A lot of great original content never reaches consumers. From budding filmmakers who cannot find a distributor for their documentaries to regional TV series that see huge success in their own country but struggle to gain visibility abroad, international audiences regularly miss out on video they’d value. Some effort has already been made to address this, but often it’s based on bringing premium content that already touches millions to new markets. In 2019, though, it’s time for niche and regional content to experience a similar change.
Rethinking the Direct-To-Consumer Relationship
The next 12 months will usher in the next stage of a content delivery overhaul. Niche content owners and smaller video producers will come together to deliver their assets to consumers. Larger, more established players will continue to take their assets direct to their own subscribers, but the broader market will be addressed by newer cloud-based OTT channel aggregators — and the biggest change for 2019 will be in how content owners monetize on these platforms.
The dominance of Amazon Channels is a good example of why change is on the horizon. The platform has made it easy for content owners of any size to quickly bring their assets to market. By taking advantage of Amazon’s reach and its established technical capabilities, CRM, and other underlying features, content owners can instead focus on the most important thing — the content. It’s a win-win situation for content owners, but it’s also an expensive one.
Those that partner with Amazon can expect to give away at least 25% (and in many cases up to half) of revenue from channel subscription fees. Although many will flock to Amazon for its foothold in the video market, others will look for more favorable terms elsewhere.
2019: The Year of Video Platform Flexibility
It’s the same reason YouTube isn’t a viable way for content owners to drive long-term revenues from their assets. Although Google’s platform has an important role to play in initial user acquisition, handing video assets over to YouTube means giving up control. Monetization options are set by YouTube (at a time when the television market continues to become hybrid, meaning a single way to maximize the value of content isn’t enough), there’s no brand ownership of the platform or the application suite, and more importantly, it’s the Google way or the highway when it comes to data insights and analytics.
The name of the game in 2019 will be flexibility and brand control, which is where new OTT aggregation platforms will be able to rise up and challenge the dominance of established giants such as Amazon and YouTube. For content owners, it’ll be business as usual. They’ll still get a platform through which to launch and stream immediately. Time to market will be dramatically reduced. And operating costs will be slashed as a result. But crucially, they’ll have greater control over branding, monetization, and the overall consumer experience.
There’s strength in numbers too — as these channels run in aggregate, they have an established customer base in place ahead of time. Consumers can subscribe once and get access to all channels through a seamless user experience, so there’s no need for content owners to fret about trying to compete with giant providers for the direct-to-consumer relationship. There’s a highly engaged user base already in place already. All they need to worry about is getting the content right.
The Changing Role of Ad Targeting
The rise of tailored content owner-led channel aggregator services will become a big challenger to established players in 2019. But it’ll also usher in a tangential ad targeting evolution.
The OTT TV industry has gone through a period of change in recent years. I discussed this recently, specifically how broad-based offerings have become a thing of the past and personalization is taking its rightful place at the heart of video streaming services. That transition has been underpinned by new advances in video analytics technology. Specifically, the notion of individual viewer profiling for the purpose of targeted advertising.
Take this concept and extrapolate it across the hundreds of content owners and video producers that make up an OTT aggregation service. More advanced platforms will be able to pool those insights for much better advertising data and greater relevancy than what would be possible when relying on data from a single streaming service.
Where Data Analytics Sits in This Video Evolution
It’s widely accepted that when it comes to video monetization models such as AVOD (which will continue to grow in popularity throughout 2019) data quality is paramount. Ultimately, better data equates to better advertising, which results in a better bottom line for all involved. And this underpins the importance of AdTech in helping to usher in this content delivery overhaul across the next 12 months.
More advanced OTT aggregation platforms will have advanced data analytics solutions at the heart of their offerings, with these platforms representing the true competition against established players such as Amazon Channels. It’s where content owners stand to secure a better return on their video assets and advertisers can see the strongest possible ROI on their ad spend – with platforms like this balancing the customer experience, ad partner experience, and revenue experience in equal measure.