Video Essentials

OTT Subscriptions Lead to an Increase in Targeted Video Ads

NeuLion’s largest customers are focused on driving OTT subscriptions.

One way to keep paying customers around is by giving them lots of interactivity, noted NeuLion executive vice president and co-founder speaking at today’s SVG Digital Summit in New York City. Offering an interactive experience is crucial not just for attracting subscribers, but for getting them to renew. Giving fans the opportunity to personalize their viewing time keeps them interested and leads to higher profits.

Chris Wagner of NeuLion, William Mao of MP and Silva, David Dowd of Tubular Labs, and Matthew Azzarto of Akamai

Chris Wagner of NeuLion, William Mao of MP and Silva, David Dowd of Tubular Labs, and Matthew Azzarto of Akamai

Having OTT subscriber data lets publishers serve targeted video ads on Facebook. Serving targeted ads helps drive down the acquisition cost per subscriber. Facebook has become a nice ad platform for premium video and targeted ads, Wagner noted.

Sharing data from NeuLion, Wagner said clips are driving today’s sport viewing: 54 percent of all video starts are from mobile. Connected TVs average 107 minutes per viewing session, while phone and tablets average 28.5 minutes per viewing session. As OTT services grow, “watch data becomes a really important thing for marketers,” Wagner said.

Media companies, however, are having trouble getting a hold of their viewing data. The current hot video platforms—Facebook Live and Instagram—are walled gardens and they aren’t sharing. But look for that to change in the near future.

Live video viewers are twice as engaged as those watching clips, said David Dowd, vice president of customer growth for Tubular Labs. They’re also more likely to join discussions on social platforms. Sports broadcasters could capitalize on this and hone their offerings, except platform viewing data isn’t filtered down to them. There’s no way to see which moments or camera angles lead to the highest engagement. Dowd expects that to change as broadcasters demand access to their own viewing data.

While some in the industry believe online streaming is hurting sports TV ratings, Dowd says skillful use of online video is growing millennial audiences. He pointed to the NBA’s difficulty in reaching younger viewers, which led to a strategy of posting clips on Instagram highlighting major moments from games. That was a huge success.

“YouTube used to be the place for that. It’s not anymore,” Dowd said. Big teams are not getting behind Instagram because that’s where the passionate fans are.

Pointing to work his company has done with Fox Sports, Dowd noted that today’s viewers are “a very scattered audience,” but that Fox Sports doesn’t care where its views happen. The broadcaster increasingly posts clips and highlights to social channels to increase an audience among cord cutters and recognize just how diverse today’s audience is.

“They are really focused on views and engagement data no matter where it happens, not just broadcast,” Dowd said. He conceded that compensation for online views hasn’t caught up yet, but said broadcasters must look forward and not ignore online viewing.


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