Why a Unified View of Your Subscriber Will Reduce Churn

3 strategies to survive the streaming wars

The streaming video war is moving at lightning speed. While long-standing subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix and Hulu are pouring money into original content, newcomers like Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+ and Quibi are vying for their share of the market.

A recent research report from Omdia commissioned by Salesforce found that the norm is for consumers to subscribe to multiple SVOD services to satisfy all members of a household.

Media consumers increasingly expect personalized experiences from their SVOD services including relevant offers, content recommendations and communications. Because these services don’t usually require a commitment more than month-to-month, coupled with the lack of superior experiences, subscriber churn is a major obstacle to revenue and growth. With so many services, this problem is amplified when consumers join a service to watch a new series or live event and then cancel as soon as the content has been watched. This phenomenon is known as seasonal churn. Let’s dive deeper into why consumers churn and what you can do about it.

Churn baby churn

Reducing subscriber churn can be a difficult undertaking, but with the right strategy in place, it’s doable and worth prioritizing. In the same Omdia research, three primary reasons surfaced as to why SVOD subscribers churn.

First, it’s all about the content. If subscribers don’t think a service has enough new or entertaining content they will leave. Second, it’s the experience. This includes easy onboarding, a high-quality viewer experience and omni-channel access to subscriber care. And third is value. If consumers believe the service is too expensive for the content selection or they already subscribe to too many services they will leave.

To survive and thrive in the middle of the streaming wars, it is essential that streaming companies have a proactive plan for reducing churn. Here are three strategies for retaining subscribers.

Establish a single view of the customer

Gaining subscriber loyalty and maximizing retention requires a unified—and complete—view of each subscriber. This concept that we call Subscriber 360 aggregates and unifies viewing habits, streaming experience, content consumption, billing history, service history and demographics. Having this view allows SVOD services to give subscribers the personalized experiences they expect which in turn drives loyalty. When subscribers feel like they’re getting the most value out of their subscription, they stay.

Incorporate intelligence into every interaction

From service to marketing to sales, there is a place for intelligence in every part of an organization. Most organizations don’t struggle to get enough data, they struggle to do something useful with it. Projections from IDC say data will grow more than five times by 2025, from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025.

With this growth of data, incorporating intelligence will allow organizations to leverage it in order to inform the personalized experiences needed to keep customers happy across the entire subscriber lifecycle and also uncover opportunities for additional revenue streams. For example, when a subscriber has been with a service for a long time, data and intelligence can point out the right time to attempt to upsell an add-on product or the next tier of service. These opportunities can help companies sustain growth in more ways than constantly trying to acquire new subscribers, which is one of the top costs for SVOD providers.

Use integrated technology

To make all of this work, SVOD providers must have the right technology stack in place. This means that all systems are fully integrated and can work together across lines of business to provide the insights necessary for those personalized subscriber experiences.

For instance, a new subscriber who is on an onboarding journey initiated by a marketing system might have an issue streaming content, requiring them to contact subscriber service for help. This could certainly make the customer rethink their decision to subscribe, putting them at risk of churn. The integrated platform notes the abnormal service activity and decreased content consumption and flags to the marketing system that the subscriber should be put on a retention journey. Only a fully integrated system can intelligently and predictively identify issues and respond proactively to decrease both seasonal and long-term churn.
The bottom line is, SVOD providers must leverage intelligence and other compatible technology to predict when subscribers are at risk of churning. With a unified view of the subscriber, providers can anticipate and exceed subscriber needs and expectations.


Alp Pekkocak leads global strategy and solutions for the media industry at Salesforce. He brings to market innovative solutions to address the needs of the constantly evolving media landscape from content production, distribution, and monetization to subscriber lifecycle management and audience engagement.