Anushree Bhardwaj
Guest Article

OTT platforms rely on data analytics as their guiding force when formulating marketing strategies

Our guest author unravels India's OTT surge, showing how data analytics transforms marketing and elevates the viewer experience.

India’s lightning digital adoption has made it one of the biggest on-demand streaming services and entertainment content markets. With a burgeoning digital ecosystem that continues to reshape the country's socio-economic landscape, the country’s OTT industry is at an inflection point.

The growing streaming sector is now paving the way for an exciting era of innovation and competition in the Indian entertainment landscape. While data has always been at the centre of marketing, it's even more important today to delve deeper and understand your target audience and their motivations for the category well.

As more and more consumers turn to streaming to meet their entertainment needs, data analytics of their consumption patterns is taking centre stage in shaping marketing strategies.

As per media consulting firm Ormax Media’s report, India’s OTT market had 130.2 million paying audiences in 2022, with an 18% increase since 2021. This number is expected to grow further, with the Indian M&E industry projected to reach $100 billion by 2030, as per the EY-FICCI report. 

Data analysis has now become the sector’s strongest armament in engineering marketing campaigns as it allows them to dissect consumer behaviour, predict patterns and then tailor their marketing strategies to stand out in the clutter. Knowing consumer journeys, looking at LTVs, and predicting the next area of growth is the most exciting journey marketers can embark on.

Decoding the Indian landscape

India, for any sector, is unlike any market present anywhere else in the world; this is primarily due to its strong heterogeneous mix that is riddled with vast social and cultural variants. When it comes to entertainment, there is an even wider spectrum in terms of language, regionality, and cultural nuances.

This presents both a challenge and a scope for OTT platforms. Slicing and dicing consumer data helps platforms get sharper. E.g. If the data shows that South India prefers consuming action and horror content over other genres, then the communication is tailor-made by leading with those genres.

Increasingly, we are also seeing trends of demand for southern content in other parts of the country as well. Social listening brings forth these opportunities and they are presented to the content team to ensure one is keeping up with consumer chatter and demands.

The era of personalised campaigns

Predictive analytics and data-driven insights are helping OTT platforms understand their audience in finer detail. This includes mapping their demographics, their interests, and their viewing habits, amongst others. This information is then used to engineer a marketing campaign that is personalised for different user cohorts.

So today marketers are creating different campaigns for users who consume in native languages/ regions in the country/genre preferences/ consumer lifecycle and hence there are many pen portraits of ideal TG. These efforts increase the likelihood of subscriber stickiness as they discover and enjoy content that resonates with them.

Breaking the churn cycle

As a price-sensitive market, India faces the curse of churn rate. Here, often resubscription rates are lower than industry standards globally. Data analytics, in this respect, help in churn rate management by identifying at-risk subscribers who may be considering cancelling their subscriptions.

Today we have tools and platforms that help with this analysis and repeated efforts are made to retain these subscribers. By creating different cohorts and hypotheses based on data on consumer actions, marketers are better equipped to define the parameters of a campaign to modify consumer behaviour and route them toward the brands by continuing their subscription. 

Shaping the course of action

The consumer lifecycle gets prolonged after subscribing. However, it is not enough to have them as subscribers alone. OTT Platforms are increasingly looking to build communities of entertainment lovers who cherish and engage with the content available on their platforms. To this effect, data analytics closely looks at the lifecycle of the consumer by engaging with them when they tend to get dormant.

For example, suppose a user is not engaging with the content on the platform within a week of signing up. In that case, they border on becoming inactive and, therefore, are vulnerable to non-renewal. When such users are detected, we interact with them further and nudge them toward their preferred content, revisit their favourites, or remind them to pick up where they left off.

We also keep relooking at our onboarding journeys to ensure we are nudging them in the most important period (subscription date to Day 7).

It is important to note that marketing is always a work in progress. With digitisation, we get the additional gift of tweaking and improving our campaigns continuously. In the future, strategies will be built not just based on consumer behaviour but also on consumer feedback.

OTT platforms will actively incorporate user-generated content and feedback into their marketing strategies. Data analysis will help them identify and amplify user-generated content that positively influences engagement and further develop user loyalty.

At the same time, predictive customer analytics will closely look at customer lifetime value, churn, and future purchases, allowing for more targeted marketing efforts. This will lead to consumers enjoying a distinct and elevated level of personalisation that transforms their entertainment journey into a delightful and engaging experience. 

(Our guest author is Anushree Bhardwaj, Director of Marketing at Lionsgate Southeast Asia)

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