Video-on-demand services continue to conquer the OTT market; the most known platforms already attained more than 200 million subscribers each. However, with dozens of apps and subscriptions, customers start to notice how streaming services eat into their monthly budget.
Although AVOD is growing faster than SVOD in the USA, still both options can truly face the challenges of reaching more viewers and reducing decision fatigue. While regular advertisements can interrupt the flow of the show, the free nature of the service becomes an edge in the market overflowing with subscription models.
In turn, AVOD services have become a gateway for independent creators, producers, and delivery platforms. For them, one of the most important benefits is the sheer audience numbers, with more than 50% of US digital viewers choosing AVOD as their primary source of content. Though, it doesn’t end here – this model is easier to penetrate in comparison with SVOD, where media giants may enforce strict sets of rules for any published content.
While it is not exactly a Wild West in terms of content regulation, AVOD presents itself as one of the perfect ways to promote your content, with a huge reach both to viewers and advertisers, a low barrier to entry, and lucrative possibilities. How exactly can we take advantage of the model, and what are the most important aspects?
How to promote your content on CTV: Content Aggregators and Personal Channels
Although AVOD user numbers are among the highest on the market, the content will not gain the necessary edge just by utilizing the model. The key to success lies in making your content visible, which can be achieved by distributing it evenly across many leading OTT devices. While there are several ways to achieve that, two approaches remain the most efficient ways to boost and maintain the content’s relevance: Independent Apps & Content Aggregators. So, let’s take a look at each of them.
1. Independent applications
More than 60 percent of the user base finds that navigating different subscription services has become a tiresome and frustrating task. The current algorithms often fail to provide engaging shows, leaving customers with arrays of randomized shows that do not take users’ tastes into consideration.
A way to combat that is to create a unique and independent channel for CTV platforms. It solves several issues at once. For one, it provides a tightly packed place for those customers who are already familiar with the creators’ content, allowing them to instantly jump right into well-liked series. Additionally, the personal app can exist on several platforms at once, not only maximizing the reach but also letting your loyal viewers choose the option that best suits them.
Being Direct-To-Customer, also known as D2C, apps also provide more ways to engage with your customers, including enticing promotions, offers, personalized profiles, and your own recommendation lists. The most important benefit, however, is being able to set your own rules and pace with no influence from aggregators. You will need to adhere only to the global rules of the platform you publish the app on. This means a free choice of the schedule, app design, engaging means, and prices.
2. Content aggregators
For some customers, navigating through several applications can be bothersome. 58% of surveyed viewers noted that they would prefer a cross-search function over having several individual applications. For some of the customers, a variety of different genres comes first – a preference that aggregator channels anticipate.
Put simply, aggregators collect media from multiple sources and stream it on their own platform. This approach allows them to explore different genres and styles and diversify their shows as much as possible. If the provider decides to publish their shows via an aggregator channel, they may have to follow stricter rules in terms of suitable content and may not have the same access to the viewer as they would with an app. Additionally, content owners have no say in things like the publishing schedule and the overall quality control of the network since these are controlled by the aggregator team. This dependence can be a problem for those who seek interaction with their audience beyond publishing content.
Aggregators are perfect for smaller independent creators and distributors, as they do not require any technological know-how or a substantial budget. A content owner can also try and distribute their media to several aggregators at a time, and most of them provide robust security features to prevent fraud or abuse. However, as aggregators take it upon themselves to manage the app, distributors will have to share a part of the revenue and will have little say on airing times and prices.
Comparison of Content Promotion Strategies: Making a Choice
While several other promotion strategies exist, distributors mainly utilize aggregators and personal apps due to their effectiveness and popularity. However, the final choice depends on many factors, including the amount of content, its type, desired reach, budget, and the already existing user base. What exactly are the pros and cons of each method, and how should the content owner proceed?
For many distributors, the biggest pitfall is usually funding. Developing your custom app requires a starting budget – something that smaller content owners may not necessarily have. In such cases, aggregators have the upper hand, requiring no investment apart from acquisition and/or production costs. However, the app does not have to be built from scratch since video distribution platforms may offer app development services. This can not only help to reduce the cost but also streamline the development process and avoid major risks connected with it.
Revenue is yet another crucial factor, as it greatly differs between these two strategies. While aggregators do not require an upfront cost, they take their own share of the revenue gained from your content. It differs from one platform to another, but generally can reach up to 50%, cutting the gains in half. While some services offer a one-time fee, they are few and far between. In comparison, the app guarantees that 100% of the revenue will flow right into your account, maximizing the profit from the media.
Summing up, apps require greater upfront costs but will pay off much better in the long term. Aggregators are ideal when the budget is limited, but they will significantly reduce any revenue gained.
