Continuous digitalization, improving networking speed, and multifold growth of internet users globally have been the major catalysts for a dramatic spike in the growth of the over-the-top (OTT) video streaming industry recently. According to the recent research by IHS Markit Technology, online streaming service subscriptions are expected to grow from 600 Mn in 2019 to 1.1 Bn by 2021. Another survey by Statista projects worldwide OTT revenue to reach USD 158.84 billion by 2024.
On-demand services have fuelled customer expectations to access the desired content at any time, anywhere, across devices of their choice. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most industries are at a standstill, there is a silver lining for the OTT video streaming industry. With most of us staying at home, without any access to theatres, malls, and other entertainment sources, the OTT industry is witnessing a dramatic demand upsurge. In the current scenario, it won’t be wrong to say that the post-COVID world will see a further increase in customer base and revenue forecasts for the OTT video industry.
Transforming Online Streaming Experiences: Role of Big Data
Rapid digitalization is changing how some of the critical facets of the OTT video industry function. Data now drives content creation, distribution, and recommendation. The traditional Media and Entertainment industry used to take the “trial and error” route to deliver content. However, the digital nature of the OTT industry has made dependence on data, the real game-changer. Conventional approaches to reach out to customers seldom succeed in today’s highly uncertain environments where each customer is unique and demands personalized service delivery.
Engaging content, premium user experience, and personalized content delivery is the perfect formula mix to sustain in the highly competitive OTT video market. Video streaming services using data to understand viewers are better positioned to access insights about the content consumption patterns, network performance, and issues to ace the game of better video service delivery. OTT video service providers have access to a gamut of the user and network data. However, what differentiates a successful OTT player from the others in a highly competitive market is the ability to derive actionable insights from the tremendous volume of available data to improve quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for the consumer. OTT video service providers can maximize this opportunity by leveraging data to:
- Know Viewers Better: Data answers several essential questions about viewers. Who is watching which video? When do users watch videos? Which is the most preferred genre by a user? Are users abandoning any particular type of content? Getting insights into all these questions is imperative to retain viewers.
- Segment Viewers with Precision: Understanding users better helps create specific user-profiles and cater to their needs and requirements with tailor-made pricing and promotion offers.
- Offer a Highly Personalized Content Catalog: Analyzing content-centric viewing patterns reveals the most popular as well as the highly abandoned content. OTT players can leverage such insights to make personalized content recommendations to ensure better user engagement and minimize churn rate.
- Enhance Entertainment Experience Quality: Analyzing location, network, and devise related data helps to proactively discover and address issues that may hamper the viewer’s experience. User device data also helps to optimize service delivery for a better viewing experience.
Big data analytics maximizes the opportunity for OTT players to deliver personalized experiences by determining the right content mix to be delivered to the right audience at the right time.
How OTT Platforms Leverage Big Data Analytics
OTT platforms are increasingly turning towards data analytics for harnessing massive data streams to get valuable insights about content viewing trends and user profiles. Since OTT platforms generate an array of diverse data points such as user demographics, content ratings, user location and device data, search data, and many more, it’s imperative to put all the scattered and siloed data points into context. Data engineering techniques such as Data Lakes, a scalable and agile solution to support ever-growing data, is usually the cornerstone for most OTT players to seamlessly consolidate the huge data for easy data querying and analysis.
Let’s take a look at how key data analytics services help OTT players leverage the power of big data to unlock growth opportunities.
- Data Science and Advanced Analytics
For delivering a personalized user experience, OTT video platforms implement data science techniques and advanced analytics to recommend relevant content, enhance engagement, increase viewership, and reduce audience churn. Applying artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning help to refine the recommendation algorithms by analyzing viewing patterns and content preferences of huge datasets over time. In the current competitive landscape, content discovery is a key differentiator, and AI and advanced analytics help OTT players to execute the intelligent recommendation via dynamic content metadata.
- Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Visualization
Tracking key metrics and KPIs through visual dashboards and interactive reports expedites the overall analysis of user data, network data, content consumption patterns, and subscription data. Applying BI techniques helps to consolidate data trends from across different segments into comprehensive business insights. BI and data visualization simplify data for quick understanding and proactively implement decision making.
The Road Ahead: How Leading OTT Players are Scripting the Future
OTT has definitely transformed the Media and Entertainment industry and the current landscape has paved the way for new players globally. Digital technologies such as Big Data analytics, AI, ML, and more are accelerating the growth and development of OTT platforms, and companies are turning towards these technologies to get a competitive advantage. OTT Pioneers like Netflix, Disney, and Amazon Prime, among others are changing the rules of the game by leveraging big data analytics to produce engaging content, improve QoS and QoE to monetize successfully.
The tremendous growth of platforms like Netflix over a decade is phenomenal. They continually refine their recommendation algorithms, content metadata, and platform UI to ensure highly personalized user experience and increase the lifetime value of a customer.
Therefore, in a hyper-connected digital world, where the online footprint of viewers is growing exponentially, and big data is getting even bigger, intelligent analytics is indispensable to gain valuable insights to foresee customer demands and preferences.