Atresplayer works to be integrated into pay TV operators grids in the region

Multiplying OTT monetization: advertising, subscription and PPV’ was another of the virtual panels that were developed during the first day of Nextv Series Mexico, a leading industry conference that had its first virtual edition on December 1st and 2nd. Some of the central concepts discussed during the panel discussion were related to premium subscription strategies without ads; SVOD models without ads for FTA broadcasters; content strategies and audience growth; and retention and multi-platform delivery.

For the discussion, Dataxis gathered a team of industry experts, made up of Orestes Aja Gurria, Head of Digital & OTT at ATRESplayer Internacional; Miguel Romero, Director of Business Development at Cinema Uno; Jonathan Gomez, Product Manager at Brightcove; and Max Castro, Latam Region Manager at Crunchyroll.

‘We have seen a real growth opportunity in Latin America and in the US. Now, we are focusing on a large Spanish-speaking audience, and Atresplayer is now an extension of Atresmedia’s international strategy’, said Aja regarding the landing of Atresplayer in Latin America. ‘This has been a significant challenge for us in terms of improving user experiences. We have had to adapt our available content in each country and, as a result of all that effort, we can say that Atresplayer already has its own strength in the region and is the most relevant Spanish SVOD content platform on the American continent. In 2020, we have doubled the number of subscribers in Latin America and the US’, added the executive. Likewise, regarding the evolution of Crunchyroll in recent years, Castro reported that the platform is available in the US, Latin America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East. ‘We have been in the market for 15 years. We started licensing series, and now we are producing them. In addition, in Latin America, we have just run a partnership with Cartoon Network, where we are bringing seasonal series dubbed on TV to the region. That has been a big boom for us. The community has reacted quite positively, and we have seen it both on the growth numbers across the platform and on our social networks’, said Castro.

Regarding Cinema Uno, Romero expressed that ‘it has been in the market for five years, and it is a Mexican platform that brings an independent film initiative. We are the equivalent of a movie theater, where we do things mainly focused on film curation, not only Mexican or Latin American, but the best of cinema worldwide. From the birth of the platform, part of our aim was to be the benchmark platform for those filmmakers or directors who did not have the opportunity to have a commercial run, but did have very good quality content, to be exhibited within the platform. This brought us closer to regional festivals. We currently have some content available in Colombia, Chile and Argentina, but we are mainly focused on the Mexican market, and with a view to growing in the region’.

‘We are working for Atresplayer to be integrated with pay TV operators in the region. This month we have added Atresplayer to Clarovideo’s offer, and it is a very important B2B agreement for us, and we hope that it will soon be replicated with other operators’, said Aja. Later, Romero reported that ‘with festivals, Cinema Uno has developed an AVOD model’, with which the platform is admitting the SVOD, AVOD and premium (TVOD) models. In the case of Crunchyroll, as Castro explained, ‘we use the subscription and advertising models, where the content is premium during the first week of its release, and then it becomes free, with advertising for ‘non-premium’ customers of our platform’.

Regarding the elements that must be taken into account when defining the most convenient monetization model for each service, Gomez explained that ‘one of the key points is to understand what content is going to be offered on a platform: if content from mainstream or if it will be a platform with niche content. It is also important to have a good knowledge of the audience, and, this way, to know which devices are the most used by them, and to know how much they are willing to pay. In the US, for example, one metric states that streaming consumers are willing to pay up to USD 20, and a smaller percentage up to USD 40, for these services. Taking into account that subscribers are already subscribed to other platforms, it is important to offer a competitive price, which can be adjusted to their pockets’, he explained. The executive also stressed the importance of considering the costs of production and acquisition of content, and which of them will be exclusive. ‘Live events and sports can help in an SVOD or TVOD model. If content comes from a TV broadcaster that is promoting and sponsoring the platform, an AVOD model is more convenient’, he explained.

Regarding the operation of the PPV model, Romero explained that ‘in the case of Cinema Uno, our audience is very loyal. Most of our users have been with us since we launched. The transactional model works a lot for us, because it generates traction. When we make a world premiere available, or some content from a festival, people who like this type of cinema and enter the platform for the first time are motivated to subscribe’. Also, Castro explained that ‘we have used the PPV model for a digital event that we held this year, where our users paid to enter. That was a way for us to experiment  with this model’. Regarding the freemium model, the executive explained that ‘we have implemented it from the beginning. It was not easy to get the audience used to paying to watch content, so they need to have a model where they can consume free content, and understand the benefits of premium content. From the beginning, the freemium model has worked quite well for us’, he added. Likewise, Aja said that the freemium model ‘is not the way to guarantee growth, but it is a very valuable leads and registrations generator’.

Regarding the strategies to increase the subscriber base, Castro explained that ‘listening to the community and knowing what content they are looking for has worked a lot for us. They look for content to watch where and when they want, and dubbed. We will also be making an important announcement regarding new payment methods for Mexico. In addition, it must be understood that, on the platform, subscribers not only say what they want, but their consumption patterns will indicate other elements that communities do not always advertise. It is also important, in addition to providing content from our platform, that it can also be accessed on other platforms to continue expanding the brand. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and the creation of communities outside the platform helps a lot. We have also implemented partnerships, because Crunchyroll users want to watch content on TV too’.

To avoid churn on platforms, Gomez advised that ‘if the service is based on ads, it is important to take care of the balance between ads and content. If there are repetitive or very constant ads, it is very likely that viewers will try to take a break from the platform, or may even lose all interest in continuing  consuming the content and, for that reason, will shorten the time they spend to remain on the platform. It is also important that  users can find content easily. The presentation of the content should be attractive, distinctive, and should invite viewers to dare to try a new series or movie’. The executive also assured that ‘the interface of the applications must have a perfect operation, and must provide a simple usability, so that users of all ages can easily understand how to find content. If, at some point, the application generates some frustration in users, they will prefer to invest their time in other platforms. Finally, it is extremely important that the recommendation system offers interesting content to keep loyal customers’, he ended.