It’s so easy to fall into a hypnotic and endless cycle of browsing.
Most millennials can relate to this scenario. We come home from work, order Seamless and sit down to watch something mindless. Since many of us have cancelled cable, we have a bundle of different OTT providers, with different levels of access to the latest shows, live sports, HBO, etc.
If there is zero flagship content, we boot up Netflix on our Apple TV, and we start scrolling through the grid.
10 minutes pass…
20 minutes pass…
Suddenly, it’s past 10:00 PM, the dogs need to be walked, and it’s time to pass out, since 6 hours of sleep per night doesn’t cut it for a 30+ year old.
Cord-cutting and the Paradox of Choice
The familiar scenario outlined above is a perfect example of what behavioral psychologists call “The Paradox of Choice.” The more choices that are presented to a consumer, the less likely they will choose a satisfactory outcome.
Anyone who has followed the cable/broadcast industry for the past few years is well aware of the ever growing shift in cord-cutting. A greater portion of the population no longer subscribes to traditional cable and instead opts for newer platforms. Talk to anyone under the age of 25, and they will confirm that this is the trend.
For consumers, this is the epitome of a phenomenal first world problem: Netflix offers its subscribers thousands of titles of all different genres, right at their fingertips. Add in the vast libraries of HBO GO, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, not to mention real-time user generated content such as YouTube and Twitch, and the average consumer has enough streaming entertainment to last several lifetimes. Hence, the paradox of choice effect.
For media companies, this already exacerbates a growing problem of consumer distraction. Giving consumers the choice to opt-in to your media makes it even tougher to win the battle for attention and requires a greater investment in either production quality or marketing. For smaller brands that lack the resources, this is a significant disadvantage, and driving viewer engagement in on-demand OTT is still a struggle. Fortunately, technology already exists to help both small and large brands solve this problem.
Instant-On Creates Audience Engagement in an On Demand Medium
So what’s the solution? Apply a lesson from traditional TV: traditional, curated linear programming tailored to the viewer’s tastes with subscriber data. Big tech companies such as Netflix launched their instant-play feature specifically to build on user momentum because their data revealed that once a user had completed an episode, they would be more likely to watch another if the platform removed all friction. By auto-playing content, you engage that user immediately as they may decide what to watch next.
MAZ partners that power their OTT with our content logistics system have seen tremendous spikes in engagement using Instant-On. Law and Crime has owned channels across AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Over 50% of users watch their live courtroom feeds, yielding double the engagement times compared to Law & Crime’s back library of historic high profile trials. Instant-On drops its audience right into high tension programming where the outcomes are still uncertain and people’s very livelihoods are at stake.
Even a premium, subscription brand like Outside TV uses Instant-On to improve its viewing metrics. The channel recently switched their default feed on Roku to Instant-On and immediately increased their minutes watched by 2x. Many cord-cutters throw on TV as background entertainment while they are cooking dinner or surfing Instagram. Outside is a textbook case of how a brand that is successfully curating their best shows to remove that on-demand friction point and drive more ad impressions and higher revenue.
What We Can Learn from Traditional TV
There are few modern consumers who would argue that the shift to on-demand services hasn’t delivered incredible value. And yet, there are still killer features from traditional TV that brands of all sizes must incorporate to create a successful OTT app experience. Instant-On can create that simulated live experience that your audience enjoys, and content logistics systems like MAZ can help you aggregate your latest and greatest content to improve your audience engagement.
From the user’s perspective, sometimes it’s comforting to simply push the on button and have all of your evening’s entertainment curated for you. It sure beats paying $11 a month to stare at a grid of rectangles for 30 minutes every evening.