May 3, 2022

Streaming competition is fierce: It’s time to fix content discovery and super-serve consumers

It’s been a whirlwind first month at the top for 24i’s new CEO, Dr Neale Foster. In this blog, he reflects on the people he’s met in his whistle-stop tour of 24i’s offices - and why his love of football is inspiring him to put our customers’ customers at the heart of 24i’s future development!

There could hardly be a more exciting time to be taking the reins at an end-to-end streaming company. Different estimates suggest the global video streaming market will be worth as much as $115.90bn or even $149bn by 2026. But with more services than ever vying for consumers’ attention, competition is also tougher than it’s ever been. Every streaming company is looking for an edge. It’s our job to help them find it. I’m increasingly convinced personalized UX and improved content discovery is the key. 

Focus on the consumer

In my many years working in the B2B media tech space, the most important lesson I’ve learned is to follow the needs of the end consumer. We can’t delight our customer base of OTT and Pay TV service providers if we’re not helping them to delight their own consumers. In today’s climate, that means helping viewers find more of the content they want, more quickly. 

Whether you’re looking for increased advertising revenue from your FAST or AVOD service, or lower churn on your Pay TV or OTT SVOD packages, your business goals depend on effectively and continuously matching consumers and content - and then ensuring the viewing experience is top notch every time, on every device. This focus on the needs of the end consumer is the principle I’ll be applying as we shape 24i’s roadmap for the future. 

Making streaming simple from start to finish

Of course, there’s a mass of technical complexity involved in achieving that goal. Thankfully 24i’s end-to-end, modular streaming platform, 24i Mod Studio offers our customers a highly-configurable solution to that complexity. 

After two years of COVID restrictions, I felt enormously privileged to be able to visit so many of our offices and meet the teams behind our products in person during my first month. What I found is a hugely talented team of streaming experts who are passionate about excellence in streaming experiences. 

I was inspired by their creativity. The backend team is focused on optimizing video and sound quality for both multi-channel live and on-demand streams. The UI team tailors experiences to each unique device type, while the Backstage team enables app branding and content curation through configuration rather than customization wherever possible. 24i’s integration and middleware experts bring the best third-party solutions seamlessly into our ecosystem. And our growing data team collects, analyzes and surfaces user behavior insights that are harnessed to make a more perfect, personalized content discovery experience for each streaming consumer. 

It’s a powerful combination of expertise that enables our customers to get on with super serving their consumers, instead of investing in technical experts of their own.  

Personalized streaming is the future

It’s also been a pleasure to meet current and future customers. An essential part of my role is active listening - gathering anecdotal details that really illustrate our customers’ challenges – and how our product roadmap needs to adjust to help them achieve their goals. 

Every conversation I’ve had cements my conviction that in the next few years, increasing personalization of the streaming user experience will be the thing that sets successful streamers apart from those who get left behind. It’s handy, then, that one of my first jobs as CEO was to celebrate 24i’s acquisition of AI-powered recommendations service The Filter. In this video, you’ll hear more about the importance of personalization as the fierce competition in the streaming sector continues to bite.  

Solving content discovery challenges in an data-rich environment

Perfecting content discovery is not a new challenge - it’s been around since the advent of multi-channel cable and satellite distribution. But the level of data that’s available to us today - both about the content itself and the way that it’s being consumed - opens up amazing new possibilities for matching individual consumers to content that interests them. It’s become clear to me on my travels this past month that so many streaming companies still aren’t using that data effectively. 

As a die hard fan of Liverpool Football Club, all the streaming services I use must now have ample data on my habits to know the content most relevant to me is football-related. And yet none of the leading apps I’ve used for years promote football content to me on my phone. The tools and algorithms exist to achieve this, but they’re not being used. In the face of that fierce competition I mentioned earlier, this is something streamers will all need to get better at. And 24i is excited to help them get there. 

If you’re interested in talking to us about personalization or any other part of our end-to-end streaming offering, why not arrange to speak to one of our team. We’ll be at ANGA COM, Nextv Series Berlin and Connected TV World Summit in the next few weeks. 

By Dr Neale Foster, CEO at 24i
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