SVOD Success Means Using Advanced Data to Get Personal

According to a recent report from IBM Cloud Video about the state of streaming video, leveraging data is the key to making consumers happy. David Mowrey, Vice President of Strategic Planning & Global Alliances at IBM Cloud Video, talks password sharing, pain points and best practices.

Cynopsis: Were you surprised by anything the report revealed?

DavidMowreyMowrey: We were surprised to find that password sharing is not as big of a problem as the industry thought it was. Roughly half of those surveyed reported they had never shared their password. As for those who had shared, 42% shared between family members. Only 4% of respondents reported sharing passwords with friends, roommates, or anyone that asks.

The presence of passive cancellation was also something that I found interesting. You may remember a few quarters back Netflix attributed subscription loss to folks getting new credit cards. Our findings suggest that there is credence to that claim. What’s also noteworthy is that this type of cancellation is more prevalent in 30-44-year-olds. When you think of who controls the purse strings in a household, it makes sense that this would be the case.

Cynopsis: According to the report, why do people cancel their SVOD subscriptions? 

Mowrey: Unsurprisingly, the biggest factor cited as a reason for canceling a SVOD subscription was too much ad content. 27% of respondents cited this as their number one reason for quitting their streaming service. The runners up included cost at 25%, lack of good content at 20%, and technical problems at 17%. Buffering (49%) and delayed start (24%) were the most-cited technical pain points that lead viewers to quit a service.

Cynopsis: What are the best practices for live-streaming video?

Mowrey: The best practices for live-streaming video are the steps you would take to ensure the consumer experience is as seamless as possible. I would say the top three best practices would be:

  • Over prepare for the numbers of viewers you anticipate. If you think you’re going to get 100,000 viewers – plan for 300,000. Nothing is more frustrating in a streaming experience than dealing with buffering or an overloaded server that can’t connect. Whether it’s a live stream or a digital premiere, you must always plan for more than your anticipated peak demand.
  • A live stream is only the beginning of your video’s life-cycle. To get the most value out of your programming, you should convert those live streams into on-demand videos for future viewing. Taking this approach will enable content owners to bolster their video libraries with compelling content that resonates with their audiences.
  • After a live stream, lean on your data to learn even more about your audience. When did most viewers join the stream? Of those who left early, when did they tend to drop off? What does this tell you about what they need and want to experience a satisfying live stream from start to finish? Leveraging advanced data around a live stream will provide invaluable insight into how to better perform in the future.

Cynopsis: What role will data play in the future of cloud video? 

IBMMowrey: Data analytics will not just be playing a role in the future of cloud video, in many ways it is the future of cloud video. Data holds the key to so many of the industry’s growing pains in relation to improving the consumer experience. The more personalized the experience, the more satisfied customers will be.

Even in those cases where you have multiple family members sharing a single account, data can give each member a personalized experience. By comparing general demographic trends across a large population, streaming services can predict how they expect users to consume content, and then can cross-check those patterns with cognitive findings. By looking at the patterns in video consumption against those larger population patterns, providers can determine who is accessing content at a given time and proactively serve that viewer the content they want.

Cynopsis: Where do you see TV in five years?

Mowrey: I think that TV will look quite different in 5 years. While the perspective of your living room experience may not necessarily change, the rate of change in the industry in just the last two years promises things will look different. Just think about the explosion of devices, services, different businesses and monetization models, industry consolidation, social networking impact, etc. I think in the next few years you’ll see an explosion of content availability and a movement toward consolidation on how that content is consumed. Monetization of content is going to be highly competitive and big data will shake out the winners and losers. At IBM, we’re trying to democratize the technology and tools available for our clients to make critical business decisions around their video strategy in order to best navigate the changing landscape ahead.


The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at [email protected]

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