The growth and development of OTT services, free content, new device and service ecosystems, and even pirated content, are of course impacting the pay-TV business. However, this is not bad news. In fact, this evolution is creating new consumer expectations and disrupting established value chains. This opens the door to more opportunities for pay-TV operators to deliver new services to consumers and grow their customer base. With the barriers between OTT and pay-TV virtually eliminated and with the right strategies in place, pay-TV service providers can unleash significant opportunity in this post-OTT world. 

Consumer expectations of video entertainment are shifting. Viewers are now accustomed to advanced functionalities and features, such as multiscreen, on-demand viewing, greater pricing and packaging flexibility, and perhaps most significantly - personalization. From afterschool children’s programs, to late night action movies, to daytime soaps, demographic and time-based content has always existed to some degree in the TV industry. But in today’s world consumers expect event more from their providers.

Personalize, personalize, personalize

As far as viewers are concerned, the more bespoke programing is to them the better. What’s more, is that this personalized content must be intuitive and easily accessible. After all, as much as we all do it, no one wants to spend time endlessly scrolling through content without finding something to watch. This is where providers are struggling. In fact, Netflix recently stated that even with its recommendation approach, users look at 40-50 tiles on average before finally choosing where to spend their time.

With consumers being exposed to more personalized services in a technology driven world, operators are being challenged to respond or lose out to online TV services, or worse, pirates who can offer access to a huge pool of tailored content. Those that do make the investment to upgrade their architecture and business strategy will have greater opportunities to launch services that enable them to offer personalized solutions to consumers. Naturally an all-IP migration allows for a more fine-tuned one-to-one relationship with the consumer thus addressing changing audience demands.

But what does personalization really mean in the context of TV service provision? We see this as a broad offering that includes a personalized navigation and meaningful journey to the content audiences love. However, personalization is only really achievable if it can be delivered throughout the entire user experience, something that remains a barrier to entry for many service operators.

Operators should look to gain the ability to ingest and make sense of the vast data that can be gleaned from the consumer on a broad range of external sources. Complete analysis of this data can help them better understand how their customers are behaving, how content should be served, when, and on what device. This can then enable advanced services, such as the delivery of more relevant content and advertising to viewers.

Multi-journey UX is the only journey

The problem for pay-TV providers is how to successfully deliver personalized services for every individual subscriber. Some will prefer the EPG, some like apps, while others may want to find content purely based on recommendations or the ever-developing voice search. In partnership with Ampere Analysis, we looked to uncover the new reality of the Pay-TV consumer landscape. The results identified five distinct primary ‘TV Tribes’ across 10 advanced markets across the world. The most valuable ‘TV Tribe’ for operators turned out to be the young, affluent ‘Content Connoisseurs’ who want everything on demand – the content they want – where and when they want it.

Anthony Smith-Chaigneau

However, this particular demographic should not be prioritized to the detriment of other groups. For example, Super Spenders are prepared to spend a lot to get the content they want, but through more traditional bundling options that include service and content stacking. The ideal position for operators, therefore, lies in giving users the choice in how they find and watch content. A one-size-fit-all mentality will only drive away subscribers and encourage churn.

To offer such a personalized service, a powerful strategy is to adopt a multi-journey user experience approach that caters for anyone who could be in front of the TV from toddler to retiree to family groups.

Make personalization profitable

As consumers get exposed to more options for spending their entertainment budgets, service providers are definitely seeing some TV subscribers churn away to other, more nimble services, and even pirate streams. However, by taking a multi-journey approach that offers personalized content with a personalized user experience, alongside quality pay-TV programming, operators can give consumers a unique and attractive offering that improves service stickiness and drives up content monetization.

Personalization is no longer just about delivering a service based on previous viewing habits that has rapidly becoming the standard. It is about understanding the entire customer journey. The way in which users interact with and experience all content and services is a huge opportunity for service providers to grow their subscriber base and give consumers what they want – great content and unmatched service available how they want, when they want, and on whatever device they choose.