Building a Sustainable Streaming Business With Data

Now that streaming is firmly established as a viewing platform, it’s time for businesses to embrace the next stage of the streaming video revolution: creating a sustainable, profitable streaming business. Getting viewers to tune in and stay on your platform requires attention to new data points and analysis.

How do you manage your streaming platform to ensure success? There are three key areas publishers should continue to evaluate, and having the right data to measure each them is essential.


How are you driving people to your platform?

In an increasingly competitive streaming world, getting in front of new audiences is essential. Investing in paid marketing and leveraging your owned social media is an expensive and heavy lift, so it’s very important to be strategic about who you are reaching with what message and where.

The who can be answered with analysis into what your existing audience looks like. You need to know what content your heaviest users watch, where they are located, and what their demographic make-up is.  Creating audience segments based on these behaviors and insights can be a great way to target new, similar audiences.

Understanding what content viewers are joining your platform to watch is all essential. This can inform what content to market most heavily, and even what you want to invest in for the future.

Where you reach users is another vital component. An analytics tool should allow you to track what promotions convert users, including both social and other paid campaigns. This can help you to optimize how you are investing in promotions and double down on what is working.

The data you need to help you win new viewers:

  • Understand who your newly acquired viewers are and why they stick around, leverage lookalike segments as promotional targets.
  • Surface the content that drives the most new viewers in promotions.
  • Identify your best performing campaigns or channels and double down on your investments.
  • Measure the impact of social media on your viewer acquisition strategy.


How are you keeping people on your platform after they watch the content that they first came for?

Now that you have people on your platform, how are you making sure viewers stick around? With so many different options to watch, creating a loyal viewer base ensures a strong ROI from your viewer acquisition activities. Once again, data is a crucial part of managing continued platform engagement and viewer retention.

Leveraging insights into content pathing and viewer patterns can help you personalize the experience for viewers. Creating playlists that surface content that similar viewers enjoyed is one way to create a sticky platform for your viewers. Understanding what content is enjoyed by the most leaned-in users or is most “bingeable” can help you make decisions on what to promote in content carousels or in email campaigns. Content affinities can also be used to make informed programming decisions on live feeds, increasing a viewer’s time on platform.

Creating marketing plans targeted at specific segments, such as viewers who are likely to be excited by a new comedy show or have been dormant for the last month, can help increase engagement. Understanding viewer behavior associated with churn or engagement can help a marketing team make decisions about the right time and right message to push out users.

“Viewers today don’t just come to streaming services for the hits their friends are talking about; they like to browse and discover new content that the service bubbles up for them, with 43% of streamers discovering content through recommendations from their streaming services while watching or via email. Owning your algorithm to provide relevant recommendations and providing rich content recommendation experiences through segmentation can drive deeper engagement within a catalog.” – Conviva Content Discovery Report

The data you need to best energize your new, ongoing, and high-risk viewers:

  • Segment viewers based on consumption patterns and surface surprising content affinities and help you to develop content playlists that will keep viewers tuned in even after they are done binging their first show.
  • Know the patterns for your most engaged viewers to market to them with personalized experiences and convert customers with low engagement.
  • Understand content affinities to take advantage of live and tentpole events with smart programming decisions that can help you to convert spikes in traffic into loyal users.
  • Identify behaviors of viewers likely to churn and build marketing campaigns targeted at these high-risk viewers surfacing new content or new devices where they can download your app.


How are quantifying the ROI of your content, balancing ad load with experience, converting trials to subscriptions, and opening new revenue streaming like branded content promotion?

Building a profitable streaming platform requires data to make decisions on what to invest in and how to unlock multiple revenue streams.

Viewer behavior data can provide confidence for important negotiations over content acquisition, or even support the company in deciding what new content to develop. Insights into what content drives viewers and subscriptions, keeps viewers engaged during ad breaks, and leads to heavy social chatter takes some of the guess work on how much to spend on a show.

This same data can be used to understand how to optimize trial lengths and conversions, making sure you run promotions that lead to tangible revenue outcomes. Engaging with customers during trials and ensuring they are getting a good taste for your platform’s content can only be done with the right insights into the viewers.

Understanding viewer engagement can help services decide how to manage ad loads and find the right balance between what will keep viewers tuned in and drive the most revenue. This delicate balance should be A/B tested across different content and device types.

Branded content, for instance, is a tried-and-true way to drive revenue. It is content produced or paid for by an advertiser but posted and distributed by a publisher or content producer across streaming and social. Nielsen found that marketers get a 50% higher brand lift when advertisers distribute their content with a premium publisher than when they publish on their own. But to prove value to both the publisher and the advertiser, cross-platform, accurate, and consistent data is paramount. Same with understanding how trials become subscriptions. With the right data, you can identify how and why viewers eventually convert and replicate those results.

The data you need to boost your bottom line:

  • Identify what content is providing you the best ROI—including ad impressions and new subscribers.
  • Determine what converts a trial user to a subscriber, so you can make that a sustainable marketing tactic.
  • Leverage analytics to A/B test ad breaks and ensure you are balancing revenue-driving ad load with viewer engagement.
  • Utilize a single source of reporting across streaming and social to determine benchmarks and know exactly what content will resonate with intended audiences.

It’s important to invest in an analytics solution that will make it easy to track and optimize performance in all three of these areas, not just one or two.

The next blogs in our series on using data to build a sustainable streaming business will explore each of these areas in depth. For now, you can learn more about acquisition in our Four Ways to Use Data to Improve Customer Acquisition for Streaming Video eBook.