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With the recent Apple TV+ launch and expected Disney+ arrival, the streaming media market is getting more and more crowded. Consumers, who used to have everything aggregated in one TV package, now need to pick and choose among many streaming platforms. On the one hand, it all seems like another healthy innovation path, pushing traditional actors to deliver their content through more convenient and enjoyable experiences. It is also true that experiences have been significantly improved with new standards set by established OTT players: visual, fluid, immersive, accessible on any device, and in every popular language. 

But is it all good news? 

As both pure OTT services and linear TV companies have gone digital, there are now more than 300 videos services streamed over the Internet, with the average household subscribing to 3-4. The issue isn’t only on the consumer side, where the content is scattered and accessible only through multiple subscriptions. The challenge is also high for providers of those services. 

Service providers must ask themselves two questions:

  1. How do we get consumers to choose our service over all the others?
  2. Once they’ve chosen our service, how do we keep users engaged and loyal?

Content is the most important factor for attracting and retaining users. Most consumers choose to subscribe to a streaming service for access to the movies, series, and shows they are interested in. But how do they know what’s in each service’s catalog? Most services offer hundreds, if not thousands, of videos (Amazon Prime, for example, offers over 17,000 contents alone). Catalogs vary by country as well, due to complex licensing rules. It’s almost impossible for users to know the exact content of any streaming catalog without a thorough investigation.

That’s why streaming services must focus not only on what content they present to their users but also on surfacing content in a fast, relevant, personalized way.

Two users who are browsing a streaming-video catalog might have vastly different motivations. One wants to retrieve a specific piece of content (e.g., “Sherlock S2 EP3”), while the other wants to explore a part of the catalog that matches a much broader criteria (e.g., “romantic comedy movies”).

Regardless of the use case, users will choose to engage with the platform that provides a fast, relevant and personalized way of matching their intent. Great search and discovery functionality is crucial for acquiring and engaging subscribers.

Some of the challenges in building a top-flight search-and-discovery experience include:

  • Delivering instant search and browse experiences that minimize bounce rates
  • Answering any intent, specific or broad, with the most relevant results
  • Engaging users with dynamic content promotion at every point of the customer journey

Our new eBook, Winning the Streaming Arms Race with Search explores these challenges by spotlighting how France.tv, Twitch, and iflix provide superior user experiences. The emphasis is on demonstrating how top-flight search and discovery sets top media companies apart. 

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