It might be a stretch to say that everybody loves Netflix, but there’s no denying that Netflix’s widespread acceptance and consumer-friendly technology have formed another chapter in the chronicles of digital customer expectations. Mounting expectations for compelling digital content experiences across a wide range of devices requires the deployment and support of complex next-generation systems to maintain a differentiated customer experience, which typically means providers continually have to invest in new technologies while optimising current hardware and software assets to battle margin compression and preserve subscriber growth.
Next-generation technologies designed to enable content portability and drive revenue fuel top- and bottom-line growth by supporting more scalable, agile, and extensible ways of doing business. Creative merchandising, multiple delivery options, and convenient payment channels can be integrated easily and seamlessly into the provider ecosystem to form the foundation of an engaged and profitable subscriber base.
To get there, providers need to be able to offer content monetisation options that are consistent across user devices and offer more choice and more ways to pay for content. Comcast has already made great strides in these areas with Xfinity On Campus, which allows students to access thousands of current-season TV shows, hit movies, and premium sports content using their university credentials. Cineplex uses an innovative direct-to-consumer digital content monetisation platform to integrate with the SCENE loyalty programme and SuperTicket to allow guests to purchase a theatre cinema admission ticket and pre-order a digital download of the movie at the same time.
By implementing creative merchandising channels coupled with dynamic promotions, cross–product bundling, and loyalty programmes, providers can support better long-term customer retention and profitability. As a result, merchandising is rapidly moving from a nice-to-have to a must-have and may well be among the best value propositions out there, particularly when combined with device ubiquity. Additional options like flash sales, dynamic discounting, and recurring promotions widen merchandising opportunities and provide seamless content delivery.
Offering a variety of models—subscription, transactional, and on-demand video—coupled with electronic sell-through capabilities, promote provider brand stickiness and drive recurring revenue growth. Importantly, all such models can exist within a single user profile in concert with one another to keep viewer experiences in one provider ecosystem. To make sure viewers stay in that ecosystem for purchasing and fulfilment, providers can offer robust eWallet capabilities.
Extensible eWallets that are attached to consumer accounts and associate payment decisions across multiple channels are the behind-the-scenes enablers of exceptional service experiences. All relevant forms of payment—credit, debit, coupon, reward redemption etc.—can be available directly and in real time from any connected device. The more real-time payment options providers can offer, the more opportunity for transaction-based and recurring revenue they can create.
It’s all about frictionless transactions. Even in this expanding content universe, providers ultimately will not control all of the ways consumers pay for content, but for providers that can offer the most convenient and plentiful viewing and payment options, the spoils await.
Kent Steffen leads CSG’s Content Direct offering, a digital content monetisation, marketing, and management solution. He is an authority on UltraViolet™ integrations, multi-device content offerings, digital lockers, and how direct-to-consumer providers are overcoming the challenges presented by today’s disparate marketplace. See also: http://contentdirect.csgi.com/