Content streaming has become a huge industry over the past couple of years. Driven by the need to cut the cord and the many benefits of video-on-demand services, consumers have taken to content streaming by the millions. In the US, over 42% of households are regular video-streamers, with 56% and 53% choosing to stream movies and TV shows respectively.
These numbers have seen the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other content streaming services get on a steady growth path for the past few years. Still, many challenges stand in the way of further growth for these companies. There are already early signs of market saturation for the video streaming segment in the US, which will hamper growth in traditional markets. Not to mention the technical and socio-political issues that await these companies as they look to get into international markets.
Many of the challenges that video-streaming service providers often encounter revolve around the customer. Customer engagement and satisfaction will depend on how well companies in this space tackle these issues. Here’s a look at some of the most important ones.
1. Parental Control
Keeping track of a child’s digital journey has always been a challenge for parents, especially with the advanced smart home environments in modern homes. As this infographic from Ooma shows, kids as young as 2 years are streaming different types of content from their smartphones and tablets, making it difficult to track and keep them safe on the internet. While parents can use different basic measures to secure the internet, options are usually limited when it comes to video-streaming service providers.
For instance, Netflix users have to contend with a bit of a delay when switching between different parental controls settings. Hulu doesn’t let users play around with parental controls settings, instead opting to restrict Hulu accounts to 18+ subscribers. On the extreme end, Roku lacks a parental controls platform altogether, putting kids at risk of coming into contact with the darker side of the internet.
2. Language Barriers
With local video streaming markets in North America and much of Europe heading towards their saturation points, streaming service providers are looking to expand to untapped markets on the international scene. However, one of the biggest obstacles for OTT providers such as Netflix is overcoming the language barriers.
A good number of potentially profitable markets have low English literacy. For instance, in countries such as Russia, China, and Brazil, less than 5% of the population speaks English, which is a big challenge for streaming service providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime whose content is mostly in English.
3. Satisfying Local Customers Internationally
With the success of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other video streaming providers in the US, other providers in developed and developing countries have been looking to dominate their respective local markets using the same concept. As a result, mainstream streaming companies like Netflix often have a hard time competing with local streaming providers, especially when it comes to local content.
For instance, countries like France and Germany with strong local languages and culture are hard markets for the likes of Netflix to sell to because they don’t have local content to satisfy customers in these regions. The language barrier issue further complicates things for content providers, making it hard to engage and interact with customers internationally.
4. Technical Issues
The system by Netflix and most of the other OTT content providers is based on tech innovations that are still evolving. In the US for instance, a nationwide credit card security update saw a good number of users canceling their subscriptions by mistake during payment. Such issues often leave a bad taste in the mouth for customers who may opt to go for simpler services in future.
The issue gets even more complicated on the global scene. Different countries will have their own payment systems and broadband infrastructure, which presents a different scenario for OTT providers. In developing markets, consumers don’t usually have access to credit and debit cards and may be a bit reluctant to divulge personal information online.
Plus, with shaky broadband infrastructure in most of these regions, service delivery may be hampered significantly.
There’re still a lot of opportunities for content streaming service providers. The key to growth and expansion, however, is identifying critical issues that would affect potential customers and handling them for a happier, satisfied customer base.