Advanced Television

Study: US TV failing on data-driven customer engagement

April 3, 2019

According to a study of major US broadcasters, pay-TV operators, telcos and OTT service providers from pay-TV subscription, billing and customer relationship management (CRM) specialist Paywizard, none are currently making the most of their data to more effectively engage customers and prospects, and most are near the beginning of their analytics journey. Yet the research also reveals, across the board, that providers see customer experience as crucial for timely subscriber engagement and rank it as a top strategic priority for their business.

The research, based on a series of in-depth interviews with C-level executives, shows US standalone online video platforms are leading the way in the deployment of analytics and are more advanced in their use of sophisticated techniques – but still aim to make further progress – while Telcos struggle most to utilise customer data to build their video businesses. The study, which follows a report on the European market released in October 2018, also found that service providers in the US are ahead of those in Europe in their level of analytics adoption but still have far to go.

It is a common misconception in the media industry that customer engagement is all about content recommendations,” advises Bhavesh Vaghela, Paywizard’s Chief Executive. “There is such a huge focus on content consumption, however this is only one part of the entire customer journey a consumer experiences when engaging with a TV service. It’s clear that US pay-TV providers are still struggling to use subscriber data to understand their customers’ needs and drive action throughout the customer lifecycle – such as highly targeted offers and precisely-timed communications. What really struck home was the fact that most are admittedly unable to do that, so there remains a large gap between where operators are and where they want to be.”

The report, Customer analytics in the post-OTT age: Insights from US service providers, reveals that most operators fail to even consider using data analysis to increase revenue from existing customers and few are employing analytics to improve billing accuracy – which previous Paywizard research has shown to be a major annoyance for customers.

“Overall, US operators think that applying analytics to predict churn and win back lost subscribers has the most positive impact on their overall business performance,” notes Ben Keen, an independent technology and media analyst and the author of the commissioned research report, who adds that the findings make clear that they need to be more aware of the positive effect using data insights can have to improve customer experience at every stage of the customer journey.

The research report identified the full range of crucial Decision Moments in the customer journey when analytics can be used to determine the right action at the right time. These key points include: acquiring new customers; tracking content consumption for recommendations and offers; upselling and cross-selling to boost average revenue per user; churn prediction and reduction; ensuring accurate billing; and winning back lost subscribers.

“As competition between the growing number of TV and video service providers becomes increasingly intense, customer experience has emerged as a key competitive differentiator that’s critical to operators gaining a competitive advantage,” suggests Vaghela. “The research demonstrates strongly that data insight and analytics help to improve customer engagement, marketing and communications throughout the entire customer lifecycle.”

Key insights voiced directly by the executives interviewed for the report include:

  • “We’re in a whole new world and actually it is very important for us to understand for ourselves who the customer is, who our prospects are, who the targets are, because as the industry transitions to digital, the nature of how the relationships get formed with the end consumer are shifting too.”

TV channel group

  • “We understand the importance of analytics and it is a fundamental pillar of what we’re thinking about building and what we’re trying to build. And if we can get out of our own way, we will make great use of it.”

Telco video service provider

  • “You’re not going to build a competitive future unless you have really deep understanding of consumer behaviour. That’s the key thing.”

US broadcaster

  • “The key is – very simply – single dashboard reporting. I think the tools are too varied and too many. All the various tools sit on their own and are not integrated.”

Online video service provider

  • “We have purchased X and Y and merged everything into common data with common definitions. That does take some time. I think we’re nearing the end of a lot of that, but for the first year or so, there were a lot of differences in terms of how things were used.”


  • “The lesson we need to learn is that video is no longer in the telecom world. Video is now in the tech world, and tech companies fail quickly, and are able to launch, change, a board project quickly. We need to pick up the speed in terms of product development to match that.”


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