How to attract and retain loyal OTT subscribers

Kirstin White | Thu Jun 08 2023 | Industry insights



The OTT industry is a fertile, budding ground for media and entertainment players. But that also means it’s highly competitive, with several broadcasters competing for the same set of eyes — and fighting the impact of growing subscription fatigue at the same time. 

Now, more than ever, succeeding as a broadcaster demands building and maintaining customer loyalty to generate: 

  • Continued engagement
  • Positive word-of-mouth marketing
  • Repeat subscriptions
  • Sustainable bottom-line growth for your OTT platform

It’s a lot to take into consideration. 

Five strategies to win the customer loyalty game in the OTT realm

If you feel like you’re running out of ideas to attract and retain loyal OTT subscribers, let’s take a look at some actionable strategies to consider.

1. Craft a compelling OTT content strategy.

The foremost thing to understand as a broadcaster is the importance of delivering high-quality and exclusive content. Bill Gates wasn’t kidding when he wrote ‘Content is King’ in 1996 (27 years ago!). 

OTT viewers primarily subscribe to any platform to stream content. They will remain as customers if, and only if, the content options cater to their diverse preferences and interests. 

For instance, take the case of the Chinese video streaming outfit Tencent Video. Their subscription base dropped by 9% year-on-year to 113 million at the end of March, with revenue from the unit declining by 6%. 

Tencent identified the inability to cater to content needs with delayed content releases as the cause behind this decline. It’s a clear indication of why you need a robust content strategy for continued customer loyalty. 

To ensure a compelling content offering, you can:

  • Curate a mix of content catering to varied genres, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original production.

  • Provide viewers with tailored content suggestions to help them quickly discover content that's relevant to them. Personalization can go a long way in building excellent experiences and, in turn, loyalty.

  • Produce high-quality original content regularly suited to your platform's target group to build a sense of exclusivity. For example, Netflix plans to invest $1.9 billion in local content in the Asia-Pacific region in 2023 to rake in material gains in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Collaborate with content creators, studios, and production houses to diversify your content offerings per your audiences' interests, as there is a limit to the content you can produce yourself.

2. Create a seamless user experience

In the age of instant gratification, delays in loading or streaming experiences with friction aren't greeted well by customers. You’ve probably noticed by now customers are quick to switch boats if you fail to deliver anything below the highest standards.

Constant optimization of your OTT platform's user interface and navigation experience is essential if you haven’t done so already.

To create a seamless user experience, you can:

  • Ensure optimized video streaming quality and load times to deliver the best, friction-free experiences.

  • Invest in a robust technical infrastructure to provide seamless cross-device experiences as users tend to stream across mobile, web, and smart TVs.

  • Provide easy account management and compelling subscription options that users are willing to pay for.


3. Establish strong customer relationships

Acing the customer loyalty game is more than simply offering good content and smooth streaming experiences. 

It’s also about building trust and transparency between you and your subscribers. Showing your commitment to their viewing needs tends to reap rewards in the form of customer loyalty.

To build trust, you can:

  • Deliver exceptional customer support to provide effective resolutions to user queries promptly. Read More: How does Flow Sports use customer insights to improve user experience?

  • Engage users with personalized interactions around new releases, upcoming shows, and exclusive offers based on their preferences and viewing history. Segment your viewers based on demographics, viewing habits, preferences, and interactions on the platform and reach out to them with targeted communications. 

Read More: 5 customer segments that will grow your OTT revenue

  • Encourage subscribers to contribute with user-generated content and use that to build a strong sense of community and ownership to strengthen the relationship. Community contributions include leaving reviews, submitting ratings, co-creating playlists, or even participating in contests. 

    If you recall, HBO made headlines when they promoted one of their upcoming seasons of Game of Thrones with the first-ever crowdsourced comedy roast on social media- #RoastJoffrey. This user-generated campaign earned them 850 million impressions, a finalist spot in the Shorty Awards, a YouTube playlist, and a place as a Giphy — a prime example of the power of leveraging strategic user-generated content on social media.

4. Implement customer loyalty programs and rewards

Rewards and loyalty programs also go a long way in fostering engagement. 

Customers who get access to exclusive perks, discounts, and rewards tend to feel appreciated. This emotional connection encourages loyalty and longer repeat subscription. 

To drive loyalty in the SVOD ecosystem, you can:

  • Introduce tiered subscription levels with increasing benefits and loyalty-based rewards. Provide perks such as early access to content, exclusive bonus features, or discounts on merchandise to higher-tier subscribers.

  • Create a loyalty points system to reward subscribers for different actions such as streaming content or referring friends. Allow point redemptions to unlock coupon-based rewards such as extended free trials, ad-free viewing, or access to premium content.

  • Share exclusive or early content access to special screenings, behind-the-scenes footage, or exclusive interviews with cast and crew.

  • Surprise and delight loyal subscribers with unexpected rewards or perks. Get creative and experiment with techniques such as a coupon campaign to extend their subscription with an additional month if they make a renewal within the same month of their birthdays.

5. Monitor and measure customer loyalty

You know the saying, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. 

If you’re looking for a well-rounded approach, then you need to measure the critical metrics for customer loyalty. Know where you stand with your subscribers at any given time so you’ll know what to improve to earn their continuous loyalty. 

To monitor and measure customer loyalty, you can:

  • Regularly assessing customer satisfaction and feedback through surveys.

  • Study user activity using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools like ChurnIQ to present an accurate snapshot of what's going on with your subscribers. 

    It’s all about proactively identifying customer churn risks so you can plug in tailored retention efforts to boost loyalty. 

    For example, if you notice a subscriber segment with a low engagement rate, consider reaching out with email campaigns containing personalized recommendations to activate them and increase engagement

    Read More: What is ChurnIQ & Why You Need It to Boost Customer Loyalty and Improve Retention

Maximizing success as an OTT broadcaster

Cultivating true customer loyalty is paramount to maximizing your success as an OTT broadcaster. 

Customer loyalty is not a given. It is earned by your efforts to build genuine relations by providing the best content and overall streaming experience. 

Invest in delighting your customers with compelling offers and regularly measure and review your performance in light of industry trends, competition, user feedback, and new market developments. Trust us when we say, it’s worth it!


Are you looking to leverage the power of data to build an army of loyal subscribers?

Explore ChurnIQ dashboard


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