By Dan Hurwitz, Chief Revenue Officer, Penthera
Mobile video download has become a feature that users rely on to solve some of their most persistent viewing issues. When they are somewhere without service — or when a finicky connection plagues them with constant buffering and interruptions— downloaded content comes to the rescue, letting them watch hi-definition content offline, seamlessly.
However, the ubiquity of mobile video download is still primarily limited to subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, like Netflix, Showtime, Amazon Prime, and others. Ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services haven’t hopped on board to offer the same capabilities to their viewers. That’s largely because advertising makes implementing download more complex so, historically, the technology hasn’t existed to implement ad-supported download.
But now, download for AVOD technology has entered the market, and AVOD providers should take advantage of this enormous business opportunity. Here are the top reasons AVOD providers should finally add offline mobile viewership to their offerings.
- Feature parity: As mentioned earlier, most SVODs already include a mobile download feature as part of their product. That means users have come to expect the ability to watch wherever they go, regardless of connectivity. AVODs who don’t provide download will disappoint users who hope to watch video on their mobile devices without interruption.
- Consumer loyalty: Would you rather use a service that works 70% of the time or 100% of the time? This is the question that users face when it comes to download, because without offline viewing there will be many times they cannot access online video from their mobile devices. In these moments of poor connectivity, users will still be able to use those OTT apps that let them download, and they’ll come to understand that app as having more value, since it truly enables them to watch 100% of the time. That means apps that don’t offer download are losing viewer engagement when customers don’t have adequate wifi — and it also means they’re sacrificing customer loyalty to their competitors.
- Competition: The OTT industry is at a pivotal moment. In recent years, it has seen immense growth, and more and more companies have thrown their hat in the ring of streaming video. In 2019 that growth is accelerating, and some of the biggest media and tech companies are rolling out their own OTT apps. The reality is that every service will not be able to survive in the long run, and that means the competition is going to become even more fierce. Not having basic features that users love, like download, ensures that a service won’t make the final cut.
- The ad experience is crucial: Though SVODs often get the spotlight when people talk about the future of OTT, studies show again and again that users enjoy getting content for free—and don’t mind watching ads in exchange for it. But this is, of course, predicated on ads not being too annoying. Ads need to weave into content seamlessly, but when streaming on spotty wifi or a poor cellular connection, ads can become a serious impediment to enjoying content. The only thing more frustrating for a user than a buffering video is a buffering ad. Having to wait for an ad makes the deal for free content no longer a bargain. Download solves this by having ads and content both play without delay.
- App store reviews: Users frustrated by a poor user experience don’t hesitate to share their opinions in the App Store. Look at the App Store reviews for any major streaming provider and you’ll see countless reviews (positive and negative) detailing their experiences with load times, buffering, and the inability to watch content. Negative reviews about the user experience can decimate your App Store rating and impact your bottom line: since consumers use ratings to assess an app’s value, poor reviews will decrease adoption from potential new viewers.
- Money on the table: For AVOD providers, there’s a simple truth: more views = more money. When users can’t watch offline, there are numerous situations when they can’t engage with content: when commuting, when traveling, when their connection is weak. These are valuable moments in consumers’ lives when they want to watch, and AVOD providers who offer ad-supported download increase the number of times and locations their viewers can tune in. That directly translates to more a lot more ad views and a lot more revenue from those ads. Plus, this is completely new inventory for buyers—and a unique opportunity to reach and monetize a more engaged audience for the first time. Not having download has the opposite effect: there will be more moments viewers won’t be able to tune in and therefore won’t be able to view ads. For streaming providers who rely on ad views to generate revenue, this is engagement you literally can’t afford to lose.
Daniel Hurwitz boasts more than 20 years of experience in digital marketing/media, AdTech, EdTech, and HealthTech and is well versed in technology solutions to support mobile and video. A start-up specialist, Hurwitz led Sales at Evergage, GoNoodle, and MapMyFitness (acquired by Under Armour in 2013).