Demand for OTT services had already been on the increase, but with coronavirus, there has been a massive surge in both viewership and the average watch time. According to OpenX, the average OTT user streams more than two hours of content every day, with millennials and GenZers twice as likely than the earlier baby boomers to binge-watch content. Now, SmartLabs, provider of multi-screen, multi-network solutions for video streaming, has released the latest feature-rich version of its SmartCARE quality monitoring tool, which can help operators and content providers understand audience behaviour and changes in viewing habits alongside verifying technical performance
Based on its technical support offering that looks at the performance of streaming sessions, the powerful tool can analyse set top box CPU and memory usage and OTT devices including mobiles, along with stream quality and buffering statistics. By collating this information and analysing it alongside channel and content offerings, the new engine can highlight spikes of activity and report on customer drop-off, helping to distinguish normal behaviour from abnormal and enabling operators to reduce customer churn and offer a better customer experience. During the first few months of the Coronavirus pandemic, observations by the team saw a dramatic increase in the amount of STB viewing, times and dates and links with other additional subscriber services.
Oleg Sobol, R&D Director at SmartLabs, says: “Using SmartCARE, operators are able to see if there are issues with the system, in particular with OTT services, and identify how this might affect subscriber behaviour. Being able to collect and analyse this data means operators can proactively solve any technical issues before customers are even aware of them, reducing the calls to customer service.”
As well as gaining technical insights to help the service run more smoothly, the information can be used by commercial and marketing teams to identify which pieces of content are delivering. This can better assist with programming scheduling or could be used as a negotiation tool for paid-for content with suppliers.
Oleg adds: “Users can create customised, feature-rich dashboards using drag and drop widgets with the ability to see the insights at a glance. Dashboards and reports can be easily tailored to highlight particular metrics. This makes it simple for the marketing team to see if a channel is not performing, or to view the actual numbers of subscribers watching a programme and for how long. Stream performance and glitches can be pulled together in one place for the tech team.
“In addition, being able to easily see this information in one screen is invaluable to CMOs, CTOs and COOs as well as anyone working in networking engineering. SmartCARE is agnostic, so it can be the ‘health check on content provision network’ totally independent of other services.”