What Are Today’s OTT Consumers Looking For?

Benedicte Guichard | Fri Jul 29 2016 | Industry insights

TVN Play Chile - SVOD service Credit: TVN Play

By now it's safe to say that people are fond of OTT and SVOD services. Life is fast-paced and as consumers, we need something that we have control over as modern life no longer caters to the fusty old ways of yesteryear. But, the way in which OTT has grown, and is expected to grow in such a short period, has taken almost everyone by surprise. In this post, we'll analyze the users preferences when it comes to consuming OTT content. 

Hard and fresh OTT facts

Did you know, Research And Markets projected that OTT TV and video revenues in Canada and the US will soar to $24.39 billion in 2021; up from $2.67 billion in 2010 and $15.39 billion in 2015? A staggering rate of growth.

The North American SVOD market is the most thriving on the planet, with 81.81 million SVOD subscribers (for movie and TV services only) by the end of 2015. The SVOD total is forecast to reach 109.59 million by 2021.

As a result of the continued dominance of OTT and SVOD video, the online rental sector will take a hit, as revenues are expected to sink to $1,744 by 2012, compared to $2,022 in 2010. But what's interesting is that download-to-buy services will not be as severely affected by SVOD as rentals. Download-to-by revenues are set to be $2,505 million in 2021, up from $279 million in 2010 and $1,493 million in 2015.

Ted Leonsis gives a nice breakdown of subscribers share of biggest OTT services and their growth:

But what does today's - and indeed tomorrow's - consumer actually want from their OTT service?

"Original content" versus "technological innovation"

It is said that Netflix has spent more than a whopping  $6 billion on original and exclusive content this year so far - and Amazon Prime, as well as Hulu, aren't far behind.

Although the original content has long been an allure for prospective OTT subscribers (did anyone watch House of Cards or Preacher?), cutting-edge online pay-TV provider Sling has other ideas.

Sling CEO Roger Lynch said, "“I don't think it's going to be exclusive content that's going to drive the differentiation." Rather than gearing the service towards exclusive content, Lynch believes that gaining a varied range of top quality domestic content and focusing on improved interfaces innovation and exceptional functionality will drive the OTT market in the not so distant future.

Ironically, Sling TV has suffered from a few technical glitches but has since developed its service.

Both focusing more on exclusive content and tech savvy advancements have their pros and cons, but either way, it's certainly food for thought.

The importance of the searching and viewing experience

According to research carried out by Evolution Digital, pay-TV subscribers are eager for a new method of access to traditional cable TV channels and popular OTT services; they are essentially craving cable set-top box technology to simplify their searching and viewing experiences. The research also discovered that cable subscribers are growing tired of set-top box rental fees and being press-ganged into programming packages that come complete with channels they simply do not want.

So it seems that both traditional cable subscribers and those who lean more towards cord-cutting are looking for improvements from their search and view experience. This research shows that pricing and user experience are critical to today's consumer and that improvements need to be made in both sectors to keep up with the times.

Interestingly, today's OTT consumers want more choice and flexibility than ever; however, they want a better way in which to enjoy it - and it looks like it could come from a modernised version of the cable box technology that OTT and SVOD services have moved so far away from in recent years.

What do today's OTT consumers want? They demand great content, but they also need a more satisfying user experience. Strike a happy medium and it's only a matter of time before success comes knocking on the door - virtually, of course.

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