“Content is king”.
I’m so sick of hearing that phrase. At every trade show, conference or symposium I go to someone, at some point will utter that phrase. Many people say it without thinking about what it actually means, like it’s just some sort of tagline. But, as overused as it is, the phrase does still describe a very accurate circumstance, and one that is becoming more and more relevant in an increasingly a la carte world of video and subscription.
However, simply having a strong content offering is no longer enough to cut it in the modern age. An attractive library is certainly the first step, but with so much content spread across so many services these days, more is needed to stand out from the competition.
This extends beyond mere recommendations, though these are certainly important, and asks a service to take a good look at the data their users are giving them in order to better understand how their content should be deployed. I know it’s an overused example, but look at how Netflix ended up commissioning House of Cards. By looking at patterns of usage and behavior around items of content, rather than just generalized analytics for the site and service, they were able to commission content that they knew would be an almost guaranteed success with their users.
Users share a massive amount of data with a service, completely willingly, and in exchange for that they expect a certain quality of experience. As we move forward into an increasingly connected world there is an imperative to use that data in a sensible way. It’s not just about satisfying users in providing them with content they will actually find interesting, but it will hurt bottom lines and brand perception to flood a service with content that no one watches – it won’t see any return on investment and will just clog up suggested viewing lists. 74% of users find it annoying to see content that has nothing to do with their interests (Online Personal Experience Study, 2013), so content with no value to the user base hurts both the business and customer sides of the equation.
Similarly, once the right kinds of content are reflected in the service, the way of getting it to users needs to be similarly intelligent – the right content needs to be recommended for the right user. This, again, serves two purposes. Ensuring the user’s content needs are satisfied will ensure that they have a good opinion of the service, while also encouraging them to explore more of what’s on offer. Trust in technology is becoming an issue of increasing concern these days, and if a user feels confident enough in a service’s recommendations being accurate, they are going to put their trust in giving other things that might fall outside of their traditional viewing patterns a go if it’s recommended.
Being able to create a trust in the relationship between a service and its customers is of immeasurable value. It increases brand recall, the likelihood of brand recommendation and evangelism on the part of the user, and encourages sustained, engaged use. It also drives up the likelihood of the trusting in, and engaging with, associated ads, products or promotions that the service may wish to push to the user.
All this stems from making the right choices around content, and using the data you can capture in an intelligent and targeted way.
In today’s world, content isn’t really king. It’s not a monarchy with a divine right to rule. These days it should be viewed more like elective democracy – when it’s appealing, delivering sustained value, and making the experience better in a way that matters to me, is when it’s electability truly shoots through the roof.
Miles Weaver is Piksel’s Innovation Lead, overseeing the strategy, development and management of concepts stemming from Piksel’s Innovation Programme. Miles is an avid commentator on the digital TV revolution speaking regularly at industry events and being published in The Guardian and Read/Write. Connect with him at @MrMilesWeaver