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CX for Streaming Services

One group of companies that received a massive boost in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic was over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services, such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Apple TV+. As people complied with stay-at-home guidelines around the world, streaming services reaped the benefits of large numbers of people seeking entertainment in the home.

The numbers do not lie; research from Nielsen indicates that the time spent streaming increased by nearly 75% in 2020 over the previous year, and in the US alone, the number of streaming subscribers doubled, according to research from PwC. Furthermore, data from PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021-2025 indicated that global OTT revenue reached $58.4bn in 2020 and is projected to reach $81bn by 2025.

However, despite the healthy outlook for the industry as a whole, competition among players remains fierce, and as people return to work and out-of-home entertainment options, it is likely that these streaming services will need to up the ante in order to attract and retain customers. In fact, PwC’s 2020 survey of 1,000 US adults with annual income above $40,000 found that while “breadth of content” was the major factor consumers weigh when choosing a streaming service, when asked what they liked about their favorite services, “ease of use” was the most influential factor service, followed by “I know I’ll always be able to find something to watch.” Both outranked the quality of content as key drivers of satisfaction with a streaming service.

Therefore, streaming services need to consider the following aspects that add up to a quality CX:

  • A clean, intuitive user interface: Customers today have many choices, so they will generally pick a service that makes it simple to find the content that interests them. In fact, 31% of the PwC survey respondents said that easy, personalized content recommendations would be a reason for staying with a streaming service. Techniques that can aid in this process include tighter integration with social media services, digital assistants (e.g., Amazon Alexa), and shopping data, all of which could inform personalization services.
  • Ensure the platform is fast, accessible, and easy to manipulate: Today’s customers expect immediate access to content without minimal advertisement, and will not tolerate “laggy” service, lengthy loading times, or frequent interruptions. Assistance should be available on the platform, regardless of the device used to access content.
  • Wide variety of accessible content: While customers may initially choose a streaming service for a specific show or movie, they may not stick around if the service does not offer a wide variety of content that is interesting to them. Providers need to identify which content is of interest to each user of the service (rather than subscriber), and then proactively present this content so it is easy to find. Highlighting content that requires additional fees or an upgraded subscription can also turn off some customers who are already subscribing (and paying for) multiple streaming services.

Finally, the traditional aspects of good CX remain true in terms of having easily accessible support options across all channels, particularly via chat, email, social media, and through the streaming app itself, and are important. While most consumers still access apps through their home TV, a growing number of customers are projected to use a service via their smartphone, tablet, or other device, and require support through channels that are easily accessed without requiring them to call a support telephone line.

OTT services also must be prepared to provide technical support that extends beyond their service offering. For example, customers experiencing technical difficulties using an OTT service may be experiencing a problem with their home network, their wireless provider, or the physical device itself. Good CX is likely to involve being able to help customers diagnose any technical problems they may have, offering possible solutions, and, in the event a problem remains, helping identify which additional providers should be contacted to help fix the problem. While this requires significant knowledge of a variety of devices, networks, and providers, the benefits of developing and sharing this knowledge will help position the OTT provider as a trusted one. By creating a self-service portal that provides answers to common questions, prescriptive solutions based on other users’ issues, and support for a community space where other customers can share tips, the customer experience is not solely dependent on live or automated CX agents, reducing effort for both the provider and customer.

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek,, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.


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