Happiness as a new metric for a live streaming audience

by Natalya Devyatkova | February 3, 2019
7 min read
Have you ever thought how happy your viewers are? When people pay for online TV or streaming but don't watch a lot, it means they are satisfied with conditions, but still feel unhappy. Why does it happen and what broadcasters can do with it?
Happiness is a gift

Today the relationships between online broadcasters and the users look like this. What do Pay TV companies and OTT services dream of? A client who pays and watches, 24/7 is desirable. What do clients of these streaming services really want? An outstanding video quality, a wide range of titles, a reasonable price, and multiple platforms to consume. It is quite unreal to find an all-in-one, that's why it is more likely for people to use 2–3 different platforms to watch live or video on demand. Does it make a viewer happy? It does make the experience more comfortable. However, in fact, clients have to search for better content or quality or price over again. Sounds not like happiness.
Happy Metric Tools: start from the old good SWAT analysis, (1) from the marketing point of view, (2) from the user point of view.
Different subscriptions can make us feel satisfied only temporarily. But what if it's not enough? According to Netflix the biggest competitor for viewer's attention is a bedtime, a work time, a family time of subscribers. Initially, there was a fight for the quantity and the quality of video content. Now as high-quality video platforms do not technically differ much from each other, the broadcasters use new metrics to evaluate the viewers' commitment and try to find new ways how to make them happy. How do happy clients use a particular pay video service is combined with the fact of how they are happy or unhappy in their own lives. This approach has become a new focus because media content has taken a significant part of our everyday life. Users' happiness is a real gift for the broadcasters as the viewers start to watch more, or they return, or they make others join the particular stream. A happy client will provide ten more. So the business grows.
Happiness Metric Tools: know your clients, what makes them happy, and how to use it in marketing strategy.
Happy means involved

New ways to assess the rate of subscribers' happiness have their active hours in focus and investigate how to make them watch more unless they sleep or do their jobs. ThisIsInsider reports that people usually watch series when they cook or eat, or commute to where they work, and they bingle watch favorite TV shows at the weekends or vacations. Nowadays many factors compete for a person's attention during active hours: job responsibilities, family and friends, different duties and hobbies. Online broadcasters of our favorite TV shows are not an exception. It's so good to stay alone for a couple of hours in a peaceful and quiet place with a favorite TV series. The broadcasters know this very well, and they are eager to give this opportunity at any time to make people happy and keep them involved. How? Usually, viewers have several subscriptions due to stream differences they distinguish by the content, the quality or the price. Clients are involved when they stay with the stream they have chosen and do not look for something else despite the new options appeared on the market.
Happiness Metric Tools: know all your clients' online media subscriptions, use it to differentiate and stay unique.
Unhappy churn

It happens quite often when users experience a stream latency, or they face a video on demand quality fall, they usually blame the Internet providers and try to figure out the problem of the installed video drivers on the computer or Internet connection regarding the receiving side. However, the problems of buffering and content delivery often arise from the giving side — the broadcasters. In both cases, there will be spectators' churn, the worst nightmare ever. Why do streaming services adhere to an adaptive playback technology, despite the problems described? Because the majority of viewers stay with them anyway due to some reasons. The human factor works this way: it's not expensive for me, I found all the TV shows that I wanted to watch, the quality is not high, but I have already paid for it. So the viewer remains unhappy yet subscribed. What does it guarantee? Naturally, when the subscription is over, the user will switch to another service. The one that has a policy of making the current and potential customers happy. Therefore, temporarily satisfied clients are unhappy clients, such subscribers are not going to leave immediately, but they eventually leave because they want to be happy.
Happiness Metric Tools: evaluate the rate of satisfied (an average user) and happy (a committed user) clients, the number of people who pay and watch more than average to the number of people who pay and watch less, find out the reasons.
There is another problem with adaptive streaming. On the one hand, this method solves the problem of buffering, however, on the other hand, a media player usually lowers the adaptive streaming quality according to its SLA. Media content remains as wide as possible so that it suits any audience. And so, clients remain on adaptive streaming platforms only because they have already paid for access to popular/unique videos or stream. Although, they will most likely look for other options in the nearest future. The fact that, given all other conditions being equal, the quality of the video for the user means the quality of using the service as a whole is evident. As the world (or competitors) has moved on, sooner or later, all possible content appears online.
Happy Metric Tools: evaluate the titles, widen your content in every way possible, know the trends that make online subscribers happy.
Besides, as long as clients pay but remain unhappy, their purchase is compelled. No long term loyalty or credibility will be maintained for the services that deliberately reduce the quality of broadcasting.
Happy Metric Tools: for how long have you been using the adaptive method? Compare not money results but satisfaction and feedback metrics before/after.
Why both parties are unhappy

