Thought Leadership

Data drives subscription and retention for streaming media wars

Nick Amabile


May 7, 2020
Featured image for “Data drives subscription and retention for streaming media wars”

In the span of completing this sentence, another streaming media service just launched.

While that’s a clear exaggeration, it feels like reality in this competitive, fast-moving digital entertainment marketplace. Backed by deep-pocketed studios and major broadcast networks, these services fight to attract and retain subscribers with an evolving mix of promotional campaigns and exclusive programming.

And the crucial component driving those efforts is, at its root, data. From measuring subscriber acquisition costs to monitoring viewer habits, streaming platforms need to know their customer in order to retain them.

By monitoring user behavior from the moment of conversion up through browsing habits and what content is consumed on which device, entertainment outlets can learn what’s working and what needs more work. Consequently, you can ensure your product delivers the best experience and stands up against tough competition to meet your business goals.

Organized subscriber data unlocks a wealth of information

Whether you provide access to streaming movies, music, or television, the crucial step to understanding subscriber patterns is to create a centralized dataset. Once you’ve broken the silos that divide your marketing, content, and product databases, a wealth of insights become available to drive retention.

DAS42 can aggregate your data into a single, holistic source so all this information is open for access and analysis. Then we customize the various insights that are key to your organization. With the capability to correlate marketing data with user behavior, new avenues of analysis are opened. You can analyze the success of promotions like free trial offers toward converting new users into subscribers.

Additionally, once you can establish new customers as a distinct cohort of users, you can organically compare their viewing history and retention rates with subscribers who signed up in the same period. Was there a specific launch of a program that drew a given subscriber’s interest or impacted their churn rate?

With a single, centralized data source, these meaningful observations are at your fingertips.

Streaming media carries distinct best practices and KPIs

At the baseline, streaming media subscription services are an e-commerce effort. And just as that industry requires its own, customer- and cohort-centric KPIs, streaming entertainment presents fresh opportunities to analyze consumer habits for vital information.

In addition to comparing user habits from organic subscriptions to those driven by promotions, there are a host of other KPIs DAS42 implements for the biggest brands in the industry.

Evaluating the relationship between content and conversion rates

Along with monitoring the relationship between promotions and customer retention, streaming service providers can also track the relationship between programming and new sign-ups. Does a given platform see a spike in subscriptions around the return of a hit series or arrival of a popular movie? And, if so, do these users then continue to browse for other options? Or do they cancel right away?

If services stay informed about these habits, then they can make necessary tweaks to their interface to further the customer connection and increase retention.

Establishing a consistent user identifier to track behavior across devices

One of the challenges in staying competitive in digital media is its status as a moving target. Depending on the user, streaming content can be accessed at home, on the computer desktop, or on a mobile device. Forced to be competitive on so many fronts, these services can observe the behavior of their subscribers and respond to their habits.

These KPIs can determine a subscriber’s preferred platform, such as Roku, AppleTV, or iPad. And, from there, monitor the quality of service being provided. Is a viewer watching at 4K or 1080p resolution and, if so, are they encountering performance issues? An ability to monitor and address such user experience details allows services to adjust their technology as needed and increase customer satisfaction.

Additionally, establishing a unique identifier for a given customer can track usage if the service allows for multiple profiles. This kind of flexibility can offer a key benefit if a company hopes to restrict access to adult content depending on user input. Depending on the ways viewing habits change by profile, a streaming platform can track the differing choices made as well as when and how.

Monitoring engagement among subscribers at multiple levels

Tracking customer behavior patterns through data reveals an array of product insights. Subscribers that spend a long time browsing before selecting something to watch could point to a functionality issue. Knowing this, a service can adjust their search and navigation or otherwise better surface content similar to what a user has watched previously. As appropriate, these services can also monitor how much friction is involved at the purchase funnel if additional products are available on a given app store or elsewhere.

These habits can also measure how well a given program is performing or making a lasting connection with viewers. We have experience defining for our clients what constitutes a complete view depending how long a show is played. On one hand, this kind of data can determine what’s popular enough to generate interest. But on the other, it also tracks how well the content has resonated with its audience. In addition, for services that are ad-supported, this kind of monitoring can determine whether a given view encompassed the commercial as well.

Insights like these can shape your marketing choices and programming priorities to reflect what your customers are really watching.

Know the details in your data to stay competitive in streaming media

In considering a data partner, you don’t want to start from scratch. The streaming media space is just too competitive to waste time explaining your business or its terminology to someone inexperienced.

Instead, consider data professionals with an established track record with digital entertainment and some of the newest, most modern streaming platforms. With our experience, we can design the technical and analytical solutions that can help you realize your business goals. Contact us when you’re ready to learn more.