Get Under the Skin of Audience Data for Over The Top Success

Ajay Meher

Over The Top, better known as OTT, has been a topic of much excitement, discussion and dread in media and telecom circles. For instance, the decision of the largest OTT messaging platform out there, WhatsApp, to share user contact numbers with its parent, Facebook (unless a box is unchecked in the new privacy update), is causing mixed but massive reactions from all quarters.

Indeed, as mobile continues its relentless march as the medium of choice for content consumption, more and more companies, including established media giants as well as startups, are launching their own OTT offerings. Hotstar, Ditto TV, Vuclip, Wynk, Hook, Spuul, BoxTV and Netflix are just some of the 25-plus names in this nascent-yet-already-crowded space.

So, what is the state of OTT platforms and their usage in India?

Ajay Kumar Meher, Sr. VP & Head - IT, Post production and New Media, Sony Entertainment Television, recently shared insights into this question at the 5 Media & Entertainment (M&E) CIO Summit organized by at Planet Hollywood Resort in Goa. The event was attended by over 50 CIOs and IT decision makers in the M&E domain.

According to Meher, the OTT phenomenon is upending the existing and long-standing ecosystem of traditional players—primarily content creators, broadcasters and distributors—as everyone wants not only a share of the growing OTT pie but also to dominate the space as well. And, even as the revenue from OTT remains miniscule (there were 66 million OTT users but only 1.3 million paying subscribers in 2015 as per a Research and Markets report), there are too many players and complex challenges in terms of monetization.

One of the biggest challenges, as far as India is concerned, is that people want to consume entertainment and other content on their mobiles but nobody wants to pay (or pay as much as marquee aggregators like Netflix would want them to).

Meher said that existing broadcasters can address their challenges of growing their audience and better monetizing their content through OTT simply by reading their data well. “A big part of the answer to the puzzle lies in their data; they just have to read it,” he said.

The trick is to slide and dice data as granularly as possible and use those insights to take decisions on content, bitrates, mobile browser support, etc.

For example, video measurement could be done along three components: content (geography, genre, target group); user (length of play, quality, whether free or paid); and behavior (attributes, consumption patterns).

Likewise, on the technical front, CIOs could look into audience (stream, traffic, concurrency); quality (buffering, play failure, bit rate, load time); and, quite importantly, engagement (time spent vs. play failure or quality of content).

Meher also shared the KPIs (key performance indicators) for OTT as defined by NPAW (which stands for Nice People At Work, no kidding), a global provider of big data analytics for media (see Figure 1 below).

He suggested that media firms should look at cohort analysis, subscriber analysis and app attribution (especially uninstall analysis) more carefully than they currently do. They should also consider analytics as a continuous, ongoing process rather than a one-time project or do it only when a promo/campaign is to be rolled out.

Categories: Digital

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Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta is former Editor at Grey Head Media....

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