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Netflix is playing catch-up in the AVOD game



Netflix is playing catch-up in the AVOD game

Ah, Netflix.

What was once everyone’s favorite (and only) streaming provider is now playing catch-up in the advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) game. Sparked by a 200K subscriber loss in Q1, Netflix rather reluctantly announced they will likely enter the AVOD ecosystem. Many well-tenured executives in the TV and Streaming space saw this coming from a mile away, and Netflix is taking a bit of a beating in the upfronts, trades, and boardrooms.

But in TV, as elsewhere around the world, with a persistent pandemic, supply-chain issues, war, and social unrest, the temptation to pick away at competitors is wrong-minded. It’s even more important to bind together, support one another, and celebrate the competition that has fostered the innovation in our industry.

On that note, before we shove Netflix into the also-ran camp and focus on other platforms with built-out AVOD options, let’s revisit one of the OG streaming platforms, how they got here, and how they can move forward.

How Netflix got here

Netflix was born in 1997. You may remember the CDs of movies and documentaries you ordered which later evolved into a subscription model.  Ten years after its birth, Netflix offered titles available for streaming over the internet – which was, at the time, a novel concept. Through their recommendation engine and seeing the potential to differentiate from cable by offering another way to access premium TV, Netflix had created a new game. Netflix enjoyed years of first-to-market success and kept working to bring us original content that turned into cult favorites such as “House of Cards,” “Stranger Things,” and my personal favorite, “The Queen’s Gambit.”

Netflix changed the way movies and shows were distributed and consumed and pushed networks to create and obtain better and stickier content, and more premium content to differentiate themselves and lure in loyal consumers. They turned entertainment upside-down.

What’s more, they challenged the TV measurement norms from the get-go, snubbing their nose at Nielsen and looking more at quantity and efficiency of content consumed. So yes, Netflix is behind in the AVOD game.  And they didn’t pivot as quickly as they needed to.

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Where Netflix stands now

So where does Netflix stand now? Let’s first talk a bit about AVOD which has been growing in prevalence and scope over the past few years. Specifically AVOD spend will be $22 billion in 2022, according to MoffettNathanson Research. What was once a “maybe” for platforms has shifted to a must. So essentially AVOD and SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) are merging together.

There are many reasons platforms have AVOD options – but the main being the ability to provide a more affordable tier of service to consumers who want to watch the platform, but don’t want to pay the premium for an ad-less experience. The primary use of AVOD tiers is to retain and acquire new customers. Currently, AVOD is being put to the test and held to a higher bar as premium platforms such as Disney+ join the game. Disney+ has pledged their ad experience will be low – four ads per hour, which is aligned with another premiere player, HBO Max’s frequency.

Other platforms such as the original AVOD darling Hulu are nearly 2x that load.  Platforms will be tested and forced to think harder about balancing the consumer experience with brand opportunity. How Netflix handles ad load and overall experience could speak to its future in the space.

However, for now, let’s take this time to appreciate what Netflix has done for the industry and hope that next year they join the upfronts with more content, sustained growth and that gumption they brought to the market in 2007, frequency controlled that is.

Read next: Why a Netflix ad-supported tier would be exciting for advertisers

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Sara has 17+ years of experience in digital marketing and advertising; her work has spanned client services, strategy, sales and partnerships. She has worked at large global companies such as DoubleClick (now Google) and Omnicom as well as at independent agencies such as Cramer-Krasselt managing performance and branding media strategies and large video integrations for national brands.
Sara spent time at early-stage start-ups in the credit card martech space helping them build and grow their Client Services and Partnership divisions; her work as Lead Director of Client Strategy at The Trade Desk developed her passion for all things CTV/OTT. She currently leads the TV practice at performance branding agency WITHIN and works with clients to align TV advertising strategies with their business goals. Sara has worked across multiple verticals on brands such as Panera, REI, Patagonia, Edward Jones and McDonald’s.

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Salesforce winter 2023 release: The business executive’s guide



Salesforce winter 2023 release: The business executive's guide

More than 150,000 companies are Salesforce customers. Salesforce’s share of the CRM market is about 25%. 

Few customers take advantage of the thrice-yearly release updates rolled out to every Salesforce user. I get it. Folks aren’t always paying attention to the releases because they’re focused on running their business, tending to the million things that come up each day. 

The full edition of this Winter’s ‘23 Release comes in at over 700 pages. The boiled-down, brass-tacks summary is still 32 pages.

Few business executives have the time and bandwidth to keep up with the ins and outs of these updates. Your admins and marketing operations people may slog through the whole doc but may not connect the dots between business initiatives and platform functionality. 

This series will connect those dots. I’ll summarize what you need to know about the latest release in five key categories: commerce, sales, service, marketing and loyalty programs.

I’ll cover the features that will help you make better decisions for your business and maximize how you use the platform. 

Based on features in this release, Salesforce is focused on:

  • Improving the base platform (adding ease that your hands-on admin and developer teams have requested for a long time).
  • Creating even more ways to connect with customers.
  • Offering more industry-tailored options that bring value to a business more quickly.

Robust support for subscription selling added to Commerce 

Adding a subscription pricing model benefits most businesses, whether you’re a fan belt manufacturer or an artisan dog food company.

Making it easier for your customer to buy your product is always a win-win, and this release makes implementing subscriptions more seamless from the backend with the Connect API tool. 

Connect API resources now support subscriptions and multiple product-selling models: 

  • One-time sales where products are sold for specific prices once. 
  • Term sales offer time-limited subscriptions. Products are sold and renewed for a specific amount of time, e.g. 12 months. 
  • Evergreen subscriptions offer products on a recurring basis until canceled.

Configuring charges for collecting local taxes in international jurisdictions was also enabled. 

Dig deeper: Salesforce unveils features to boost automation for marketing and sales

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Additions to sales enablement functionality

Overall, I’m loving the general focus on enablement through enhancements with dynamic forms, screen flows, and Slack integration. 

Teams can now build and launch enablement programs that drive to the most important KPIs for your business. You can now focus on specifics, like programs for a particular region or product, and offer incentives to drive business from them. 

And, dynamic form improvements mean end-users have more flexibility with fields and sections to display on page layouts. 

Sales teams can now better access, update, share records and get important notifications on their key accounts directly within Slack using a new integration. Sales can collaborate in account- and opportunity-focused Slack channels while accessing Salesforce data. 

And, you can make it easier for sales teams to work with colleagues throughout the enterprise in departments such as fulfillment, shipping, and finance. This is enabled using Slack and providing real-time access to data stored in Salesforce to everyone who needs it.

Next time, I’ll dive into the latest service, marketing, and loyalty programs features included in the Winter 2023 release.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Joe Anzalone

Joe is Vice President, Salesforce Technology at Shift7 Digital. As a member of the Shift7 leadership team, Joe works to craft solutions and architectures that meet ambitious client goals using the power of the Salesforce platform, including product ownership for Shift7’s Industry GTM Accelerators. Joe brings more than 20 years of experience implementing Salesforce and other digital platforms including enterprise solutions and complex technology implementations. He sits on the Salesforce B2B Commerce product advisory board. Shift7 Digital is a Salesforce Ventures-backed agency, revolutionizing the digital experience for manufacturers, distributors, and their customers.

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