Each viewer has a different set of user preferences. The service provider that understands and meets those needs will be the winner.
There is an unprecedented transformation occurring in the TV platform, from a rigid, linear TV experience to one of flexible fluidity in the OTT and multiscreen worlds. More than half of today’s TV viewers say they now watch their favourite show via an online TV platform. For providers such changes mean the consumer’s needs must be the focal point for new services.
So, what’s next? We believe it is time to focus on refining the experience, raising the bar, and enhancing and adapting the UX to make it applicable to every customer’s needs. Now is the time to create a dynamic and personalised TV platform. Now that multiscreen delivery is accessible, it is time to make it amazing.
The Best Isn’t Good Enough
The most recent Ericsson ConsumerLab TV and Media study suggests that within three years 50% of all viewing will be done on a mobile screen. The evidence is that consumers are accessing OTT platforms more than ever before, and on multiple devices. In fact, a large majority of consumers rely more on multiscreen delivery and OTT than they do on linear providers to access content.
That doesn’t mean that one size fits all. You wouldn’t sell the same car to Lewis Hamilton as you would to a farmer, and the same principle should be applied to multiscreen delivery. Optimisation is key to developing the best and most dynamic UX for the customer.
Research that we conducted last year explored the differences in behaviour amongst consumers. For example, a middle-aged couple in full time work is going to require a simple UX that echoes the format of linear TV, whereas a more digitally experienced student will want to access content whilst multitasking. We have found that the desires of different consumers can be vastly dissimilar, and not just in terms of content.
The platform interface should be tailored according to each customer’s profile. It is important to understand what every particular customer requires from their multiscreen experience, considering the time spent on the platform, and cater to that specifically. Not everyone needs all the whistle and bells on their platform, any more than a local farmer needs a set of carbon ceramic brakes and a crash helmet while driving a tractor. Sometimes “the best” just simply isn’t appropriate for everyone. In fact, what is the best to one customer may in fact be annoying to another. A successful multiscreen TV platform needs to keep this in mind.
The challenge, then, is how to build “the best” without resorting to the lowest common denominator or risking alienating a large chunk of the target audience.
When it comes to multiscreen delivery, not only does the platform need to cater to each consumer’s specific demands, but it is also imperative that the content and delivery is seamless over every screen, and meets the demands of each screen.
Understanding the behaviours and characteristics of the viewer, and multiple devices can be utilised to create the best user experience possible for the consumer, as opposed to developing the highest calibre, or most recent technologically advanced delivery. It isn’t about the platform anymore, it is all about the consumer, and what they desire from the platform. The battle to make multiscreen delivery accessible has been achieved, and now it is important to make it applicable to the many customers that use it.
So, how can we reach an understanding of what the customer desires, and ultimately, requires? It is time to start really looking at the consumer as a specific person as opposed to a large group.
There are multiple generations within society, from Generation X to the Baby Boomers, and in terms of technology – some are fluent whilst others are newcomers. This means that their approach to both television content, and technology, can be vastly different.
To provide a useful and engaging platform it is important to understand how to meet the varying needs. How can a dynamic and tailored UX be achieved to a suitable standard in a manner that doesn’t involve literally asking every consumer what it is they would desire? Of course, all providers have an analytics departments constantly keeping track of viewing habits, and are constantly working tirelessly to gather and utilise data to do this.
It is also important to take into consideration the time of the day that customer will be accessing content, or if they are likely to binge a series, and tailor the content to these needs. Sometimes even preferences in content can help determine the consumer’s traits and what they are likely to require from their service. The collection of data is the key to understanding the consumer. The next step forward is to understand that the development of a tailored UX that is suitable to the consumer is exceptionally valuable.
First take into account the consumption of content. This can be achieved through experimentation of the UX and determining the engagement with the new platform by specific age groups. Building data profiles based on engagement can be constructive to evaluating the suitability of the UX. This is beneficial for both the consumer and the provider, as once the relevant data is collected it can be used efficiently to dynamically present an applicable user interface.
Paving The Way Forward
In the competitive world of broadcast, consumers have a huge variety of content at their fingertips. Service providers have a responsibility to pave the way forward, to drive innovation and to make sure that what we do actually benefits consumers, both en masse and as individuals.
By continuing the development of multiscreen to enhance the UX by making it tailored to each consumer, providers will attract and retain more viewers and provide the highest level of service. Having a platform with all the bells and whistles shouldn’t be recognised as the best. Instead, creating dynamic and tailored platforms that are most applicable to the consumer, is the best way forward for the industry.
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