Insights Blog

Develop Your Strategy Before Engaging the Digital Consumer

Posted by Brice Clinton on September 15, 2017 Topics: ASCENDON BLOG, IBC

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This blog is part of CSG's "What's Your End Game" series, focused on best practices for developing a successful digital content strategy.

As my team and I travel the world to visit communications and entertainment companies that want to be part of delivering an any-time, any-device content experience to consumers, we see many different varieties of strategies and business models taking shape. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share thinking from across the industry to help guide you toward building a better digital content strategy and shaping your business model to better engage with the digital consumer. This series of blogs is called “What’s Your End Game?” - which is truly one of the most important questions that every company that wants to build a consumer content experience should ask.

Deciding what your end game is requires developing an informed understanding of who the digital consumer is. As consumers become more digitally savvy, the experiences they interact with need to offer more than just a pretty face. In the race to create compelling consumer experiences a key factor is often overlooked, which is truly defining the “end game.”  Said another way – consumers are bringing so much pressure to bear on providers to deliver things like the latest movies or the latest episodes of a series, that often strategy follows execution.  

Let’s take a closer look at the new digital consumer and what drives them.

A new era of television consumption

TGIF. Ask any person who grew up in America around my age (35) the first thing that springs to mind when they hear the acronym TGIF and they will invariably tell you - TV. In the 90s, TGIF didn’t just mean ‘Thank God it’s Friday’, it also meant a Friday night appointment viewing television with shows like Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step and Home Improvement. But the days of us gathered around the television at a time determined by a network programmer, watching situational comedies, is somewhat a relic of a bygone era. TV is quickly leaving the boundaries of the living room. Consumers no longer need to conform to TV programming.

In the new landscape of ‘TV viewing’ the power paradigm has shifted and now lies directly with the consumer. Consumers are no longer passive and their connected lifestyle allows them to watch just about anything they want, wherever they happen to be, and on whatever device they have at hand. This shift is a powerful one for the consumer, but also the service provider as they now have myriad ways to reach that consumer and interact with them on-the-go. Direct to consumer digital services (Netflix, HBO NOW) have strongly entered the market (and consumer consciousness), but more often than not this array of content is provided to the consumer by their traditional service provider.

Today’s connected consumer

A ‘give me what I want, when I want it’ mentality is the driving force behind a second evolution taking place in conjunction with the explosion of Internet TV. That second evolution - on screen Consumer Care and Commerce. From a Consumer Care standpoint, when consumers part with money for content, they expect (nearly demand) a certain level of service. Just as consumers desire their viewing to be mobile, they want to care for those viewing relationships online as simply as they can watch TV. Gone are the days of calling up your provider, going through a set of IVR prompts, and eventually talking to an agent to solve the problem. The connected consumer of today wants online, self-help FAQs to solve common problems, an integrated chat to talk back and forth just as they would via text message, or at the very least an email submission solution that provides a quick response.   

Delivering immediate content

That level of immediacy does not stop at customer care alone. Today’s consumers have also come to demand immediate access to the content they feel like watching at that moment -- whether already purchased, or wanting to buy and consume immediately. From live sports events to original content series finales – if a consumer cannot purchase and consume straight away, their experience is compromised and they will likely look to another provider for the next big ‘must see’ event. To service those consumers, providers must be able to complete monetary transactions (if necessary) and deliver desired content on the spot. 

The connected consumer of today, more than ever, requires immediacy. That just-in-time delivery extends across content Consumption, Care and Commerce and is blending together within a new generation of video application experiences to give consumers what they now demand - simple experiences and more control.

We’ll explore those next generation video experiences in the next “What’s Your End Game” blog: Got content? Here’s how to package it for the masses…

For more about mastering the 3Cs of Content, Care and Commerce, visit CSG in Hall 14, Stand M24 during IBC, 15-19 September, or visit us anytime at ascendon.csgi.com.

 

Brice Clinton

Brice Clinton is a Senior Engineer for CSG International and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.