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GUEST COMMENT Battle of the SVOD – what’s your secret weapon?

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TV has changed dramatically since its public inception in the 1950s: today it isn’t even ‘broadcast’ but streamed. And with the UK’s Premier League now joining the pay TV revolution Anthony Baladi, Commercial Director, Fonix, takes a look at how telemedia companies could benefit from the battle for eyeballs among the Streamed Video on Demand (SVOD) market

We’ve come a long way since huddling around a little wooden box watching the Queen’s coronation. TVs have got bigger, flatter and colourful. Public service broadcasters (PSBs) were joined by commercial channels, and along came ad revenue. Then PayTV appeared – subscriptions via a cable – offering hundreds of channels with recording, pausing and rewinding capabilities, followed by TV programming moving online, on to laptops, tablets and mobiles.

Better internet technologies allowed for streaming content, and now the internet has become the new battleground for broadcasters vying for the nation’s attention. Apple, Disney, HBO and NBC are just a few of the big names that have thrown their hat into the ring in 2019, alongside the BBC and ITV, which have teamed up to launch their UK-focused service, BritBox.

And last week, even the Premier League have announced plans to launch a dedicated streaming service.

Who uses SVOD?

The mass of new entrants to the streaming market forces consumers to choose. The reality is only 19.5% of consumers have 2 or more SVOD services, meaning streaming services are competing to be the favourite content provider for 80% of the population, and at least top two for the remaining 20%. But the market is growing rapidly, and is estimated to match and overtake traditional TV by 2023, as streaming has already surpassed PayTV in 2018.

Subscriptions can be deemed as convenient, simplifying life with one set of details and automated direct debits; but not all consumers want to commit monthly funds to a content provider – long contracts, constant emails and uncertainty over direct debits are enough to put anyone off signing up for a subscription. And of course, a big deciding factor: cost.

Combining a PayTV service with a few streaming services and the monthly bill will be pushing £100, therefore consumers are selective. To stay competitive, the majority of subscriptions fall beneath the £10 bracket.

Primarily, having the most engaging content is a must. Streaming services are competing for the most watched shows. NBC has secured the two most streamed TV shows: The Office and Parks and Recreation. But is that enough to sway consumers?

So if NBC has The Office, HBO has Friends, Disney has Disney, Netflix and Amazon Prime make originals, Britbox houses all things British, what else can set them apart if not the content? And not the price?

To commit to a subscription, consumers need a frictionless process to engage them with the service. From initial interest, to payment and continued communication, brands need to make conscious decisions.

We already know streaming services spend a lot of time and money thinking about their content options, but how often do they think about their payment options? Why not replicate the simplicity and convenience of the subscription within the payment process.

Does carrier billing hold the key?

Carrier billing offers a unique way to process subscription payments by charging the cost to the users mobile phone bill. To enable carrier billing all users have to do is input their mobile number, receive a code to verify the handset and submit this to the website. Two simple sets to combine subscriptions with a monthly phone bill.

Netflix already offers carrier billing as a payment option under the name of “partner billing”. Once again paving the way for innovation within the SVOD market. And so the battle commences. Will netflix be able to maintain their lead with a smaller archive in comparison with their traditional counterparts?

2020 is the ideal opportunity for streaming services to start strong by offering carrier billing from the start. For a competitive launch with increased acquisitions and convenience for existing customers ensuring longevity of subscriptions. Carrier billing might just be the secret weapon to becoming victorious in 2020 : Battle of the SVODs.

Author

Anthony Baladi is Commercial Director, Fonix

 

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