Is Streaming the Panacea Consumers Think It Is?


Convenience has been the driver of multiple technology-based services that have launched in the past 10 years. Just think about how Uber disrupted the traditional taxi industry. The media industry is not exempt from this demand and streaming takes advantage of technology advances to deliver entertainment in ways that were not previously possible.

Video-on-demand - in the form of VCRs and DVR capabilities - is the predecessor to today’s OTT services. But thanks to improved connectivity and the evolution of the cloud, Netflix spotted an opportunity to entice consumers to subscribe, stream and binge by licensing multiple seasons of fan-favorite series. And, we love it. Then, Netflix added original content and the service became even more compelling – and more content became more convenient.

We all want a ‘frictionless’ experience in subscribing to and interacting with a video service. We don’t want to pay too much. We want a visually appealing user interface. Aside from their content libraries, streaming services have grown in appeal thanks to two key features that give consumers more control and insight.

  • The Flexible Subscription model: unlike the pay TV model, streaming providers offer month-to-month subscriptions. Consumers can binge all they like for as long as they like, then easily cancel their subscription. If the consumer is particularly price sensitive, they can gain discounted pricing by subscribing for 12 months or by accepting advertising. In short, the consumer has control over what content they want to consume and the model by which that will happen.
  • A modern user experience: there are many facets to user experience ranging from how consumers interact with the user interface (UI) to features simplifying content discovery to the service successfully streaming content to the subscriber’s device. The UI design for streaming services focus on content, not schedule. It allows providers to define categories of content based on overall and individual consumption trends.

However, this does not mean that streaming has all the answers. A Deloitte 2019 report indicates:

  • 47% of those surveyed, in the U.S., expressed frustration with juggling multiple subscriptions to access the content they want.
  • 57% say they are frustrated when content vanishes because rights to their favorite shows have expired.

As media conglomerates seek to capitalize on direct relationships with streaming-crazed consumers, a significant issue is emerging that may frustrate even the most devoted streamer. It’s called fragmentation. This challenge creates unwanted friction and negatively impacts the level of convenience expected by consumers. Why? Because we don’t want to think about where to find or how to watch the content we seek.

The emerging OTT silos are working in opposition to the consumer’s demand for convenience. If it becomes too difficult for consumers to find the content they want, will OTT subscriptions suffer? One answer to this question lies with the pay TV providers. Surprised? Well, they have been aggregating content for decades. There are multiple options for operators to add OTT apps to their services. They become super aggregators of both linear and OTT content – delivering that content to consumers via one TV input and alleviating cord confusion!

The future of TV is all about fulfilling consumer expectations. This means delivering content in both linear and streaming formats. We call this evolution TV X.0 – where video delivery and consumption are driven by consumer expectations. This blog is the second in a series discussing the journey to TV X.0 where the ability to adapt, to changing demands, is the norm.

Peggy Dau
Connecting the Dots in Media Tech