New TV streaming services are popping up frequently these days. What do they need to do to succeed? What should viewers be watching for as they size up new services? Here are the key factors, as I see them, in no particular order.
1. Advance marketing. I addressed part of this factor in: “How TV Streaming Services Seduce Consumers.” If the appeal is to nostalgia, the service must have a very rich library of oldies. If the appeal is to hoarding, then the library must be very large. If the appeal is to family viewing, there must be rich library of beloved content. In any case, there has to be an angle, a business proposition, presented to the viewer. What is the compelling content the viewer can’t get anywhere else?
2. Signature show. Essential to the marketing is a signature show. A signature show plays a major role in viewer awareness, pleases them with high quality, keeps them talking, and lights up social media. Apple TV+, CBS All Access, and Disney+ are doing this and doing it well. See: “Ranking the Signature Shows: Mandalorian, The Morning Show, Star Trek: Picard.”
3. Social media activities. The social media management team must engage the potential audience with trailers, clips, interviews with the stars, and so on. Encouraging interested customers to share tidbits ensures a strong day-one sign up. “Disney+ generated 10 million subscriptions in the first 24 hours.”
4. App technical excellence. Here is where there is great danger. Experienced, recognized, accomplished experts in streaming technology must be paired with the app team. Current services have set a high bar for high quality 4K/Dolby Vision streams that hardly ever freeze up. Customers just won’t tolerate freezes, stutters, mpeg breakups and will unsubscribe in a heartbeat if the problem persists. Here’s a good introduction to the details of bit rate, play rate, buffering, and so on. “The 5 Most Important Metrics To Measure The Performance of Video Streaming.”
App design is critical. It must be Applesque in its clean design intuitiveness, and lack of frustration. There is a great temptation here to abuse or manipulate the customer in the app. It should be avoided. Competition for subscription dollars is keen, and subscription fatigue will lead to the customer dropping the most frustrating apps.
5. Great original content. Current, successful streaming services have, over the years, stolen from the traditional U.S. networks most of the talent: actors, directors, and producers. It’s where the money is. “Studios Fight To Keep Netflix From Stealing The Talent.”
Studios know the score and are now scrambling to find new talent or protect the talent they already have in fear they could be lured away by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or any one of the popular streaming services
New streaming services will have to compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple that are spending billions on attractive original content. Including some awesome signature shows.
6. Compelling price, easy sign up. Subscription fatigue is already a thing. “‘Subscription Fatigue’: Nearly Half of U.S. Consumers Frustrated by Streaming Explosion, Study Finds.” New services will have to balance significant production costs against an attractive price. Plus, a flawed app that frustrates the sign-up will prove to be fatal. The sign-up shouldn’t feel invasive or creepy.
For example: “How to Sign Up For Disney+ and Bill to Your Apple ID.”
7. Ad-free option. Many viewers are willing to watch some ads to save money. (Assuming ads aren’t repeated in a single commercial break.) However, many viewers are not. An ad-free option is essential to compete nowadays. The relationship between the ad-supported price and the ad-free price depends a lot on the service’s understanding of its customers gained though experience and research. An improper balance is readily detected (and despised) by the prospective subscriber.
New TV streaming services continue to spring up. Knowing their challenges and what to look for will help prospective subscribers make choices and pick the (few) winners. How have your favorites done?