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Using VidOps to Establish a Central System of Record for Subscriber and Audience Data

At the center of the VidOps Framework are nine core tenets that ensure success. We’re diving into each to help you empower your video operations teams and implement strategies that will deliver awesome video experiences to viewers.  Today, Steve Lacoff, a strategic advisor at Zype, shares why the VidOps tenet, “Spend less time maintaining your content system with a central system of record,” is a crucial step in the VidOps journey. Steve is an expert in the and has previously served as VP of Product for Comcast Technology Solutions where he led product strategy & execution for comprehensive video platform.


 

Long gone are the days of creating a simple collection of video-on-demand (VOD) assets at a single price point, available exclusively over an owned-and-operated website.   Video services must now navigate an extremely complex, and ever-growing landscape of media types, web and mobile platforms, app stores and payment methods, monetization models and business rules.   In addition, customers have more control than ever. Consequently, product owners need to understand their customers intimately — their preferences, behaviors — not only to deliver a personalized end-user experience but also to drive true, one-to-one marketing across the customer experience.

Taking control of this complexity is one of the central aims of VidOps, which is an open framework that addresses the need to remove functional and technical silos within your organization.  It was introduced at Zype and distilled from partnering deeply with hundreds of customers, partners and collaborators to help video-centric businesses transform and improve their processes and enable technology stacks. In this blog post, we explore Vid Ops Tenet #6:

Establish a system-of-record for content, video subscriber and audience-data management.

Today’s modern over-the-top (OTT) video products and services must maintain an array of modules to store critical information, power end-to-end workflows, and drive business insights and analytics.  Intuitively, we all understand that it’s crucial for these stores of information to be unified and done so in a way that ensures consistent data integrity that scales with the growth of the service. Silos are a non-starter.

While this is not a revolutionary concept, in practice it can often feel like you are walking down uncharted territory.  Creating a linked, unified view of your underlying content, monetization plans, pricing, transactions, end-user engagement across all app platforms, syndication partners and technology stacks often requires expense and complex integration of multiple systems.  It’s hard to establish and even harder to monitor, maintain and scale.

While there is unmistakable value in utilizing platforms with a high degree of modularity and extensibility, there are certain components of your stack which provide inordinate value from being tightly coupled.  We’ve outlined these crucial components below and the role they play in a VidOps framework to provide a unified system-of-record for your video business:

 

Content Management System (CMS) 

A system to maintain and store all the mezzanine and bit-rate adapted versions of your content.  In addition to underlying video/media, it also stores all your associated metadata, poster art and thumbnails, all of which is linked to the underlying assets.   The CMS also allows you organize your content into playlists or other collections (e.g. subscription plans) which requires integration into your Subscription and Monetization Management platform.   The CMS also serves as the means to publish and present content thumbnails in the appropriate location for all your apps and other viewing experiences.

 

End-User Management

This system serves as the central database storing all of your customer accounts, contact information, and credentials.  It not only enables authentication into all your apps, but is also a core integration point for entitlements, subscription management, payment processing, marketing automation, and analytics.

 

Business Rules & Entitlements Engine

The rules around determining which specific content an end-user is able to access based on various criterion including subscription/transactions, geography, device, etc are housed here.   These rules are exposed as APIs which your various web and app endpoints utilize to enable presentation and playback of content.

 

Subscription & Monetization Management

It is increasingly rare for video businesses to offer a single subscription at a single price.   All of your monetization offerings, price points and associated entitlements (a subscription after all is simply an entitlement for a collection of content) are maintained here as well as the business rules for various promotion plans including discounts, coupons, and trials.

 

Payment Gateway

Modern video business utilizes multiple payment processors.  These include not only those used for owned and operated experiences (e.g. Stripe, Adyen, etc.) but also integration with key app stores (e.g. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku).   These not only facilitate payments but ideally validate receipts and current account status with integration to End-User Management and Subscription & Monetization Management systems.

 

By ensuring these systems are tightly integrated, video businesses can maintain a single, coherent view of their customers, content, and monetization and understand how each of these levers interact.   Employing this tenet of the VidOps framework delivers a number of key business outcomes:

 

Maintain Control of Customer Relationships

For many product owners, scaling their service requires various app and syndication partners.   Enabling in-app purchases on Apple iPhone and iPad, or broadcasting a linear stream to SlingTV requires a unified system-of-record.  For example, while app stores like Apple iTunes or Google Play provide a gateway to millions of potential users with frictionless in-app purchasing, this can result in customer information – and the relationship between your product and the customer – being locked behind the app-store.

 

Personalization

Customers are increasingly in control and demand truly tailored experiences.   Delivering personalization requires alignment of a customer’s account information, viewing habits and underlying economics.   For example, a customer’s Favorites, bookmarks, and login credentials should carry over seamlessly across any viewing platform.   This requires consolidating metrics from virtually all components of your VidOps stack with data that is clean, consistent and usable.

 

Facilitate Truly Seamless Workflows

Your workflows will often entail utilizing other clouds/SaaS platforms outside of your core VidOps technology stack.   These can include CRM, Marketing Automation or Ticketing use-cases. Today’s platforms should provide built-in hooks that allow you to extend your systems-of-record across the platform ecosystem.   For example, sending a targeted in-app notification to customers who are identified as likely to churn but previously have binge-watched horror movies requires harnessing data which cuts across various parts of your VidOps stack.

 

Easily Extract Relevant Business Insights

Whether it’s performing customer segmentation, ROI analysis or designing marketing campaigns, all of these insights require to have a holistic view of your business across the customer experience.   In addition, these are built on data stores that can quickly reach massive proportions. Possessing deep data analytics expertise simply isn’t a viable option for many businesses. Consequently, it’s crucial for VidOps team to utilize systems that allow them to easily apply the 80/20 rule for business insights and provide built-in analytics capabilities that routinely surface the analytics that really matter and that eliminate the complexity of scaling or integrating underlying systems-of-record.

As you grow into a VidOps approach to your product, the adoption of a unified system of record is an essential strategy to achieve these powerful business outcomes.  Learn more about VidOps here.

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