Popular OTT video streaming service Netflix recently announced its plans to create multiple user profiles on the same account, which will go into effect in August. This will allow each user on an account to create a different profile which contains videos that are personalized only to his or her own viewing habits. This allows personalized Netflix features such as the “Instant Queue” and “Just for You” video sectionsto continue to suggest content to a user without being muddled by other users on the same account.
While simple in nature, the change highlights the importance of content personalization in the online streaming world. Personalized content and video suggestions keep the user engaged and ultimately attain more viewing time for the provider. In the case of Netflix, this means profits in the form of customers continuing to pay for the service provided to them. In the case of free video providers such as YouTube, it means profits in the form of paid advertisements (see “Impact of YouTube’s TrueView for Mobile”).
Creating personalized content, however, remains a developing technology which not only involves observing users’ viewing tendencies, but also uses complex metadata and algorithms to determine the best options for a given user.
Jim O’Neill thinks that “content discovery” is the key for OTT providers to attain and retain users:
“Content recommendation remains a big hurdle for online video aggregators …it’s becoming increasingly important for service providers especially to offer subscribers an easier way to find content… or risk losing them.”