Long reads


Q&A: Ferran G. Vilaró, NPAW

Ferran G. Vilaró, co-founder and CEO of NPAW, who also co-founded Wuaki.tv, talks about the importance of QoE monitoring and data analytics for streaming services

What impact is growing interest in AVOD having on content provider requirements for video monitoring and analytics?
Ad-funded services have been driving their business blindly. While making efforts to attract ad spend, they knew that viewers would abandon a low-quality streaming session, poor quality ads or disproportionate ad-volume in a heartbeat since they lack a monetary attachment to the service. There is no entry barrier, but it is equally easy to leave. This adds an extra layer of risk to the provider if they don’t tackle ad strategy and quality of experience. A wrongly managed QoE and ad strategy could even defeat a compelling and expensive content offering.

In a recent survey from DTVE and NPAW, 67.7% of respondents said that striking the right balance in terms of the number of ads played is very important for the success of an AVOD service and 50.5% think the same in terms of ad position. For AVOD platforms to grow, it is imperative to keep an eye on these numbers and use data to offer a better service.

AVOD services are thirsty for data to understand audience engagement and adjust their strategy to maximize monetisation: How many ads should you place? Is ad consumption aligned with current inventory? What’s the optimal position and length? How are streaming problems with ads affecting overall content consumption?

What are the key challenges operators face in managing the wealth of data available to them?
In a recent conversation with an NPAW client, a leading PPV streaming service in Denmark, the CTO explained they would take an “outside-in approach” meaning that they would improve their service not by looking at how well servers were performing, but based on end-viewers’ experience and the final product. A company with this mindset uses data at its fullest.

Introducing data to different teams as part of their decision-making process is the next natural step. And it is crucial to drive growth. Most video streaming services think of QoE data as something mostly relevant to their tech teams (81% according to the DTVE-NPAW survey). However, C-level, marketing and business teams can use data to serve their goals too. C-level executives can track overall service performance, user engagement and business health with accurate insights from the end-point. Marketing teams can orchestrate customer retention plans by identifying heavy users, which devices are popular, what is the best day to promote content, how tolerant people are to errors, who is at risk of churn and more. A data-driven company will naturally build a holistic strategy across departments.

How is user behaviour changing? What does it mean to streaming services?
A new generation of users is not afraid of trying new services. Nomadic lifestyles – both digitally and geographically – demand that vendors adapt quickly to user preferences while delivering the highest quality. Winning video platforms listen to their viewers through data. Analytics solutions must also evolve quickly.

We all expect delightful media experiences. Data can help video services manage user journey touchpoints to build ‘stickiness’ – free trials, effective promotion, pricing plans to counteract account sharing, hybrid business models etc. If quality of experience levels are fine but users are abandoning videos halfway through, you may want to look at your content offering. If your viewers click on recommended content but don’t end up watching, you may want to review content discovery. Users logging in but not consuming could be telling you something about your user experience. Maybe users are sharing accounts and you need to revisit pricing. There are hundreds of questions business teams can answer with data.

What do video services need to optimize the use of data?
Real time QoE analytics is the first step to drive performance. However, content providers need further insights on quality, audience, content and ads, correlated across the entire session, to stay competitive in the long run. In-depth insights will enable personalisation and constantly evolving services.

Turning data into actionable insights and its immediate availability of data to relevant agents can make a difference. Analytics solutions offer ways to leverage the power of data with advanced visualisation, smart and granular error detection and diagnosis systems, flexible data extraction for external reporting and data warehousing. Those solutions must be able to correlate data across the entire video session, to enable immediate action and connect various sources within the customer organisation. This will help streaming drive revenue growth.

What do video service providers need to prioritise to make the best use of user behaviour and platform performance data?
Use the data to create long-lasting relationships with your audience that take on your competitors’ moves to snatch your users. Top streaming services think of building delightful media experiences as opposed to a one-time transaction or troubleshooting a single problem. And use data to constantly evolve. Show users you care about them.

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