Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
With the explosive growth of Over the Top (OTT) meaning video delivery over the internet, it is headed towards overtaking traditional linear TV. Increasingly, businesses and individuals are hopping on to the OTT bandwagon.
Let’s say you own rights to a collection of songs from different genres or may be a huge library of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. How do you put them in on-demand format and sell video online?
It may seem unnerving, right!; particularly since there are major players in the streaming space such as Netflix, Apple, Spotify and SoundCloud.
You may wonder where shall your OTT streaming service stand in the face of this competition. Also, the sheer number of factors to consider while thinking of launching a Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) service can be confounding and may seem almost unattainable.
You may be a yoga instructor, a chef, a content producer, a content aggregator, or an individual with unique skills that you would like to promote by selling videos online. Following are some handy tips that could help you start your SVOD business.
1. Focus on content quality as well as quantity: If you have quality content for online consumption, starting your SVOD service might just be right for you. But make sure you have a sizeable library to offer. It’s also important to include content across multiple genres and categories.
2. Ensure you are well equipped: As a content distributor, you need to make sure that your viewers get to access fresh content periodically. Therefore you need to be financially prepared to acquire or offer updated content on a regular basis.
3. Decide wisely between building your own platform v/s choosing a solution provider: You could either build your own OTT platform or opt for a comprehensive platform solution that enables launching your SVOD service instantly. If you were to build your own OTT platform, you need to consider factors such as investing in IT teams to program and develop, to facilitate product support and upgrades, to implement a DRM solution for content protection, and above all in time. Know your strengths.If you have the competency to build the platform on your own, great! If not, be willing to collaborate with a platform solution.That will let you focus on your core competency, which is creating and maintaining your content catalog. So, essentially partner with a platform provider that aligns with your business goals.
4. Choose the right mix of monetization models: When it comes to SVOD, subscription model is the most obvious and preferred revenue model. However, you can also choose from subscription, transactional, and ad-supported model and come up with a smartly bundled revenue plans.Choose an apt mix and go with a hybrid revenue model that is best suited for your business, and that lets you optimize your cash flow with minimal investment.
5. Analyze competition: Analyze competition to understand the kind of content they offer. Keep track of the content they are investing in or acquiring. This lets you identify gaps in content mix, and you would be able to launch niche content and demand a premium.For example, in 2015, Netflix acquired exclusive rights to air the American crime drama series, Narcos. Viewers would subscribe to Netflix only to watch Narcos, because no other OTT platform had a top performing series in this genre. Assess your competitor’s revenue model and strategize your pricing to make compelling offers to your subscribers. Map your content mix with that of your competitor and make sure you limit duplicate content as much as possible.In case of duplicacy, the first mover always has an advantage over others. Unless the content is a classic or a must have, such as Friends, The Godfather series, etc. it’s wiser to not include them in your library.
6. Forecast market condition: OTT has been a fairly dynamic industry and although the market is growing, it can also be volatile. Therefore it’s always better to have a sensing approach towards market conditions. There will be a time, when you’ll consider expanding your SVOD business and diversify into other OTT formats such as audio, video, e-commerce, e-books, etc. Therefore, evaluate a solution based on its ability to assist you in diversification. The solution should essentially be flexible enough to let you build your site on a platform that supports multi-format OTT content.
[Want to launch a hybrid OTT platform! With Muvi you can create a library of audio, video, and physical content and sell them online at a consolidated market place.]
7. Collaborate with a feature rich backend technology: It is important to evaluate these features while launching a SVOD service:
CDN: It essentially helps render content quicker since your content is put at several places at once providing exceptional coverage to your users.For instance, if someone in UK accesses your website hosted in the US, the content on the website is accessed via the local UK PoP. Hence the website is displayed much quicker since web requests and responses don’t have to travel to the other end of the world and back.Including CDN in your SVOD platform would be a smart move since your content would be rendered to your subscribers quicker, resulting in a better viewing experience. This, in turn, will ensure that they continue to subscribe to your SVOD service.
Digital Rights Management (DRM): Having a DRM solution, protects your content from illegitimate replication. This saves you from evading piracy and ensures a smoother revenue stream.
PCI Compliance: Ensure that your platform is PCI compliant. It means that the platform should comply with the requirements designed to ensure that payment credentials are processed, stored, and transmitted in a secure environment.
White labeled platform: A white labeled platform is a one that’s developed by one company but can be used by other companies (marketers) to incorporate their label for branding. That way, you can brand your content using a logo or a proper signage on the platform, even though you do not own it.
8. Support Live Streaming API: Live Streaming is definitely a growing OTT trend that most of the big players have included in their list of offerings. So ensure that you include within your SVOD service, the ability to integrate (API) with live streaming feeds to air traffic intensive content such as live sports or award functions. You may also want to offer your content via live streaming on a periodic basis. For instance, cooking videos can be live streamed on a weekly basis. This is a superb way to promote your subscription based business.
9. Facilitate Binge Watching: Picture this! It’s Friday evening and you are homebound and are wondering what you can watch on TV. It’s a light-bulb moment when you realize you’ve got to catch up on the latest season of House of Cards on Netflix.You spend your entire Friday evening, perhaps running into the wee hours of Saturday binge watching this crazy popular show.
Binge watching has rapidly grown over the past few years.Why not catch up to this craze and offer content for binge watching. If you have an entire season of a popular show, instead of offering individual episodes on a staggered release basis (just like linear TV), why not offer the entire season all at once!
This will let you have subscribers stay logged in for longer period, hence better brand affiliation. In the long run, this will help retain subscribers, and spread a positive word of mouth in favor of your business.
10. Promote your content: It’s a good idea to keep your subscribers engaged with ads. You should promote premium content and upcoming content on your site as an effort to remind your viewers of their favorite shows. This will result in incremental view count for premium videos. Additionally, you could collaborate with big banner content producers such as Sony, Star, or Disney and partner for banner exclusive content, and promote it. This will help you fetch your partners’ fans to subscribing.
Using a free video streaming service such as YouTube as a marketing platform to release trailers and pilot episodes is a good way to pull subscribers onto your SVOD platform.With so many players in the OTT market, as a platform owner, you need to think fundamentally about differentiating your SVOD service from the rest. As mentioned earlier, management, protection, and quality assurance of content should be your utmost priority. In addition to that an effective digital marketing strategy, and a flexible & accommodating platform solution provider will most certainly let you launch your OTT subscription service successfully.
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