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How to Acquire Subscribers for Your OTT Platform?

Ishita Banik Published on : 17 May 2021


Customer acquisition is the process of gaining new customers for your business or converting the existing prospects into new customers. If you own an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform and want to improve your customer acquisition rate, then read on. 

The OTT industry has gained momentum over the past years with the rising number of OTT platforms. There are more than 60 big OTT platforms globally including the leading players such as Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, and Hulu, to name a few. Whether you have just started your OTT channel or want to scale it up further, you must know the customer acquisition strategies. Because, the growth of your OTT business highly depends on the number of customers you gain over a period of time. 

Here we have listed out the customer acquisition strategies for your OTT platform-


1. Exclusive and Relevant Content 

Offering exclusive and relevant content on your OTT platform are equally important. In this digital age, most of the viewers have multiple OTT subscriptions. And your platform needs exclusivity to draw their attention. Also, your customers must be able to find their preferred content both in on-demand and live formats on your platform.

Some tips to make your content interesting-

  • Keep track of the content provided by your competitors and chalk out your own content plan.
  • Try to come up with original shows and series catering to the subscribers of broader demographics.
  • Have a recommendation system or recommendation engine for your OTT platform and recommend relevant content to each subscriber. In that way, they will never lose interest in your products and also, your products will get more word-of-mouth promotions. 

More than 75% of the most-watched original series in the U.S. belong to Netflix.

Nearly 40% click-throughs on Amazon Prime are driven by recommendations.       


2.  Inclusion of Diverse Platforms

Research says, nearly 60% of viewers stream video on their smart TVs while approximately 45% prefer to watch on mobile devices. An OTT platform must offer a user-friendly viewing experience for a wide variety of devices such as mobiles, tabs, connected TVs, laptops, and others. Statistics show that Roku and Fire TV hold nearly 70% of the U.S. streaming media player industry. So, to target the broader audience, your OTT application or streaming platform must be compatible with the leading devices and platforms where the users usually stay active on. 

Diversity of platforms is one of the keys to target a wider range of audience for your OTT store.


3. App Store Optimization

App Store optimization or ASO is similar to search engine optimization (SEO), but for app store. With the rise in usage of smartphones, ASO has become an effective tool to boost the promotion for your OTT platform. Recent statistics says that more than 90% internet users like to access the internet on their smartphones. So, why not utilize this trend for customer acquisition!

For ASO, you need to focus on the following key areas-

  • App Keyword- You should keep your app keyword updated as per the latest trends and user search queries.
  • App Logo- Your App logo must be unique, comprehensible, and eye-catching to draw the attention of the new customers.
  • App Name, Subtitle, and URL- The ASO for your OTT store majorly depends on these fields. The app name, subtitle, and URL for your OTT store should describe your platform and reflect the user search behaviour.
  • Ratings, Reviews, and Downloads- Reviews and ratings play a significant role in building the new customers’ trust. Also, the number of downloads help you create the much needed marketing buzz for your OTT store. For instance, the leading OTT platform Hulu ranks in top 10 in the entertainment category on ios app store with nearly 1.5 M downloads per month on an average. Definitely these catch the attention of its new subscribers.

Google says that nearly half of the apps get discovered through app Stores.


4. On-Platform Ads

Do you know you can sponsor ads for your OTT store on connected TV platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, and others? On-platform ads or OTT advertising is the targeted advertisements on the internet-connected TV sets of the viewers. This can be helpful to drive traffic to your OTT platform, as you are targeting similar audiences. 

Research shows that on-platform ads increase the sign ups nearly two times more than the other ads. 



5. Lucrative Subscription Plans

We are living in an era where more than 60% of the viewers are overflooded with streaming contents. And the majority of your target audience is already subscribed to at least one OTT platform. So, what can make them choose your platform over the others? Apart from the factors discussed above, your subscription model plays a vital role here. To stand out from the crowd, your platform must offer value while still being affordable. The Forbes report states that the subscription-based business market has doubled in the last five years. And you can capitalize on these new opportunities to increase your customer acquisition rate. A lucrative subscription plan includes-

  • Exclusive discounts, coupons, and vouchers
  • Flexible & automated subscription solutions 
  • Robust security
  • Recurring Billing Management
  • Free trial with multiple upgradation plans

And others. You can manage these swiftly by a subscription billing management system.

