There’s a really good reason why Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) is blowing up right now: it’s what people want. Today more consumers are opting for video content that they can choose and watch on-demand, as opposed to regular viewing.
And stats show that SVOD isn’t slowing down. Analysts predict its growth to reach the 232 million viewership mark by 2020 in the US. Global viewership is expected to explode to 411 million by 2022, up from 283 million in 2018.
While viewership numbers are impressive, the staggering stats don’t end there. Projected global revenue is set to reach $22 billion. The lion’s share will go to large household names like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, but there are also hundreds of thousands of independent video creators cashing in on the booming SVOD market.
At Uscreen, we get to work with independent video content creators. These are brands that have built large communities who pay monthly for access to premium content.
Take Stage Network, for example. Founded by Rich Affannato, Jesse Kearney and Bobby Traversa, the idea was to bring the very best original scenes, films, live theatre documentaries, reality shows, variety shows and concerts to a wider audience.
Today, for just $3.99 per month, you can gain access to a variety of theatrical performances directly from your Apple or Android smartphone, or Roku or FireTV device.
SVOD creators also span various industries. For instance, Wanderlust TV was the brainchild of Jeff Krasno and Schuyler Grant. It came about after the pair realized how large a following they amassed from the Wanderlust festival held in 2009.
Fast-forward to today and Wanderlust TV provides yoga enthusiasts with tons of videos. You can select from a large group of instructors, each offering various exercises and levels of difficulty.
If you’ve wondered about starting your own SVOD service, these are just two of many great examples worth looking into. SVOD, beyond being a great way to generate revenue, is also a smart way to support your brand’s overall marketing strategy.
Video is consumed daily in large quantities. It’s also everywhere you go, meaning that your competitors have probably started producing video to appeal to more of your ideal customers.
In this blog post, I’ll share how you can launch your own SVOD service. I’ll explain how the subscription video model works, how to prepare your brand to go live with content your audience can easily access, and how to market your new SVOD service and turn visitors into subscribers.
But before we dig into each point, what is subscription video anyway?
Understanding the SVOD Business Model
Subscription video is a service available to subscribers for a monthly premium. Like a magazine subscription, users pay a set fee and have access to video content. Unlike a magazine subscription, SVOD services offer on-demand access to all video or can provide episodes released over time.
Subscription fees are determined by video content creators and can range from as low as $2 upwards.
Just how successful can an SVOD service be?
As an SVOD platform provider, we support stores across various industries. One of our high-earning categories is health and fitness. Within this year, we’ve seen a 52% increase in the number of new stores launched in this category.
What’s more, each store earned an average of $7,503 per month between April and June. This proves that there is room for independent video content creators to enter the SVOD market and generate revenue.
How do you get started?
Step 1: Find Your Niche and Develop a Brand
Establishing your niche is likely one of the most important steps you’ll take to building a successful SVOD service. While sites like Netflix and Hulu cater to everyone, we’ve seen independent video creators struggle when they try and copy that business model.
Niching down will help you produce targeted content for a specific audience. When coupled with smart marketing tactics, you’ll see that your content will reach more of the right people, resulting in the growth you’re after.
Finding your niche will also make developing your brand much simpler.
People gravitate to brands. The more clear your brand message and positioning is, the easier it can be recognized by your ideal customers. When it comes to creating your SVOD service, branding is essential.
But it’s more than just a logo. It includes the colors your brand will use, the tone and voice of your website copy, and the quality and unique approach that shines through in your video content.
As you think about your brand and what it should stand for, consider how you want people to feel after consuming your video content. Your content should solve a specific problem.
For example, let’s say you help people lose weight using workout videos.
What must viewers experience while watching each workout session and feel after they’ve completed it? What about your brand will make them continue their subscription?
Wanderlust has created a brand around healthy and inspired living. They help people reach their health and wellness goals in many ways. Subscribers have access to guided meditations, 21-day yoga challenges, and more.
Each video on their website includes a well-thought-out write-up, image of the author and a trailer to give visitors a taste of what to expect.
In short, Wanderlust TV has created a true brand experience. They’ve made it easy for a visitor to become a subscriber and then stay on by developing from beginner-level to completing 21-day challenges and beyond.
Step 2: Build and Customize Your Video Website
Next, you’ll need a website to showcase your content. It will act as a marketing tool to help convert visitors into trial and full subscribers.
Designing and Developing Your Website (DIY)
If you’re considering developing a website, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, it can be an expensive and complex exercise.
Your SVOD service will need to be capable of hosting and streaming video to users. This requires a video platform that’s robust enough to handle large amounts of traffic. You’ll need developers to build it and a project manager to manage the build.
You’ll also need to integrate a store or e-commerce functionality that allows subscription payments. You need to accept a range of payment card options and also have the very best online security (think SSL encryption) to protect your new website and visitors as they browse and pay for content on your site.
SVOD custom platforms also require maintenance. This means more time fixing and maintaining your custom platforms and less time creating and marketing your content to generate revenue.
Leverage an All-in-one Monetization Platform Like Uscreen
Because of the intricacies covered above, and that most video creators aren’t website designers and developers, we developed easy-to-use website themes.
Each theme is easily customizable and designed with your audience in mind. Themes also include built-in checkout pages where customers can pay by PayPal or credit card.