Take an eye at this chain of events. For a long time in communication networks the resources provided on the outgoing side were enough, but with the growing number of users from year to year, traditional CDNs do not cope with the media flow. The servers network skyrocketing prices become too high for online broadcasters. Thus many of them just could not build it up to maintain broadcasting in high bitrate and to meet the demand. Consequently, as they spend more and more budget on CDNs, they cannot reduce subscription prices. Unfortunately, at peak times, even reinforced CDNs may not cope with the load (live sports events, concerts, breaking news, or TV series, the release of which millions of people are waiting for, etc.). In this case, both parties are unhappy, the broadcasters as well as their subscribers.
Happy Metric Tools: to solve the problem described — simplify. (1) Use digital technologies that improve the quality of content delivery. It is a decentralize distributing approach, instead of pushing a huge amount of money into servers. (2) Make user experience as comfortable as possible concerning both quality and content and the price. It is much easily achievable than it may seem.
Keep in mind the fact that the online viewer happiness consists of 3 main components: a popular content, the access at the lowest possible price (or free options), and video without delay. Ideally, there are three more: the online service should have an excellent Ultra full HD, provide new titles at the same time or immediately after the theatrical release, and stream it on any possible multimedia platform to let users watch from anywhere.
How to use the business growth driver as the users' happiness growth factor

We at Teleport are confident that on the client side of streaming services, paid TV and any online broadcasters, there are fewer problems with getting video stream of perfect quality. There are several reasons to prove us right: the bandwidth of common Internet channel is 30–50 Mb/ps; Internet providers strive to increase the reliability of Internet channels, providing a stable Internet connection. However, at the point of media content distribution, the situation is different. The bottleneck issue exists because thousands of customers connected to the nearest server make the overload. Therefore, next time they will think twice whether to return to this particular online service, even if they signed up for a subscription because they pay for emotions, which turn to negative if there is something wrong with the video.

Broadcasters who care about customer loyalty, and try to make them happy and remain subscribed for a long time, should think about the quality of video delivery as the key business growth driver. Here are some ideas on how to do it:

(1) use marketing tools to measure the happiness of subscribers; track those who pay, but do not use, even if they are ideal for your metrics; remember that they are toxic as latent saboteurs, they will not become brand adopters while they remain unhappy with you.

(2) provide the growth of the video stream quality corresponding to the growing level of the server load; an increasing number of users today becomes an advantage due to decentralized technologies.

(3) accelerate existing CDN to improve video quality, reduce broadcasting costs, and free up bandwidth margin for new user acquisition.

(4) unite viewers of one video broadcast into a group, whereby the devices of each user receive the media content on demand from the other viewers in the same group.

The goal is to convert huge numbers of online viewers into an advantage and a reason to ensure a stable and completely balanced delivery channel without the involvement of the server-based delivery infrastructure.

This enables online media companies to receive the highest possible quality of broadcasting to the maximum potential audience. By the way, in both cases, there is no limit. Welcome is a new growth driver for both business and user happiness.

Use the metrics given in the article to explore the level of happiness of your subscribers.

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