Why you should build a culture of data for your OTT business

The effective use of data separates the winners from the losers in the streaming space. Streaming services that invest in data-driven insight can make better decisions, improving their chances of success. In fact, 67% of OTT businesses consider actionable intelligence key to their survival, benefitting executive leadership, licensing efforts, marketing campaigns, and more. 

Data is key to making smarter decisions at every level. But building a culture of data isn’t easy. Just having data at your disposal won’t itself lead to smarter decisions. Instead, you need to adopt the right mindset, as well as the right tech stack to support your goal.

To understand what a culture of data looks like in practice, let’s run through the four stages of data maturity for a streaming service and establish what data-driven decision making looks like for each.

The four stages of data maturity

Building a culture of data depends on a wealth of data being collected, structured, and harnessed long before it can be turned into actionable intelligence to create a competitive advantage, or to project business health with a high degree of accuracy.

Getting this right, though, will unlock a wealth of benefits. Not just for churn prevention but subscriber acquisition, a deeper understanding of service engagement, content effectiveness, and more.

Stage one: Harmonization 

At this stage, you’ll have collected data from across your systems and tech stack, and processed and structured it so it’s ready to be used. This is the foundation for everything else, so it’s still the first step. But that by no means suggests it’s easy to get there.

There’s no culture of data yet, so you will need to get buy-in from senior decision makers. And, if you’re undertaking this journey without outside help, you will also need to dedicate resources and engineering time to make the data usable.

Even making data-driven decisions at this stage will be difficult. Your data won’t be in a form where it’s easily accessible for different teams without technical experience. This means you will need more time from your engineers to run data queries and report back. For this reason, some business decisions at stage one may still be made based on gut feel. They won’t always factor in performance-based intelligence since getting access to your data is neither fast nor straightforward – yet.

Stage two: Visualization 

Now things get interesting. Data visualization opens up your platform and audience data, which propels you along your data maturity journey.

To enable this, your engineers need to find a way to present your harmonized data that’s easily accessible and, crucially, just as easy to understand. Typically, this means a data dashboard. Data visualization is critical to the whole process, but it can be difficult to get right. The user experience of the dashboard you build is as important as the data itself.

The good news is that implementing a data dashboard means different teams – from product to marketing and beyond – can turn audience data to their advantage, and run queries themselves. They can also start to monitor patterns and trends that will inform future decisions. As a result, decision-making will start to become truly data-driven. But there’s still more to be done.

Stage three: Actionable intelligence 

Stage three takes harmonized and visualized data to the next level. This is where you can use the data to drive better campaigns and decisions throughout the subscriber lifecycle.

This stage is critical mass for streaming services. Data-driven intelligence is needed to identify the best acquisition targets as well as the myriad reasons for churn and the steps needed to tackle it. 

Let’s consider two examples of what this looks like in practice:

  • With the right approach to turning data into actionable intelligence that can be displayed through your data dashboard, your editorial team will get unified insights into content effectiveness and overall service engagement.
  • For your product team, actionable intelligence can help identify where user engagement metrics suggest there’s a problem with a certain app in your app suite.
Stage four: Business impact 

Stage four is the pinnacle of a data-driven business. By now, every department is turning actionable intelligence gleaned from your platform into a competitive advantage. Having the discipline to circle back to every campaign and decision to assess the impact is key.

The added benefit of reaching this stage is you’ll be able to add in a comprehensive reporting and projecting layer to your data analysis, giving executive teams the actionable intelligence they need to take the pulse of the business today and to know about any challenges on the horizon for tomorrow.

Through your data dashboard, and assuming you connected revenue data in the harmonization stage, executive teams will be able to track all facets of performance. For example, they will have insight into projected revenues, key metrics like lifetime value, and more.

This level of data maturity is also important for making better licensing decisions. By calculating the impact of existing content and its effectiveness, and tracking performance over time through reporting, it’s easier and more cost-effective to convert trialists and retain subscribers. 

Speeding up the process

Moving from one stage to the next is complex. It can take time, especially if you’re looking to manage this process in-house and having to dedicate internal resources to it, even if the outcome will pay dividends time and time again.

For those who want faster results, there’s a shortcut available. Consider the benefits of buying a data visualization platform vs. building your own. If you do decide to buy, be sure to ask the right questions of the providers you’re looking at to find the platform that is right for your needs.

It’s worth noting that advanced customer data platforms come with several added benefits. They have a range of source collectors available to give you a truly unified view of your service, together with a UI that’s fit for purpose and saves you and your team time. And, perhaps just as importantly, your data dashboard can be set up and running in days or weeks rather than months or years.

Platforms like Wicket Scorecard, which are built for the streaming sector, give visibility into the performance of third-party app stores. Also, a dedicated customer success team to help you get the most out of your investment, with tailored recommendations based on industry best practice.

Want to know more?

Ultimately, you’ll want to pick the optimal route for your needs that will enable a culture of data as quickly and efficiently as possible, making data literacy permeate across all levels of your business.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help, get in touch. Or, if you’d like actionable advice on how to use the data at your disposal to make your content library work harder, download our latest expert guide.

Employing an Audience Insights Platform

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