The amount of work depends on the chosen strategy as well. As your own creation, the custom app will require a constant stream of work put into it, including scheduling, coding, promo materials preparation, publishing, marketing, and viewer engagement. While all of these tasks can also be assigned to distribution services, which will work on creating the app, these factors may be a turn-off for someone who wishes for a more automated approach.
Aggregators, on the other hand, usually manage everything on their own, with the only input from the distributor being sending the work. Sending it, however, is not an easy task; content owners need to fill out a file describing every content unit sent and its metadata. The latter, usually, has to be created manually from nothing.
Media giants such as Amazon may also provide sizable marketing support via their services, making it easier on the content owner. However, transferring management tasks to aggregators will also mean less freedom of choice in content promotion.
In other words, aggregators make it simple to get your content seen without putting in too much effort, sacrificing freedom of choice in favor of automation. In contrast, apps require more attention but will allow you to regulate the process at any time.
User retention has always been a key profit factor for distributors, as user acquisition costs are always higher than retention ones. High churn rates may just spell doom for any promising project – and when it comes to the promotion strategy, apps and aggregator channels also differ greatly.
Aggregators combat this issue just by their nature; the customer may not be happy with one of the shows but is unlikely to cancel their subscription just because of it. This innate protection allows lesser aggregator channels to have lower churn rates than their app counterparts. Bigger companies may provide a whole set of benefits to counter the churn – Amazon Prime offers way more than just videos. It shows: as an OTT partner, it has a 25% lower churn rate than their competitors.
Custom apps do not have any such guarantees. The churn rate here is dictated exclusively by the marketing and retention choices of the owner. On one hand, it can help lower the rate with far better results than the distributor would see by partnering with an aggregator. However, it may be just the opposite, meaning big losses for the content owner.
Aggregators have their own churn rate; a boom in popularity for an aggregator means higher profits for the distributor. However, it can almost never be influenced. Apps’ churn rate is dictated by the owners, and great expertise can make it shine.
An app owner is the be-all and end-all of their creation. Their expertise does not just concern churn rates but is reflected in every nook and cranny of the app. The UX design, availability of the app on different platforms, publishing of new series, programming, troubleshooting, and content promotion on CTVs – any change or action is possible at any time. The user experience is solely dictated by the app; it is a great chance to come out on top through knowledge and experience.
Aggregators are extremely restrictive in that matter. Distributors have no say in the design philosophy and direction of the channel, with their only input being the published show. While it can be great to rely on the expertise of a big platform, any mistakes it makes will instantly reflect on your own revenue and viewers. It also leaves few opportunities to promote your media specifically among the dozens of different shows from other content owners, as well as few ways to communicate with the user base.
Apps give full access to the control panel, while aggregators strip distributors of any major authority. For bigger owners with an established reputation, it can be a deciding factor, while smaller ones may not be bothered with it as much.
Creating an app can be a first step to building your own brand; as the number of shows and users grows, so will brand recognition. With freedom of management and access to analytics, it is easier to correct courses of action, avoid pitfalls, and leave the users happy with the experience. For any up-and-coming distributor aspiring to secure a niche in the CTV world, a custom app will become a must sooner or later.
Aggregators leave fewer opportunities in that respect. While customers will still be acquainted with your shows, they will leave fewer imprints because they are just one of many pieces of aggregated content. As marketing options are restricted as well, branding becomes a very difficult task when using aggregator channels.
While it is still possible to increase your brand’s recognition with aggregators, apps are much more effective in that regard. If developing a brand is one of the priorities, a custom app will be necessary.
Final Thoughts on the Promotion Your Content on CTV
TV is slowly being phased out by OTT, with 87% of Americans owning a CTV device. This change was provoked by several factors, but for many, it was the ability to choose their content and watch it without any paid subscriptions. This and many other upsides resulted in the CTV industry acquiring a huge audience; reaching it, however, is still a sizable task.
With dozens of platforms and devices, settling on just one is not going to cut it. To make the cut, producers will need to use as many OTT mediums as possible to maximize their viewer numbers.
Content owners can launch an app by coding it themselves and then publishing it on different services. This gives you complete control over your content and how it is distributed with the least amount of outside influence.The process is fairly straightforward:
- Establish the user interface, content library, monetization model, and features.
- Build the application from scratch.
- Distribute it to various CTV platforms via services such as the most popular CTV platform in the USA Launchpad.
- As you go, fine-tune the monetization costs, user experience, and other settings.
- Use analytics to your advantage to make changes whenever they are required.
Alternatively, producers can hire help from outside, using CTV channel development companies to assist with all the aforementioned steps.
Another choice is to use aggregator channels. This is a simpler option suitable for inexperienced creators or producers. It works like this:
- Contact different aggregator channels on many CTV platforms.
- Pitch them your content and see if they would like to stream it on their channels.
- Make the deal and enjoy the profit.
There is no universal answer to the question of content promotion strategy. But to make the most out of your content, a CTV niche is nonetheless necessary, be it an aggregator channel or your very own application.