Hot OTT topics for the summer

Summertime is here! We’re living in weird times honestly. Some of us are enjoying a well-deserved vacation for the first time since the whole COVID situation started, yet all the while a war is still ranging in Ukraine… Despite everything that’s going on, I guess work and life continues, as does the world of OTT.

What’s hot and happening right now, which features and topics are being focused on within the apps, and what’s important to pay attention to? These are some of the OTT trends this summer.

Away Together (Watch Parties)

A trend that’s been happening for quite some time now, has of course been the watch parties. Something that really popped up heavily during the height of the lockdowns, they remain an effective tool for keeping people engaged. And more so during the summer! What better than your friends and family still being able to watch that important football match, this time both from your different vacation homes? It remains a very effective tool and is definitely not going anywhere, albeit being used for a different purpose now that most countries have lifted lockdown measures.

One of the companies that has definitely excelled in this functionality, is Sceenic. With over ten watch-party integrations available at clients like BT Sport, LaLiga, YES Network, and Dutch public broadcaster NPO; Sceenic has enabled access to watch parties, often with celebrities and famous sports people, for thousands and millions of users. Their ‘Watch Together’ product is available through different SDKs and and APIs, allowing for integration into many different platforms.

Watch Together from Sceenic, integrated in Dutch public broadcaster NPO

The never-ending trends (Churn, Recommendations and Analytics)

Yes, I know I kind of promised to only talk about summer trends! But honestly, have there ever been other topics that continue to be as important as churn, recommendations and analytics? I’m sure you’ve seen the report that Netflix lost yet another million subscribers, so churn is definitely very much on our minds right now. You might ask yourself though — why are these topics grouped together? Well, if you ask me, they actually all belong in somewhat of the same group. Let me explain.

Churn happens when users don’t find use in your service anymore. That can have many reasons. One of the most important however, is obviously not being able to find the content that they enjoy watching. And how do you show them the content that they love? Recommendations! Being able to present users with the right content is crucial in keeping your users happy. So, how do you do that? You need… data! But not just any data. You need useful data, and even more important, you need to make sense of the data that you’re getting. Enter data analytics. So in reality (reducing) churn, recommendations and analytics operate very closely together.

This trifecta is essentially where 24iQ operates. 24iQ is a standalone solution from 24i that heavily relies on data science and machine learning. By enhancing metadata and being able to use data to personalise the user experience, it gives users the most optimal application layout and displays content that fits their needs the most. 24iQ also offers actionable insights that might further reduce churn, for example by analysing the customer journey in the apps. Being cloud-hosted, 24iQ is a scalable solution that can easily be integrated (average 60 days for live deployment), and is trusted by streaming services with 10m+ active users, so almost guaranteed success.

24iQ data science platform

Advertising on the rise

Something else from Netflix that I’m certain most of you have heard by now, is that they’re coming out with a cheaper AVOD-supported subscriber tier. Ads are definitely not new. If anything, users have been complaining on social media for years that there simply are too many ads. It’s for that reason that Youtube offers ad-free playback with their Premium subscription. It’ll be interesting to see how many users will switch to the Netflix AVOD-supported subscription tier, something we’ll see in 2023 when it comes out.

Did you also start thinking about adding an AVOD-supported subscription tier, or even going the Youtube model with completely standalone AVOD and SVOD models? It’s important to know where to turn to for integrating advertisements into your application. Will you use client-side or server-side ads, do you have a player already capable of playing these types? There are many parties out on the market that can help you integrate advertisements into your workflow, so I’ll refrain from listing them here (but happy to help if you need more information). If you do however already have an interest in comparing video players, you can read all about ad-support in my commercial video player blog series.

Concluding the summer

Let’s not conclude the summer just yet, shall we? I will however end here with the hot topics for now. It’s going to be very interesting to see the next half of the year unfold. One thing that’s for sure, is that watch parties are definitely here to stay. The summertime is an opportune moment to give your users the experience to still watch their favourite live content together, even while on vacation. Combatting churn is also definitely not going anywhere, and if anything, should be one of your main focuses for, well, always! Being able to leverage data and using that to improve your user experience is crucial here. And, finally, ads are here to stay.

The key take away of the trends this summer really is just one, if I’m honest. Picking the right partners for all of your integrations is vital to having success. Whether it’s 24i for recommendations, data analytics and reducing churn; Sceenic for watch parties; and many of the options available for making your ad-workflow a success. Do it together with great partners, find the expertise and experience, and use it to the fullest.

Wishing you a happy (rest of your) summer!

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