Net Neutrality – Who’s Going to Pay?

IBC 2015 - picture-45-1409734168Last week the FCC adopted new net neutrality rules, classifying broadband providers as telecommunications services. This means that the internet is now a public utility, and ISPs will not be able to charge for ‘fast-lane’ broadband services.

For the TV industry, the ruling has sparked some serious debate. No longer can cable providers charge a premium to OTT companies to run their services on faster speeds. Cable providers have lost their power, and a level playing field has been created for all. But, in the age of technology, does the ruling really apply to the 21st century?

Whether you are for or against the ruling, what is clear is that this is a big step forward for SVOD. Smaller start-up companies now have a fighting chance against the likes of Netflix and Amazon at delivering services and getting subscribers on board. But there is one important question that should be asked in all of this- who’s going to pay for these services?

Regardless of if you’re a big global service like Netflix or a small local OTT provider, there is no point driving the SVOD movement if you can’t monetize it. Any SVOD service big or small must consider how they are going to get their revenue. How do you get subscribers on board, and how do you keep them paying for more?

And there are a number of factors that play a role in making this happen. First and foremost, it is imperative to offer today’s viewers SVOD services that span across devices and platforms. Starting a programme or film on the TV, and finishing it on a tablet or mobile is now the norm- and being able to pay for and watch content across these devices is key to keeping subscribers happy and paying for content.

Offering viewers flexible subscriptions is another key attribute for SVOD services. Being able to add or remove devices to subscriptions, or changing payment types and methods should be easy and hassle-free, and will massively add to customer satisfaction.

Finally, getting to know your subscribers is crucial for retention and loyalty. Being able to offer vouchers and discounts on content you know your subscribers love will make them feel valued, noticed, and most importantly, will continue to drive revenues throughout the customer lifecycle.

It will be interesting to see how the TV industry develops following the new net neutrality rulings. But one thing is for sure- driving SVOD is worthless if you can’t keep your subscribers wanting, and paying, for content.

Jonathan Guthrie