OTT Platforms and COVID-19 What Every Marketer Needs to Know

In the absence of other entertainment options, lockdown audiences are turning to over-the-top (OTT) media services to get their fix. Netflix added a staggering 15.8 million paid subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, while YouTube is receiving billions of views every day related to COVID-19 news.

As a marketer, these are exciting times as there are noticeable patterns in content consumption and social media usage. OTT platforms have become landing pads for creators and studios that want to share their content due to movie theater closures and other external entertainment.

With the growth of OTT services, social media platforms play a crucial role in the dissemination and consumption of content. Understanding these trends can help you take advantage of wider audiences to grow your business amidst the outbreak.

Keep on reading to learn more!


Related: Why You Should Launch a New Product During a Pandemic 


1.Opportunities for OTT Brands to Grab

The immediate opportunity for OTT services is the increased number of social media users. A recent study showed that engagement rates increased by 61% on social media during COVID-19. Messaging on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp has risen by about 50% in countries with most cases.

This increased pool of potential leads and customers is giving OTT services an opportunity to reach out to a new target audience.

Another opportunity for OTT services right now is reduced competition. Some businesses have temporarily shut down while others have cut or paused their marketing budgets. If you still have the resources to keep your campaigns active, there is no better time to build your brand, grow your followers, and earn trust.

Keep in mind that marketing during COVID-19 is somewhat different. You’ll need to be sensitive about your message and tone. Work with your team to ensure the content you’re producing is relevant and objective.

2.Social Media Outlook During COVID-19

The total number of social media users is skyrocketing. From engaging with their favorite celebrities, to sharing memes with friends, people are turning to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for escape and disruption. It’s also imperative to note the creator platforms, such as Twitch and TikTok which have attained a massive increase in users.

This creates an opportunity for marketers to get in front of a broad audience to accelerate their online performance. Traditionally, original content has been the focal point in advertisements for many OTT services. That was the case with Netflix when advertising its popular TV show, Stranger Things.

People are flocking to social media because they’re looking for something. Whether it’s news, memes, or videos, they want something to stay engaged, informed, and entertained. By sharing content that offers value and by leveraging social media ads, it’s easy to boost subscriptions for your OTT platform.

A good example is Quibi, a Los Angeles-based short-form mobile video platform that launched on April 6th, which took advantage of all these trends. The company invested millions in social media advertising intending to grow its user base during this period.

3.Marketing OTT Services On Social Media

So how do you promote your OTT services on social media during this outbreak?

Up to 77% of consumers think brands should not be insensitive to the crisis when marketing. When releasing a new movie, don’t hesitate to educate your followers about the platform where the movie is available, subscription options, and payment options.

Your marketing objective should also be clear. Are you promoting a specific movie launch or your streaming services? In most cases, it’s usually a combination of both. Your social media advertising should include a creative video mix of several titles or a short trailer of the movie you’re marketing.

It’s advisable to have a target market in mind and be sure to identify the best social media platform where your audience exists. Facebook and Twitter are great for almost any genre, but TikTok and Snapchat let you target young audiences. Or you can use Reddit and Twitch for a tech-savvy audience.

Another way to utilize social media is by tapping into your key actors to reach a wider audience. For instance, 20th Century Fox used Ryan Reynolds to promote the movie Deadpool. The actor took part in a faux rivalry with Hugh Jackman on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ideally, by connecting fans with their favorite characters, it’s possible to appeal to fans and convert them into paying subscribers.

Video is still the best option for marketing OTT services on social media. You can use a movie trailer on YouTube or turn your trailer into six-second or 30-second cuts for quick consumption. You can also use digital-only storylines and behind the scene footage as part of your content strategy as well.


Related: 5 Effective Strategies for Growing Your Market Share During COVID-19 


4.The Future- OTT Brands Beyond COVID-19

With movie theatres and other entertainment spots closed due to the outbreak, it’s a wide open opportunity for OTT brands. Between January and March 2020, Netflix added 15.8 million new paid subscribers globally, which was more than double the projected 7 million users. Disney+ doubled its numbers to hit 50 million users as of June 1, 2020.

But will this trend continue beyond COVID-19? According to L.E.K consulting, the success of OTT brands in a post COVID-19 world will come down to the individual companies. Those brands with a clear and well-defined streaming strategy are likely to win big. At the moment, most companies are working on ways to ensure optimal customer retention after the world opens back up.

Content offerings will also affect the customer base for most services. With subscription rates of between $7 to $20, most people can’t have multiple OTT accounts. Customers are likely to lean towards services that have their favorite titles, user-friendly interfaces, and convenient accessibility.

Whether or not OTT platforms will retain the numbers they’ve gained during Coronavirus is a matter of how well they deliver the content that consumers really are asking for.

Final Thoughts

Like social media, OTT platforms have offered people a way to get entertained amid these lockdowns. OTT marketers should take advantage of the lockdowns to streamline their services and understand their customer needs even better.

Social media offers avenues to engage audiences, get feedback, and source ideas for future improvements. The world post COVID-19 will certainly be a different one, and acknowledging that is a step towards learning how to adjust as a company to ensure steady growth and stellar brand reputation.