We also provide video hosting (with 99.9% uptime), SSL encryption, language support for viewers around the world, and a host of other important features, all rolled into a monthly subscription fee.
Your website copy is just as valuable as the video you’ll be offering. It must speak directly to your ideal customer to get them excited enough about your content to try it or become a subscriber.
Here are 3 tips on how to create powerful website messaging
- Craft Customer-Focused Headlines – Headlines stand out above all types of copy. But for them to be appealing, they must resonate with website visitors. As you craft your headlines, think about end-results that your ideal customer will experience by watching your content. For example, Naturally Sassy is a unique workout plan. It combines ballet training with strength and cardio. The workout is ideal for anyone who wants to develop a toned, yet flexible body. Naturally Sassy’s website positions the program by using the customer-focused headline “get the body of a ballerina.”
- Use Benefit-Focused Copy – Customer-focused headlines are the first step to persuading visitors to become subscribers. The next step is using a website copy to create a narrative that supports and positions your product for sale. You want to give them a glimpse of what they stand to gain from your content. It’s a good idea to have an intimate understanding of what your ideal customer expects from a subscription service like yours and to list each of the features or aspects of your video service and provide benefits alongside them
- Create Strong Calls to Action – Calls to action are literal triggers for your website visitors. They are used to direct your visitors by giving them instructions on what to do next. When coupled with strong headlines and copy, calls to action easily close the deal.
BirdieTime is an SVOD service for golf enthusiasts. They’ve used a compelling combination of headline and copy messaging with a strong call to action (“Get All-Access”).
- Imagery – Like copy, imagery also contributes to strong and effective website design. In fact, research shows that people retain up to 65% more information when copy is paired with relevant images. The best part about using imagery for your website is that you can incorporate stills of video footage. They will give visitors clear examples of what to expect when they pay.
Step 3: Pick Your OTT App
Over-the-top applications, or OTT apps, are apps that deliver video via the internet. Unlike cable or satellite TV, OTT apps also allow your customers to stream videos on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and TVs, whenever they want to.
Video streaming apps are important components of a well-oiled SVOD service, but they’re equally complex. Unless you’re a developer, you’ll be faced with a steep learning curve as you try to build your own app.
You could hire a developer instead, but that’s a costly exercise. Developing a basic iOS app can cost $29,700 and $42,000 – excluding video or live streaming platform capabilities and hosting for your video.
As a solution, we offer a turnkey service for SVOD content creators. Our developers will build your app and ensure it integrates with our entire infrastructure. This gives you all the functionality and capabilities you need to launch your OTT app and not worry about streaming video or whether you’ll be able to reach your audience.
How to Pick Your OTT Video Streaming App
Picking your OTT app is dependent on how your audience and how they will consume your content. In a Uscreen study, we found that 65% of all video streaming happens on TV and mobile OTT apps.
We also learned that iOS has the largest reach in English-speaking markets, and that half of all TV app users prefer Roku.
While this kind of information can help you choose the right app for your audience, bare in mind that consumption is also tied to convenience.
For example, if you offer health and wellness content that includes full-body workouts, it would make more sense to make your content available via your website and create your own Roku and FireTV apps.
This way, viewers can see full-body movements and perform them without having to try and hold a mobile device, watch it and perform the body movement all at once.
Step 4: Pull Your Crowd
You’re in the final stretch! To recap, you know what SVOD is and understand the importance of building a brand and a strong and effective website. You also know what your options are for developing your OTT app and how to determine which app to select to best suit your audience.
Next, we’re diving into attracting your ideal customers.
Marketing is more scientific today than ever before. This is because every form of marketing completed online can be based on data, making it easier to make more informed decisions about how to spend money on ads.
But where do you start?
Pulling an audience isn’t nearly as complex as you may think. Yes, there are many variables to consider. From the time of the day to the season and how these factors influence click-through rates and ultimately sales.
But the good news is that you can determine how these factors influence your marketing and plan accordingly.
Most of the data you need is available on the platforms you’ll use for marketing.
For example, Facebook provides a plethora of information about audiences. In a few clicks, you can establish how large your audience is, where they are located, what job they hold, what other interests they have, and how much disposable income they likely have.
Your goal is to figure out where your audience is and position a strong enough message in front of them.
Today, there are over 50 different social media platforms, but not all will work for your brand. You need to find platforms where your ideal customers hang out.
How? Ask yourself this question:
Where does your ideal customer go to search for information on how to solve the problem you solve with your video content?
Here are a few places your audience is likely to spend some time:
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.
- Search Engines: Google, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo! DuckDuckGo and MSN.
You can also promote your SVOD service via email. If you have a subscriber list, creating an email broadcast with the right messaging can be effective. As subscribers, they would already be familiar with your brand, making it easier to sell a video subscription to your list.
In addition to your email list, try solo ads. A solo ad is an email crafted and sent to a list of subscribers belonging to someone else. Solo ads can produce high conversion rates, but require strong and relevant messaging to be effective.
SVOD is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. While large brands will dominate the market, there is room for independent video content creators to carve their own piece of success out this booming industry.
To launch a successful SVOD service, you must develop a strong brand that your audience will resonate with and create an effective website with an attractive design and strong customer-focused messaging. You’ll also need to pick the right OTT app for your viewers and identify and market to your audience to build a base of subscribers.