There are more than 600 Million OTT subscribers worldwide and your subscription plans should be innovative enough to grab the attention.


6. In-App Messaging Campaigns

In-app messaging campaigns have the potential to convert the customers taking trial into your new subscribers. You can run relevant campaigns based on the customer watch history and preferences. For instance, if a user watches action and drama series more than any other genre, you can promote the upcoming series of the same genre through in-app messaging campaigns. This will also enhance the reach of your contents apart from improving your customer acquisition rate.

Research found that the open rates for messages are as high as over 90% compared to nearly 30% for emails.


7. Speeding Up Content Discovery

You must have come across the story feature of Instagram? What if your OTT platform adopts a similar way to highlight the newly released contents? Survey shows that 8 out of 10 newly added products often get undiscovered on your OTT store. So, in order to speed up the content discovery, you can feature those as stories or updates. The featured contents with slider banners and ‘watch now’ buttons on Amazon Prime home page is such an example. 

Survey shows that Over 70% of the OTT viewers prefer content discovery features such as stories, updates, etc. instead of using the search feature.


8. Offering Free Episodes

You can offer the first one or two episodes of a series for free, and keep the remaining episodes accessible to only the paid members. This will invoke the viewers’ interest and there will be higher chances of them taking your subscription.

In March, 2020, HBO offered a few free episodes from ‘Game of Thrones’ and a few other popular shows to draw the attention of new customers.


9. Collaborating with Telecom Operators

Most of the leading OTT platforms are collaborating with the telecom operators to get free access to the latter’s user base. You can consider it too in order to widen your target audience range. The telecom-OTT partnership has become prominent since the past decade. While telecom operators have the pipe to deliver content to the audience, the OTT channels have the content to drive the data consumption. This resulted in a rise in the number of collaborations between OTT platforms and telecom operators. You can opt for such collaboration to acquire more customers for your OTT channel.

In 2018 Netflix and Airtel announced a strategic partnership in India, where Netflix offered free 3 months of subscription to the latter’s postpaid and V-fiber broadband customers.


10. Utilizing the Content Aggregators

Content aggregators such as streaming devices and set top boxes, can be a useful tool to acquire customers for your OTT store if utilized properly. It lets the streamers bring various contents and channels into one interface. This helps the customers in navigating the vast amount of various contents online without getting overwhelmed. You can offer your exclusive OTT content to the subscribers of such content aggregators. This will not only help you acquire customers for your OTT platform, but will reduce the chances of losing customers due to subscription fatigue. Survey found that approximately 70% of the subscribers believe that they have the right number of subscriptions. So, they will be less likely to take another new subscription. But with the help of content aggregators, you can reach out to its subscribers without making them sign up for a new subscription. Furthermore, OTT aggregators offer the users lucrative discounts on bundles of various OTT services, giving them another reason to stay subscribed.

The content and platform aggregator ScreenHits TV launched its app in 2021, which lets the users integrate multiple VOD subscriptions with linear channels.


11. Social Media Marketing

You don’t need heavy investment to promote your OTT platform over social media. Releasing an enticing trailer of the upcoming series on YouTube and other social media such as Facebook and Twitter will do the job. You can also release small clips of your OTT content on IGTV and prompt the viewers to take a paid membership of your OTT service. This will be effective to reach out to the broader range of end users with wider demographics. Almost all the leading OTT players such as Hulu, Hotstar, and Netflix release the trailers before releasing the content over their platforms to create the hype.

Research says that 90 seconds to 3 minutes should be the length of your trailer on an average to capture the attention of the viewers.


Experiment & Innovate

The OTT industry is one of the fast-paced industries of the world. To leverage the new opportunities, always be updated with the current trends, user purchasing patterns, and other variable parameters. Increasing your customer acquisition rate may take a week to even several months which entirely depends on your approach. Being open to experiment and innovate will help your OTT store gain more customers in the long run. 

Muvi Recommendation Engine Alie is there for your help. You can take a 14-day free trial and see the difference it brings to your OTT platform. And you don’t need any credit card for it!

Written by: Ishita Banik

Ishita is a Content Writer with Muvi Marketing Team. Apart from business writing, she is also an acclaimed author of three best seller romantic thriller novels. In 2020, she got featured in The Hindustan Times, a leading news portal as an inspirational Indian author.

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