This past week, Hulu officially released the beta version of its live TV streaming product. It’s real, and it’s competitive. It enters the fray of many live TV streaming products that have either launched or have been announced, including Sony Playstation Vue, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV, Xfinity Instant TV, and YouTube TV. Each of these products offers compelling features at price points lower than traditional Pay TV (satellite, telcos such as Verizon, and cable companies such as Charter Spectrum)—with some like AT&T, Comcast and Dish even cannibalizing their own Pay TV revenues with live TV streaming products.
For these new forms of video offerings to successfully gain customer buy-in and subsequent profitability, they can’t offer everything at rock-bottom prices, at least not forever. Programming costs remain high, even when leveraged with long-standing agreements, and finding the right niche varies not only by platform, but by provider as well.
Does Hulu have an advantage?
There are almost as many different streaming video approaches as there are providers. In a highly competitive, yet new space, providers are looking to make their unique mark to compel consumer uptake. For example, it seems like Hulu has an advantage because it leverages its current subscriber base to take the next step into live TV, making the experience of their legacy subscription video-on-demand model coupled with the live TV streaming product a seamless marriage. It also has the distinct benefit of bringing in live streaming video subscribers who might go elsewhere, thanks to its large video-on-demand library. Then again, it can be argued that YouTube’s dozen years of streaming video experience helps it overcome the well-documented technical glitches that have plagued big-name providers like Sling TV and DirecTV Now.
Yet, I would be remiss to overlook the advantage DirecTV Now has in its ability to take advantage of zero-rating wireless data while watching video and its ability to bundle home internet services through AT&T. And, of course, some lesser providers have focused on sports or premium content to carve out a niche.
So what differentiates one service from another?
Video providers need to ask four fundamental product development questions:
- What do consumers want in a live streaming service?
- What do they want from a specific brand that offers video services?
- Is it different than what other providers offer?
- Is there a market for distinct video offerings based on consumer type?
While all video providers will need to provide a reliable offering that consumers are willing to pay for with at least a baseline suite of features such as competitive programming, multi-platform compatibility and usable guide, it is important that content providers understand their unique strengths. What works best for one offering can be slightly different than that of its competitors. It all comes down to deeply understanding your customers and prospects and uncovering their pain points and unmet needs.
To help companies tap into this coveted customer knowledge, Market Strategies’ telecom research division has designed a product that gathers video consumers’ opinions, attitudes and thoughts at a scale that reveals what will and won’t work for a given video streaming product, whether launched or in the works. It’s called StreamOn™ video streaming research, and it’s highly customizable to your needs.
To learn more about how we are identifying the unmet video consumers’ needs, drop me a line or call 734.542.7771. We are launching this revolutionary new research product soon, and we would love to have you join us.