Media and entertainment companies are under siege from all sides — new content sources, new channels, new competitors, new technologies (i.e., streaming media) and new hybrid business models. The pay TV industry is projected to lose more than 5.1 million subscribers in 2020, the largest loss in history. At the same time, 5G is expected to make a swift entry on all platforms, with more than 10 million 5G subscriptions projected by the end of 2020. For incumbent providers, enhanced mobile capabilities will eliminate the need for fixed-line broadband data, as well as create new business opportunities around the internet of things (IoT) and other rich data services.

Christopher S. Dean, Vlocity

Christopher S. Dean, Vlocity

Unfortunately, traditional providers have been slow to evolve and are hampered by inflexible legacy technology, so it’s not surprising that they are shedding subscribers, and associated advertising dollars, at staggering rates. Newer market entrants offer something that the Comcasts of the world still don’t: choice and flexibility.

In order to reverse the decline, incumbents must change how they engage their subscribers — treating them like individuals rather than markets. Key to this transition is replacing legacy technology with flexible, cloud-native platforms that allow providers to leverage artificial intelligence/analytics into personalized content subscribers can enjoy whenever and however they choose.

The good news is that the barrier to entry is extremely low. According to a joint report from Accenture, Ovum and PWC, the same technology that has become a massive enabler for new market entrants from Netflix to Disney+ can also be used by incumbents to transform their businesses into nimble, omnichannel offerings.

Omnichannel Market Values

For organizations unclear on how to begin, the importance of understanding the business rules that govern the new landscape can’t be emphasized enough.

Subscriber lifetime relationships should be based on 1:1 relevance. Customers must be empowered with individualized content, product recommendations, personalized messaging, tailored communications and the most relevant next best offer (NBO) powered by third-party AI engines.

Providers grow faster with seamless omnichannel engagement across media and entertainment business lines. Providers enhance subscriber value across business lines by delivering unfettered access to any content, consumed anytime and on any device.

They also prevent revenue leakage and improve profitability while standardizing bundled sales and service processes across all lines of business. Through personalization, they guide subscribers to select the products and services providing the best value for their needs, while protecting margins through sales process optimization.

Serving customers intelligently deepens brand loyalty. Done right, personalization delivers more than customized bundling and effective cross-sell. It also leverages an industry-specific data model with packaged subscriber-model capabilities that include bill payment and renewals.

This new model deflects support calls through omnichannel digital service to enable customers to self-care on their own terms and, when paired with a formal loyalty program, that delivers real consumer value (either points-based or just tenure-based) providers can materially reduce churn.

Providers must compete with continuous industry innovation and business agility. The way to break through legacy customer relationship management/operations support systems (CRM/OSS) barriers is with a 100% cloud platform that embeds customer-specific intelligence across the sales and service lifecycle.

Total Subscriber Lifecycle

New subscribers begin their journey with maximum flexibility. They should be able to choose specific channels (e.g. news, leisure, sports) or any combination of the aforementioned, then subscribe on a standalone basis or for their preferred duration (e.g. one month, three months, six months, etc.).

From the provider perspective, the cloud-enabled solution offers a 360-degree customer view. In place of siloed, on-premise offerings, a media and entertainment cloud platform helps the organization manage the customer experience right from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud or whatever cloud solution is being used for outbound lead management.

The goal is to empower incumbents with an omnichannel platform that allows them to grow faster, increase profitability and subscription revenue, retain subscribers over multiple renewal cycles, as well as increase overall agility, enabling them to deploy new offerings rapidly and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). The cloud approach brings subscriber management to a new level of quality and profitability. Providers can not only diagnose subscriber issues on a granular level, they can also leverage real-time data from channels for self-care for sales and service. For omnichannel incumbents, there is the added benefit of integrating self-care capabilities with the traditional call center.

The (Customer) Bottom Line

Successful lifecycle management depends on both conversion and retention. For example, once a trial period expires, it’s about presenting customers with the right guided flows that drive easy renewal as well as suggestions to cross-sell/upsell.

The upshot, beyond increased revenue and overall efficiency, is real-time clickstream data that a provider can redirect into their analytic systems to trigger new, more intelligent content offers.

For incumbents that want to transform their business, this is the kind of vertically specialized, end-to-end subscriber management that separates an ad hoc or legacy solution from a true omnichannel offering that both speaks directly to — and delights — subscribers.

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