Winning the Next Battle in the Streaming Wars

About a 3 min. read

John Conti
VP, Travel

I recently rewatched one of my favorite television series, Mad Men, which reminded me of when the show premiered in 2007. I was living in Chicago and watching movies that arrived by mail from Netflix. Since then, much has changed and the streaming video on demand (SVOD) service is now a $100 Billion dollar industry with more than 200 different streaming providers globally. The industry has matured, and growth is harder to find. How can researchers help SVOD providers win the next battle in the streaming wars? CMB’s Media & Entertainment team shares four areas of focus:

Develop Relevant and Engaging Content

Streaming providers are focused on acquiring or developing original content, spending billions of dollars each year in search of the next big hit. The challenge is to identify winners earlier in the process to fail faster, adjust concepts to ensure relevance and appeal, and maximize your ROI. Leverage psychological research to gauge reactions to potential concepts early in the process. CMB’s Thinking Fast and Slow approach helps companies gain in-depth reactions to storylines, cast, and/or imagery to identify which potential shows resonate most. Research in pre-production can also uncover key aspects of the show to support marketing decisions.

Create a Best-In-Class User Experience

Delivering a best-in-class experience is a key differentiator and requires a deeper understanding of how audiences engage with your platform to uncover pain points and gauge reactions to new ideas and technologies. There are several research opportunities to improve user experience:

  • CMB’s BrandFx model identifies four primary types of psychological benefits that drive consumer decision making: Emotional, Identity, Social, and Functional. All are critically important but in the world of SVOD, it is often the functional benefits that are the key drivers of dissatisfaction and why consumers cancel. Search functionality, load times, fast forward/rewind features, etc. are opportunities for an improved experience which will increase satisfaction and maintain engagement.
  • CMB’s Habit Loops is an effective tool for understanding the deep-rooted routines. This research identifies the various cues, routines, and rewards that audiences desire when watching streaming content, as well as the challenges and pain points to uncover critical areas for improvement and innovation.
  • Research can also explore new ways to organize content to facilitate easier browsing, as well as building better algorithms for serving up the right content to the right people at the right time.
  • UX research and prototype testing is key to helping SVOD providers differentiate themselves and generate stronger loyalty and greater engagement.

Check out this case study: A Global Segmentation with (and for) UX Designers

Demonstrate Value

Consumers are often unaware of all the subscriptions they have and go months or years paying for a subscription they don’t use. But at one point, consumers will face reality and say, “I am no longer getting value from this,” and cancel. The value equation is constantly evolving based on changes in content, competitive offers, and economic conditions, so ongoing pricing research or value analysis is critical to creating a competitive advantage and studying consumer reactions with the use of advanced analytics, such as conjoint or Van Westendorp.

Develop New Products & Access to Additional Platforms

As the media landscape continues to shift, there is a lot of content competing for time and attention beyond SVOD, such as podcasts, short form video, user generated content, gaming, etc. With younger generations are focused more on user-generated short-form video (such as Tik Tok, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts), how should traditional SVOD providers adapt? Again, research will paint a clearer picture of how younger audiences are consuming media and uncover opportunities to better serve their needs. It can also shed light on current brand affinity and engagement and help determine where providers can and can’t credibly extent their offering.

The streaming industry has matured and is facing several important challenges. The streaming providers that leverage consumer insights to deliver relevant and engaging content, develop a best-in-class user experience, demonstrate value through pricing, and develop new products across media platforms will be in the best competitive position. Mad Men demonstrates the world moves pretty fast, and researchers are on the front lines.

Let CMB equip your army with the insights necessary to win the streaming war. Contact us.