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May 18, 2015
Hulu, Sling TV & Clearleap on why OTT is their BFF – Part 2
Posted by KMontgomery

Hulu, Sling TV & Clearleap on why OTT is their BFF – Part 2

In life you rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, but having great content just might get you a another shot. Case in point, HBO Nordic.

Last week I published part 1 of this post relating insights derived from my INTX panel Why OTT is their BFF. In this second part, Braxton Jarratt, CEO of Clearleap, talks about how the company is helping HBO Nordic recover from a disastrous launch.

When HBO Nordic first launch in Scandinavia 3 years ago the video quality and client support just simply wasn’t good enough. To help fix the flagging service Mr. Jarratt said his company has completely rebuilt the service infrastructure including the sign-up process, streaming clients and device playback. Mr. Jarratt said that having great content was simply not enough:

“You have to have a user experience equal to the content; you have to have both.”

This led me to ask if it is better for a company to build their own OTT infrastructure or work with technology providers. Tim Connolly said Hulu built its own infrastructure from scratch. Roger Lynch also leveraged a home grown solution for Sling TV from Echostar, though he had some sage advice for anyone wishing to start to deliver OTT: “My strong advice would be to work with someone like Clearleap, because it’s not easy to do and build this yourself.”

I asked the panelists how they are using data in their services. Mr. Connolly said Hulu is collecting 4 petabytes of usage data a day, generated by 1 billion daily events. With that amount of data, little wonder he went on to say the company is only scratching the surface of what can be done with it. Mr. Lynch agreed that there is much more to be done with the data.

For example, both Hulu and Sling TV are using the data to continuously make many small improvements to improve their services. As Mr. Lynch said, all the little improvements can add up to big gains.

Given that churn is a major challenge for OTT services, one area both Hulu and Sling TV are anxious to improve is the sign-up process. As Mr. Connolly says: “It is the mother’s milk of our business.” Hulu, for example, advertises on other sites, which presents an opportunity to improve the chance someone clicking on the ad will sign-up. Mr. Connolly said:

“When people come to our landing page <from another site> should we change the creative based on where they came from? If they came from ESPN can we pop Sons of Anarchy and other male skewing content in the creative that’s part of the landing page in the signup flow?”

Finally, I asked each panelist to talk about the number one thing they have learned about delivering content OTT to audiences. Here’s what each had to say:

“Doing live TV is challenging. A lot more challenging than on-demand. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of doing live TV.” Roger Lynch, Sling TV

“The time for trying OTT with a half-baked solution is over. If you’re serious about a paid TV service online, you have to get it right from day one.” Braxton Jarratt, Clearleap

“There are two things we found difficult. The living room is the key device and that environment is really fragmented.” And, “The whole subscriber infrastructure is challenging. We have 250 people working on distribution marketing and product support.” Tim Connolly, Hulu

If you missed the first part of this piece you can find it here. You might also like to watch the whole p

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