July 10, 2018 | Authored by: Kevin Cancilla
Can aggregated streaming content become an effective monetization strategy?
Streaming is quickly becoming the standard and preferred method for consuming entertainment content. However, as streaming becomes mainstream, subscription-based companies looking to take advantage of the market come up against some of the same themes of competition that affect business in general. That is, big players are only getting bigger and building their own platforms. Disney and Viacom have already made strides toward this — Disney-owned ESPN launched its Plus subscription package in early 2018 for $5 a month. Streaming pioneers like Netflix and Spotify have turned into industry titans, while Amazon has encroached significantly on the market.
Yet despite all this activity from companies with billion-dollar coffers and the means to create their own content and streaming platforms, a way forward still exists for smaller businesses looking to attract customers and generate revenue from streamed video on-demand content. It's called aggregated streaming, and it represents a potential alternative to the capital-intensive competition that small-scale subscription services face.
What is aggregated streaming?
The reality is that startups trying to make inroads in streaming simply don't have the means to license and/or create content like HBO, YouTube or Hulu can. Highly rated series and cinema blockbusters aren't cheap to add to streaming offerings, or may not even be options at all, given agreements made among key industries that restrict platform availability.
Whichever route a company choses can be expensive, so finding a cost-effective way to acquiring or generating content that serves an audience's needs is paramount.
The alternative many businesses are betting on is aggregated streaming. While even Netflix technically aggregates, in that it hosts a variety of content in one location for streaming, streaming aggregators themselves are gaining attention by gathering niche content and channels under one roof for customers looking past the latest network sitcom or docuseries. Instead of playing to the masses, these operations are hyperfocused on providing specific content types (like '60s pulp horrors or other cult favorites) that audiences demand and can't get readily get elsewhere.
Aggregated streaming is sometimes confused with services that trawl existing streaming platforms for content and reviews as third-party to then display to online users interested in finding out where an exclusive series might be available. It's sort of like TV Guide for streaming.
However, an example of the aggregated streaming approach is VRV. A subscription service for streaming video on-demand, VRV has a curated library of content channels and content creators for dedicated fanbases to take advantage of. With affiliated names like CrunchyRoll, RoosterTeeth and Nerdist, as well as internet cartoons, classic anime (Cowboy Bebop and Dragonball Z) and cult movies, VRV takes a focused angle at appealing to the personal tastes of customers with shows that fly below the radar or are internet culture favorites.
According to FierceCable, VRV is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Chromecast and on the web, and so far, it's aggregated streaming approach has worked. FierceCable reported VRV, started in October 2016, has 1.5 million active monthly users.
Another aggregated streaming company making a name is Tubi TV, which has similar high-profile exposure, as the service is available on Playstation 4, Samsung and Sony smart TVs, Roku, iOS and Apple TV. Tubi has a library of over 7,000 titles covering studio feature films to independent films. It's all part of Tubi's plan to amass content and personalize the user experience, rather than sink money into production that might never really hit with audiences.
"... [P]roducing original content financially and creatively [is] risky, and as a result there's a lot of subpar content that viewers reject," Farhad Massoudi, CEO and founder of Tubi, told Found Remote. "That's not our objective. Instead, we're growing what is already the largest library in free streaming, and using our Content Personalization Engine to get viewers relevant content."
How can streaming aggregators monetize?
While streaming aggregation is an enticing opportunity, businesses need to be sure they know how they're going to monetize their platform and streaming content. Tight margins, lack of user engagement and content appeal, or unfamiliarity with subscription services could all hamper efforts to monetize.
Companies that want to succeed will need to take note of a few key points to make streaming aggregation work:
- You need to know what your customers are doing: FierceCable reported the average VRV customer used the service three hours a week, and a premium user five hours. Having data on what content types or formats users interact with most can highlight areas to build up for streaming aggregators.
- You need to be able to bill them competently: Whether your platform is billed on a usage-based rate or flat fee, subscription companies need the tools to bill precisely. Companies must strive to be faultless, or else they may see customers leave for bigger Netflix-styled pastures.
- You have to know what your customers like: Streaming aggregators make their pitch by knowing what niche content customers want, so they have to back that assertion up. Personalizing the user's experience is a high-level priority.
Vindicia can help
As the Subscription People, we understand the challenges streaming aggregators face, and how they need a competent subscription billing platform to monetize. Vindicia has years of experience and the necessary Subscription Intelligence – including millions of data points – that can help inform best practices for streaming aggregators.
With a comprehensive subscription billing solution that allows customers to focus on all stages of the customer lifecycle, Vindicia enables companies to succeed in a growing market. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services and how we can help your business.
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