and the OTT provider, particularly as these platforms rely on each other for market growth.
And this growth is predicted to be global. According to a recently published PwC report, India has the fastest-growing OTT market at 28.6% CAGR. Telco partnerships are at the forefront of this growth, with Amazon partnering with Airtel to offer a mobile-based Prime subscription, as well as other Telcos, with more planned. Nearly 75% of users in the south-east Asia region expect to increase or maintain their OTT viewing beyond the pandemic, and the 5G revolution is likely to drive that engagement.
The merger between broadband provider Virgin Media, and mobile carrier O2, provides OTT providers with a tremendous opportunity for customer acquisition. The merger will result in a pool of 46m video, broadband and mobile subscribers in the UK, with a combined revenue of £11bn. O2 have previously partnered with Disney+, and other services are likely to be monitoring this merger closely for partnership opportunities.
While partnerships with telcos are gaining pace, distribution platforms are finding value in bundling multiple OTT services together. In recent research by Imagen, 29% of UK consumers would be more likely to subscribe to streaming platforms if they were bundled. There are several advantages to distribution platforms as well.
Cost – Subscribers enjoy lower bundle prices than if they had subscribed separately. This increases the perceived value of the distribution service. This model sacrifices ARPU for the OTT services, but can mean higher CLTV and lower acquisition costs.
Centralised Data – Telcos are better positioned to gather the streaming data of subscribers. This in turn, leads to better metadata aggregation and more reliable information that can be shared with OTT partners.
Scale – OTT providers that cooperate, as opposed to compete, can share the benefits of that partnership. This is particularly helpful for services where the content is complementary, but does not clash (different sports channels, or channels that create factual content such as history, current events, or sciences). Growth on one partner benefits the rest.
Partnering with mobile carriers and ISPs is not new, but it is a strong tactic in getting services in front of potential customers. It could be particularly powerful when regional OTT services work with the region’s providers.
Where this is not possible, it is worth considering forming partnerships with complimentary OTT services. Service bundles have a solid chance of reaching an untapped audience of potential customers who see multiple subscriptions as poor value.
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