February 18, 2021

The best UX is invisible: Why content owners can’t afford to ignore the advice of our streaming customers

Video streaming apps have come a very long way in the 15 years since I joined the industry. From Real Player, Quicktime and Windows Media Player we find ourselves in a multi-DRM, multi-device, multi-billion dollar industry of SVOD, TVOD and AVOD. But one thing remains constant - if the user experience (UX) is lousy, consumers will go get their content somewhere else.

That’s the message that came across loud and clear when we interviewed six of our customers about their experiences of running streaming services for our recent Whitepaper, Tales from the OTT Frontline. And it’s the message that seems to have resonated most with the many people who’ve contacted me to share their own frontline stories since the whitepaper was published. We certainly hit a nerve!

Getting the user experience right is fundamental to video streaming success

Amid the fascinating real-life stories from OTT services like Pure Flix, Broadway HD and Flow Sports, there was one line that really stuck in my head:

The irony about great UX is that it’s almost invisible to the average consumer who simply finds and enjoys the content they love. It’s when UX goes bad that consumers really take notice.”

Isn’t that the truth? 

How many of us take a great user experience for granted until it’s unexpectedly absent? A sudden Wi-Fi outage reminds us how much we rely on the internet for the function of our daily lives and makes us contemplate switching to a more reliable provider. Equally, a frustrating content search experience or a period of buffering before our video starts will remind us that we’ve had a better user experience on other services. 

Churn Reduction isn’t just about content

Of course your content library needs to be top-notch and that’s a key part of winning and keeping consumers whatever kind of business model you’re operating. You also need to make sure that the process of getting to that content is as simple as possible, so your user interface (UI) needs to have simple and intuitive navigation, useful personalization features, a powerful search function, flexible thematic categories, and smart recommendations. It also needs to offer a consistent experience across all consumer devices so users can switch between platforms effortlessly. 

But a great UI also needs a strong technical foundation to ensure a great UX. Of all the many lessons to learn from our customers in the whitepaper, this quote from Marc Beckwitt of Pure Flix really nails it. “It all starts and stops with the consumer and keeping them happy. A big portion of that is their user experience. You’ve spent money on the acquisition cost, the last thing you want to do is re-spend money on re-acquiring them for silly things - because the app is crashing, or the streaming quality wasn’t good.”

The true enemy is indifference

Happy customers are more willing to add services or upgrade their existing package. But more than that, happy customers are “sticky” customers. Research by industry analyst Estaban Kolsky found only one out of every 26 unhappy customers complains. The rest churn. We’d all do well to remember his advice “A lesson here is that companies should not view absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference.”

If you’d like to upgrade your user experience on every kind of connected device, take a look at what 24i’s Appstage could do for your business. 

By Linda Abrams, Head of Business Development, N. America

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