Column: Turning Binge-and-Bolt into Anchor Tenancy by Colin Dixon

(*NoteJennifer Dorian, Soumya Sriraman and Colin Dixon will all be speaking at TVOT NYC 2017, December 7th at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan.)

How do you stop consumers from signing up for a video service, bingeing on shows in the trial period, and then canceling? In this excerpt from the new free nScreenMedia white paper Finders-Keepers: Scenarios in the open market for TV entertainment sponsored by You.i TV, we look at how Turner and BritBox are turning binge-and-bolt behavior into anchor tenancy. 

Binge-and-Bolt behavior is epidemic

According to a study by Paywizard, in December 2015, 31% of consumers said they planned to sign up for a SVOD service during the holiday season. However, a third of those were signing up with the intention of canceling again within six months. 

Binge-and-bolt is one of the hardest facts of life for online video service operators (OVSOs.) They must offer just one month of commitment for most consumers to feel comfortable signing up. However, that means people can sign up for a service, spend hours on end watching a show, and then cancel the service when done. 
The objective for SVOD providers is simple: convince the binge-and-bolt viewers to stick around, and make the service an anchor tenant in their entertainment bundle.

Fresh, first, and finest wins the day

It is ultimately the content, and its relevance to the audience, that determines the success of the service. Effectively deploying the content, however, is critical to addressing the binge-and-bolt phenomenon. According to Soumya Sriraman, President of the new BBC/ITV US SVOD service BritBox, the way her team handles it is by focusing on three core values, or pillars, of the service:

“There are three pillars that we stand for: first, fresh, and finest. We want to be the first to bring you British content that we think you will enjoy watching. We want to bring it to you fresh. There are going to be new things appearing on the service every single day, and some of them will go away if you don’t keep up. This is the finest British television you can find anywhere, the great classics from the libraries of BBC and ITV. The library is where the binge-and-bolt will be happening. How do you play with ‘first’ and ‘fresh’ to minimize the bolt?”

Ms. Sriraman says this strategy has been very successful so far, as very few people have canceled since the service launched in the first quarter of 2017.

The BritBox approach is seeking to demonstrate the full value of the content catalog to the customer base. Doing so is a smart move. Next to cost the second most popular criticism of SVOD services is that there is too little to watch. Conversely, the top reason for staying with a service is that there is plenty to watch.

Filmstruck curates the finest movies to keep service fresh

Fresh and finest are the guiding principles behind the new Turner Classic Movie service, FilmStruck. Speaking at the TV of Tomorrow Show earlier this year, Jennifer Dorian, GM of TCM and FilmStruck, says the service aims to deliver some of the finest movies ever made to an audience that is passionate about them. The experience is heavily curated to ensure that audience is engaged. Each month a fresh set of content is brought to the audience around several themes and focuses. For example, recent themes include Film Noire and Alfred Hitchcock.

A key to the experience is exploring the current themes and focuses. The app interface facilitates this, turning a simple browsing experience into a journey of discovery and delight. It lays out the current themes, allowing the user to step in and explore in more depth. It also provides a simple browsing mechanism that gets right to the movies. The FilmStruck interface handles the most difficult of balancing acts in UX design: it engages a new customer immediately while providing lasting value to the regular user.

You can read lots more about how real online video services are achieving their goals by downloading the free nScreenMedia white paper Finders-Keepers: Scenarios in the open market for TV entertainment. As well, make sure to attend TV of Tomorrow show in New York on December 7th where you will be able to hear Soumya Sriraman and Jennifer Dorian discuss topics such as this. 


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