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Steps to set up a Subscription Monetization Method in the OTT Media Sphere

There is no better way to monetize content in the OTT media sphere, than employing a subscription based model. A subscription based model enables customers who buy in to their content, to establish a relationship with you. They choose to be your audience on an ongoing basis, rather than just being listeners or viewers.

Following an initial setup process, your content follows your audience across whatever devices they choose to use – a multi-device user experience. Several successful companies in the OTT media sphere, like Netflix, and Hotstar among others, have already ventured into a subscription based model of monetization.

Given the quality of content they provide for, in due accordance to customer demand, consumers are willingly buying into the subscription-based content experience. Amazon Prime markets its OTT content as a membership, and not a subscription, and has tremendous growth up late.

Content providers realize that they need a viable way to monetize OTT content, and the most viable strategy, is that of implementing a subscription-based model of monetization.

Why Opt for the Subscription Model?

According to ABI Research, the OTT media services sphere will continue to grow at an astonishing rate, and is set to surge at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10%, through 2022. This in turn will lead to the generation of a turnover of $51.4 Billion.

OTT media service providers are releasing new shows and movies continuously, and are looking to cater to the regional appetite of consumers, and analyse their likes and dislikes to create content that they are looking for. Here is why you should opt for the subscription model today:

  • Predictable Revenue Streams – Consumers that subscribe to your OTT media service, pay for it automatically, and on a regular basis, as per your payment pattern.
  • Less Upfront Commitment for Consumers – There are several OTT media service providers that offer a free trial for a fixed duration of time. They allow their consumers to cancel at any time, making the initial signup phase low-risk for consumers.
  • Price and Promotion Flexibility – You can refine the way you promote and price your service on a continuous basis, to maximize consumer retention and acquisition.
  • Long-Term Relationships with Consumers – Once consumers have subscribed to your service, you have established a long-term relationship with them, as they are unlikely to switch to another service as long as you provide for high-quality content, and cater to an excellent user experience.
  • Control over the Customer Experience – You can build stronger relationships with your consumers by improving the way they access content.

Steps to Create an Effective OTT Strategy

When it comes to creating and establishing an effective OTT media service strategy, you must find a way to set your business apart from others – figure out what makes you unique. Remember, your service must be a worthwhile investment of a consumer’s time, and money. Here are a few key principles that will help guide you through this process:

  • Price your Service in Support of your Business Goals

Pricing and packaging is of the essence, as it is tied to revenue growth through the acquisition of new customers. The process of determining subscription pricing and packaging though, is not as straight forward as it may seem.

You can choose to implement a plethora of different plans, among which a few include pricing by the number of users you expect to buy into your service, and different time periods – monthly, quarterly, or annually. You can also introduce promotional models like free trials, partner offers, or freemium, to catch the eye of potential customers.

You can opt to introduce a special pricing system, in due accordance to related services that your target audience may already be using.

  • Acquire Customers Across any Channel

You must establish a seamless, streamlined, and automated customer acquisition process, across multiple channels, such as the World Wide Web, smartphones, television, and assisted sales, among others. Complexities in the process of customer acquisition will lead to slow time-to-market, and hamper your sales, in turn limiting your channels of commerce.

  • Fast Cash and Easy Settlements

Automation is the key to easy cash collection. A subscription-based model of monetization works around the principle of collecting cash on a periodic basis, and this process must be fast in order to maximize collections, and minimize write-offs.

  • Develop Deep Customer Relationships

A subscription-based model of monetization indicates that customer relationships do not end with swiping of a credit card, or the paying off of a summation of money. In order to develop deep customer relationships, and maximize customer retention, you must cater to their needs, and offer them comprehensive tools to help them manage their accounts.

Monitoring customer preferences is necessary, and you must create content in due accordance to customer demand.

  • The Right Customer, Subscription, and Financial Metrics

As an OTT media service provider, you need to be adept to making swift decisions. You must have the necessary tools to leverage key metrics, and work towards improving customer value, the financial aspect of their association with you, and work towards providing features which further simplify and enhance user experience.

There are several software which are readily available in the market, to help you with respect to the same.

  • Rapidly Deploy New Pricing

As an OTT media service provider, you must provide for several pricing options. Markets evolve rapidly, and you must cater to the needs of your customers, and prospective consumers, by offering competitive pricing models to maximize subscriber acquisition, as and when the market demands the same. It is crucial that your pricing system is flexible, and not rigid.

  • Scale with Reliable and Secure Infrastructure

Your OTT media service must provide for 24/7 service, throughout the year. Your infrastructure must be reliable, and scalable – you must have the necessary resources to add infrastructure to your existing system as and when you acquire more customers, to ensure business continuity.

OTT Subscription Billing

Many OTT media service providers are held back by employing a traditional billing setup. OTT media service providers with international rights must be able to sell on a global scale with ease. OTT subscription billing must deliver:

  • Time-to-Market Speed – Promotions must be created, tested, and refined rapidly, without the need for IT intervention.
  • Dynamic Retention – Managing entitlements, even in the event of temporary issues is key to keeping customers connected to content.
  • Support for Multiple Currencies, Languages, and Payment Options – Customers must have the option to transact using their native currency, and navigate in their native language. They must also have the option to make use of a payment method of their preference.
  • Scalability and Reliability – Your platform must be capable of processing transactions quickly, even on days when the demand for your content is on a high.
  • Robust Finance, Tax, and Anti-Fraud Support – You must comply with tax requirements and recognise revenue systems across the world. Weeding out fraudsters is essential, as many target subscription-based services to test credit cards.
  • Intelligence for Continuous Improvement – Your billing provider, or billing team must stay on top, and provide for the best billing practices at the time of writing.

Execution

Once you have your strategy in place, it is time to put it to the test. This is an ongoing process of learning, and experimenting from your success and failures. It is recommended to make use of a Subscription Lifecycle Management Software – a solution which spans across the spectrum of engagement between a subscriber, and an OTT media service provider.

SURE! (a Magnaquest product), is among the best options out there, and provides OTT media service providers with the following engagement, billing, and support facilities:

  • Product Management – Packaging, Bundles, Services, Pricing
  • Subscriber Management – On-Boarding, Order Management,
  • Customer Care – Single View, Trouble Ticket Management, Call Logging
  • Invoices – Automatic Billing Process, Bill Logs, Multi-Currency Support
  • Payments – Automatic Collections, Process Payments through Different Payment Gateways, Revenue Recognition
  • Insights – Revenue Insights, Subscriber Insights, Churn, Engagement
  • Support – 24/7 Support Desk, Implementation Support

Conclusion

Customers expect anytime, anywhere device access to the content they desire to listen to, or watch. Subscription-based monetization models give customers exactly what they seek. OTT media service providers walk hand-in-hand with consumers, to ensure they are provided with the content they want to consume – in turn, consumers pay them a monthly subscription fee.

Monetization models that inconvenience consumers, or obligate them to buy into a content experience that they do not want, are unlikely to succeed in the long run. We are in an era where user experience, and consumer choice is of utmost priority, and a subscription-based method of monetization is the way going forward.