How Far is Your Data From Your Analytics? An Overview of the SVoD Analytics Landscape


The way people watch TV and movies is changing, and valuable data can be gained by studying people's entertainment habits.

More consumers are beginning to opt for streaming content over traditional television. According to The Diffusion Group, last year alone the average American consumer watched nearly four hours (3.6) of over-the-top, or OTT, content from sources such as Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, Netflix and others per week. That figure will nearly double to 6.9 hours per week this year and continue to steadily increase each year through 2020.

As such, online content providers are becoming more sophisticated in their CRM efforts and are working hard to grow and maintain their user base while delivering results from advertising. Subscription video on demand (SVoD) analytic platforms are becoming increasingly important to help content providers efficiently navigate this new media landscape.

In order to successfully manage a video subscription service, business units need to have access to a set of readily available data. While there are several different types of data that can be tracked, your overall business and program goals should determine which data sets are most important to you. Commonly tracked data sets or key performance indicators for video subscription services typically including product usage, pricing, content, user retention and monetization. The timeliness of this data, as well as the ease of access, can determine your business’ success. For example, if you have data indicating that a subscriber has been inactive for three weeks, you can act on it immediately to try to reengage that user before they cancel their subscription. However, if you don’t have access to that data until another three months later, you’ve likely already lost that customer, making that insight useless.

Unfortunately, most SVoD analytic platforms today are lacking in the types of data readily available. Popular services such as Ooyala, Kaltura and thePlatform offer detailed reporting on video engagement and quality of services, but those metrics are only a subset of what’s needed to manage a subscription service. Consequently, content providers often need to integrate multiple analytic platforms to see the big picture. So what are your options?

  1. Go big or go home. If you’re a larger traditional media company, chances are you have the resources to develop a team to source, compile, analyze and distribute data for numerous sources. This can be a huge investment in terms of staffing and vendor fees.
  2. Go proprietary. You can also develop your own internal SaaS platform to aggregate the data and have it displayed in a unified dashboard. Again, this option is more accessible for larger companies with large amounts of resources at their disposal.
  3. Choose your partners wisely. Keep an eye on newly emerging players, especially those who are able to offer end-to-end solutions, as these platforms are able to host analytics natively and offer easier access to the KPIs that matter most to you.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to pay particular attention to analytics pertaining to subscription reporting. In my opinion, the ability to monitor user churn and your subscriber retention rate at a marketing campaign level trumps all other KPIs. Fluctuation in user churn and retention rate can serve as an alarm system, alerting you early on of issues to look into — such as bad links or sub-optimal CDN performance — and help you determine customer lifetime value of different segments — which types of customers will stick around for three months compared to those who will stick around for three years. Such IT insights can guide high-level decisions that help your company thrive.

SVoD analytic platforms will continue to advance to meet the growing needs of content providers and consumers alike. In the meantime, don’t fall for the big data deluge. You do not need to collect every bit of data simply because you can. Focus on what data is needed to help your business achieve its goals. Identify the best approach for your team and your business. Focus on efficiencies, which can easily be found in end-to-end tech platforms in which data is native to your solution, to help your team and your business thrive.


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Manik Bambha

As Chief Technology Officer of SnagFilms, Manik Bambha oversees the technology, operations and new media initiatives for the company's leading on-demand platform featuring the world's largest selection of free films and shows. Prior to joining SnagFilms, Manik oversaw technology for a gaming and online events startup in NYC and was a technical lead at MySpace where he played a vital role in MySpace video and music initiatives-one of the largest media initiatives in history. With extensive experience in media and CDN space, Manik is heavily involved in bootstrapping the media and web arms of companies to do digital distribution of…