vintage TV
The next generation of TV will be driven by the quality of the viewing experience. PHOTO: Sven Scheuermeier

Over the past 10 years, the video delivery business has undergone a seismic shift: more companies are moving into the over-the-top content (OTT) space as traditional TV services are looking into new ways to grow their businesses.

We’ve learned the next generation of TV will not be driven strictly by content, but also by quality of viewing experience (QoE) — the measure of a customer's experiences with a service.

High bitrates, low video re-buffering and quick video startup are some of the critical factors that contribute to a high-quality viewing experience and, in turn, high viewer engagement; the lack of these attributes can actually turn viewers away.

OTT Meets AVOD

Research from Strategy Analytics predicts that OTT market growth will be driven by advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD). While video delivery across the open, unpredictable internet presents its share of challenges, it also offers a plethora of opportunities for businesses that are able to measure and analyze viewer data effectively.

Therefore, the same quality of experience rules that apply to streaming video content now also apply to AVOD providers and advertisers. In a nutshell, insights into viewer experience and engagement data give publishers a more complete picture of advertising reach and efficacy that they can’t get with today’s traditional TV metrics.

Here’s how:

Take the guesswork out of ad duration, frequency and placement

Too often, companies determine ad placement with little insight into how the frequency, duration and location of ads within streaming content impacts engagement. This is a dangerous proposition as ‘guessing’ incorrectly when it comes to ad strategy can negatively impact a business’ bottom line.

The types of data that the AVOD industry can now measure include ad plays, ad breakages, ad abandonment and ad blockages. These allow publishers to better understand the viewers’ quality of experience and – more importantly – determine when this viewing experience becomes compromised. This presents the ability to alter ad strategies in real-time and illuminate any issues pertaining to the delivery of the content.

Advertising in OTT is a vitally important piece of the viewing experience puzzle - providers need to ensure they’re fostering an environment with high quality content and ad streaming experiences to keep consumers engaged and avoid losing viewers.

Listen to consumers, they have the answers

During the dominant days of traditional TV, it was difficult for video providers to understand audience engagement – the observed viewing habits and tendencies of their customer base.

Yes, we had access to basic audience exposure metrics, but this simply told publishers who was watching a show. With limited accuracy, providers would sell advertisers a ‘best-case scenario’ value proposition in which audience exposure was the metric (nay, the backbone) that determined failure or success.

Now, in the data-rich OTT industry, publishers are able to capture a more complete picture of viewer engagement, gaining insight into what consumers are willing to watch, and when, where and how they will tolerate advertisements.

By adjusting the placement, frequency and duration of ads, publishers can find the optimal advertising balance for each type of streaming content — the more satisfied viewers are the more revenue publishers can command. It’s this education, as a complement to traditional TV metrics, which is shifting the balance of power in the industry.

Optimized, Data-Driven Strategy

Behold the following value proposition: an educated and informed publisher works with advertisers to create an optimized, data-driven ad strategy; consumers are more receptive — and willing to tolerate — ads that match their viewing patterns, so advertisers are willing to pay a premium to have an increased chance of eyeballs finding their brand and better insights into the ones that don’t.

It comes full-circle.

With that said, the industry as a whole is only scratching the surface of understanding how advertising and AVOD affects video engagement.

AVOD providers and publishers that aren’t striving to take the guesswork out of ad placement, frequency and duration are at a serious risk of losing viewers and leaving money on the table.

If the events that have transpired in the streaming market are anything to go by, it won’t be long before quality of experience and engagement data will separate the winners from the losers in the race for AVOD dominance.