With millions of subscribers across the world and a breadth of data at their fingertips, streaming companies have started to make CX innovations and optimizations for end users.
The OTT (over-the-top) streaming market, defined by Digiday as delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service, is expected to balloon to $70.05 billion by 2021. As on-demand content usage grows, subscription-model businesses are challenged to prioritize the customer experience and focus on short and long-term retention strategies.
Let’s take a look at 3 customer experience innovations you can expect from video streaming services in 2018.
1. The not-so-subtle Netflix algorithm has arrived
In addition to machine learning serving us content recommendations by category, Netflix customizes the content thumbnail based on your viewing habits. To further enhance the viewing experience, Netflix serves an image that may align closest to your favorite genre and/or actor.
The SmarterCX team went to work and found this algorithm in action. “Netflix User 1” enjoys thrillers, crime shows, and original content. “Netflix User 2” enjoys documentaries, romantic comedies, and emotional dramas. “The Godfather” is served to both users under crime movies but the thumbnail is different. Netflix User 2 consumes more content around romance and emotion thus is served the famous “Connie’s Wedding” scene vs. Netflix User 1’s stark Marlon Brando close-up.
Nick Nelson, Global Manager of Creative Services for Netflix, explains the decision. “We have built a system that tests a set of images for many titles on our service — helping display a compelling image to drive engagement. In developing this system, we learned many interesting things around imagery and what actually compels a member to watch a title.”
2. Fly Netflix: binge-friendly Wi-Fi
Last year, I received at least 2 customer survey emails per round-trip flight. Airlines constantly seek feedback from travelers and continue to look for partnerships and opportunities to improve cabin experience gate to gate.
While Netflix currently offers the ability to download content, this year, Netflix is extending into broadband technology to satisfy a need in the domestic airline industry for a cheaper, faster network in the sky. According to Variety, Netflix will roll out bandwidth-efficient technology optimized specifically to support mobile and tablet functionality thus at a lower overall delivery cost to airlines. Internet access above 10,000 feet is at no cost to travelers (only when you log into your Netflix account) and Netflix plans to roll out capabilities in 2018.
Airplane mode. Road trip mode. Stuck-in-the-subway-for-20-minutes mode. Your favorite stories are now available for download any time. pic.twitter.com/g7QZA3TyE8
— Netflix US (@netflix) November 30, 2016
3. Hulu producing original, interactive content for virtual reality
You can now watch National Geographic in virtual reality with a Hulu subscription, seriously. Additionally, expect original VR content later this year in a comedy format — according to Variety, “Door No.1” is an upcoming show for Hulu’s VR app about a ten-year class reunion in choose-your-own-adventure format.
Hulu virtual reality applications are available on Sony PlayStation VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, and Samsung GearVR with Galaxy S6, S7, Note 5 Phones. The introduction of original, interactive content also opens the door to new advertising capabilities for Hulu. Get your goggles ready!
What other CX innovations can we expect from streaming services? “Apps like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu will be able to present content faster through voice mobile search,” says Bryan Kramer, Author of Shareology: How Sharing Powers the Human Economy. “In other words, AI will start to work more harmoniously especially in streaming, creating the ability to find and digest new content faster.”