As new over-the-top (OTT) media platforms continue to launch, consumers have an endless supply of streaming services to choose from. The abundant content libraries, personalized experiences and inexpensive subscriptions offered by these service providers are persuading more and more people to turn to OTT media for entertainment. 

“OTT streaming video represents a largely incremental audience and a way for brands to [reach new audiences] and engage directly with their target consumers,” states the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in a playbook on video streaming.

And yet, service providers are neck and neck in competing for consumer attention. 

So what if we told you that there’s an extraordinarily simple way to make your platform stand apart from the rest? 

All you need to do is enable social interactions on your platform. That way, your audience members will be able to connect with one another as well as with your brand. 

Don’t believe us? Here’s why social interactions are adding an immeasurable amount of value to video streams.

Improving the Video-Viewing Experience

Just because people are spending more time than ever before streaming videos doesn’t mean that they’ll be loyal to any ordinary OTT platform. Streaming companies are quickly finding that providing top-quality video content isn’t enough to sustain business growth on its own. 

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At the end of the day, video viewers will give their business to companies that offer the best consumer experiences. Allowing viewers to socialize digitally around video content just so happens to be the key to unlocking more long-term subscribers.

“During the pandemic, 38% of consumers surveyed have tried a new digital activity or subscription for the first time,” reads a recent digital media trends report by Deloitte. “The most popular [of these activities] are viewing live streamed events and watching video with others.”

In other words, incorporating a social element into video streams is becoming a popular way to win consumer attention. 

Companies that use social tools to take video-viewing experiences to the next level will help convince consumers to stick around on their platforms in the long run.

The Value of Social Interaction Around Video

When it comes to infusing value into OTT platforms, live chats have a particularly strong appeal to both consumers and streaming companies alike. 

Tools that allow viewers to discuss videos in real time can establish meaningful connections between community members and around your platform’s content. This helps to satisfy the social needs of audiences, increasing their likelihood to remain as dedicated subscribers.

The level of entertainment that social tools can add to the video-viewing experience has also been amplified by the pandemic. 

Frank Pallotta, a media reporter at CNN, sums it up well: “With the pandemic increasing the practice of hosting virtual streaming parties, new social tools are providing not just connection in a time of social distancing but a new yet familiar way to keep consumers engaged and subscribing to services.”Just be sure to have an effective moderation strategy in place to protect your brand’s environment from toxic comments.

A Growing Trend for Streaming Platforms

Some streaming companies have already realized that they can enhance the consumer experience by offering social tools right on their digital properties. 

Netflix, for instance, launched a watch party feature earlier this year, where viewers can sync their videos while chatting together. Hulu has recently launched a similar feature as well.

Sports media companies are also relying on similar chat-based tools to bring people together around live broadcasts. BT Sport, for instance, is allowing video viewers to watch broadcasts of competitions while simultaneously chatting with community members. A Spanish football league known as La Liga is even testing out a feature that offers fans a simulated experience of being in a crowd during broadcasts.

As a result of these social-based experiences, companies are engaging viewers beyond their content simply by activating their communities.

According to Deloitte, some consumers are even using videoconferencing tools to watch OTT content with friends. This means that viewers are actively seeking out tools that allow them to socialize with others alongside video content. 

Leveraging live chats to form watch parties is quickly becoming the norm for OTT companies. The simple act of giving audiences a way to talk while watching content is, after all, highly beneficial to service providers. 

Rather than just allowing consumers to passively watch content, OTT platforms can implement social tools to elevate the video-viewing experience and build brand loyalty.

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