In its latest "2023 State of Play" report, Nielsen illustrated the surging number of program titles and streaming video services and the resulting challenges for viewers, who now spend 10.5 minutes per session deciding what to watch. Filiz Bahmanpour, VP of Product at Gracenote, Nielsen's content solutions business unit, spoke in depth about this situation with Señal News.
As viewers struggle to decide what to watch, has the sheer amount of content become more of a problem or a solution?
"The sheer amount of content available today is more of an opportunity in our eyes than anything. Yes, consumers face difficulty deciding what to watch despite so many choices. But because there is something available on streaming or linear TV to suit virtually any taste or mood, it is just a matter of connecting the right viewer to the right program at the right time. If video providers can effectively improve personalization, search, and discovery, they stand to improve the overall user experiences they deliver."
How can a platform improve its offer to prevent users from abandoning the viewing session and turning to another activity?
"Today, it is critical for platforms to not only attract viewers but retain them for as long as possible. According to Nielsen's ‘2023 State of Play' report, one in five consumers abandoned a viewing session and turned to another activity when they could not easily find something good to watch. That is something platforms are working to prevent at all costs. SVOD services have made significant progress in keeping viewers engaged with programming through personalization powered by rich content metadata and imagery. Now, linear streaming and free on-demand platforms can benefit from better personalization and maximize content consumption and advertising monetization."
Platforms seem to be more flexible regarding titles' exclusivity. How will this impact viewers?
"With platforms being open to presenting catalog programming in addition to exclusive content, viewers win because they now have a wider range of available options. But this adds complexity to content discovery. Content aggregators have a great opportunity to solve this complexity through universal search capabilities which surface content wherever it is available."
Why do you think ad-supported streaming is growing so much?
"The video landscape has definitely fragmented with the rise of streaming. As consumers pay for numerous SVOD services to get the TV and movie content they want, they have become more sensitive to the fact that each subscription adds up. Therefore, ad-supported services have gained traction. In particular, FAST offerings have become a major opportunity based on the no-cost, no-commitment model and resonant programming delivered through a linear experience. The video ecosystem is responding to the opportunity."
Where is content consumption headed? Will streamers have to change their business model soon?
"We are seeing continued interest in frictionless experiences around entertainment programming but also including sports and music, linear and on-demand. From a business standpoint, streaming services need to figure out how to achieve and sustain profitability. Streaming has the ability to combine the best of both worlds: cable's dual revenue streams (subscription and advertising) and digital's ability to bring programmatic capabilities such as personalization to both content and advertising. It is an exciting time for the global media and entertainment industry, and Gracenote's role has never been more critical."
By Federico Marzullo