The State of Consumers in the Streaming Wars (and How to Win Them Over)

If you’re an organization that is knee-deep in the streaming wars, the one thing you should be laser-focused on to give yourself an edge over your competition is the very basic thing you seek: consumers.

streaming wars consumers

By now, you’re probably no stranger to the streaming wars raging between old and new video-viewing services. From Netflix, DAZN and Amazon Prime Video to Disney+, Crave and everything in between, the fight for consumers blazes across the media-streaming industry. Which services are best set to win this battle? That answer is still very much unclear

If you’re an organization that is knee-deep in the streaming wars, the one thing you should be laser-focused on to give yourself an edge over your competition is the very basic thing you seek: consumers. 

It may seem obvious, and it is consumers are the foundation of every streaming service. They are the ones who will decide who becomes the top platform, and they are the engine that will allow their preferred services to become even stronger. So if you can get into the consumer’s brain, you will be able to use that to your advantage and stand a fighting chance amidst all the competition in the streaming wars. 

Want to know what consumers are really thinking when it comes to streaming services? Rest assured, because we’ve got the answers.

Streaming Subscription Fatigue is a Very Real Problem For Consumers

In October, a survey by TV Time and United Talent Agency dug into data from over 6,000 respondents in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. The results showed that people are getting overwhelmed by the abundance of subscription services that are either available or launching in the near future. 

While 85% of consumers surveyed in the study are already subscribed to one streaming service, only 42% of them expressed a willingness to pay for an additional one. Also, only 20% were willing to pay for two, and only 4% were willing to pay for three. 

With most consumers unwilling to purchase more than two or three streaming subscriptions at a time, it’s becoming a challenge for people to decide what services are worth paying for. In fact, 70% of those surveyed admitted that they felt there were too many options to choose from. 

By juggling several streaming subscriptions at a time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most consumers feel like subscription costs are getting out of hand. 

Due to all the video-viewing platforms overwhelming consumers, your best bet to succeeding in the streaming wars is to put your audience at the forefront of your business plan. Here are a few ways to do this: 

Prioritize Audience Awareness

With so many streaming platforms available, and so many more set to launch (Disney+, HBO Max, NBCU’s Peacock and Quibi to name a few), educating your audience is crucial to your success. 

Consider this: it used to be fairly simple to find past seasons of Blossom or Dawson’s Creek when there were only a few streaming services, but now the consumer needs to be a diligent search expert to find what they’re looking for. According to Forbes, “awareness is a first-step indicator to whether or not a consumer will subscribe.”

So be sure to clearly communicate and promote why your platform’s features and content library is unique from the countless other streaming services out there. It may seem obvious to you, but consumers are still unaware of many streaming services that are launching soon. 

Optimize Your Platform for Engagement

On its own, content is valuable, but isn’t enough to retain your audience.

Go the extra mile for your subscribers by embedding an immersive and valuable community experience directly on your platform. Use moderated tools like live commenting, live chats as well as ratings and reviews to build and connect that community of like-minded individuals together. Allow your audience to be part of the viewing experience, not just people who lean back and watch. 

By providing different ways to engage with your content and fellow audience members, you can encourage consumers to build loyal habits and lasting, meaningful connections to your platform. 

Know Your Viewers

We can’t stress the importance of your first-party data enough. When it comes to content-streaming services, understanding your consumers will help you to better serve them. And the best way to do so is with data.

Netflix, for instance, is constantly assessing viewer preferences to improve what content it presents. They even have a cultural anthropologist on staff to gain a deeper understanding of their audience. The result is a highly personalized experience that offers viewers an easier time finding shows and movies that interest them. 

Inc., a magazine for small businesses and startups, also reports that 61% of customers are willing to give their information in exchange for personalized experiences. And with the loss of third-party cookies, your best bet is to look to the data available on your own platform. 

So dig into the data from your content and engagement tools to gain insights into your audience’s behavior, and refine the content discovery and viewing experiences. This highlights how important it is for streaming services to have a vibrant and engaged community where their audiences discuss and share their likes, dislikes and real feelings about the content. 

“As content discovery becomes more of a challenge in this environment, we need to better understand viewership patterns across platforms and how to best serve people the right content at the right time,” says Alex von Kroh, the VP of a video data solution company.

The more personal and effortless you can make your consumers’ streaming experience, the more likely they are to be loyal to your platform. The ultimate goal is to make your platform part of their daily life, not just another transactional stop along the way.

If you aren’t focused on your consumers, they won’t be focused on you. 


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Author: Jesse Moeinifar

Founder & CEO of Viafoura, is a serial entrepreneur with multiple successes spanning a range of industries, including real estate, digital media and software. Dedicated to disruption, Jesse is passionate about game-changing ideas and credits his accomplishments to assembling teams of smart individuals committed to solving challenging problems.

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