Why Engagement Matters: Cracking the VOD Experience


Engagement is the holy grail in user experience. Product engineers design for it; business owners strive for it; and users naturally want it. In discussions with owners and executives at cable, OTT, search-and-recommendation and video-streaming companies worldwide, Mediander has found universal agreement on the benefits of user engagement. A more emotionally involved customer is more likely to spend money on products and services. The connection between increased engagement and increased transactions seems like common sense.

In the era of big data and programmatic everything, however, common sense isn’t enough; the engagement-transaction link should be documented in research. This is what we thought, but so far we have not been able to find documented proof of our common-sense assumptions within existing syndicated research. Concurrent to the development of the Mediander Experience for the Video on Demand (VOD) market, we conducted our own survey of 300 random respondents through SurveyMonkey. While not the last word on the subject, the results of the survey were certainly in line with our (and, well, everybody’s) assumptions. Below are some key takeaways.

  • 86 percent of respondents are more likely to rent or purchase VOD content after having seen additional information about it.
  • 85 percent of respondents are more likely to rent or purchase VOD content after having seen a trailer for it.
  • 83 percent of respondents are more likely to rent or purchase VOD content after having read about it.
  • 62 percent of respondents would like to see an interview about a movie or TV show before making a VOD rental or purchase decision.

To measure the correlation between engaging content and likelihood of transaction in the pre-movie/TV-show setting, we asked the survey respondents to imagine having access to additional, relevant content as part of their VOD experience. The stats above demonstrate how respondents feel about seeing supplementary information, trailers, textual materials and video interviews prior to viewing a movie or show—all elements in the Mediander Experience package for VOD clients. The presence of the desired content makes VOD transactions more likely. This confirmed our initial beliefs.

Next, we asked respondents to imagine seeing relevant, ancillary information during and after watching a VOD movie or TV show. Forty-two percent of respondents would like to have information about a movie or TV show available to them while watching the content (35 percent are neutral on the idea; 23 percent are negative to it). Similarly, 47 percent of respondents are likely to rent or purchase a movie related to the VOD content they just finished watching (35 percent neutral; 18 percent negative).

In both cases, a plurality of respondents liked the idea of supplementary content. In the post-movie/TV-show setting, respondents thought recommendations of other, related movies or TV shows to watch would be a good addition to their VOD experience.Chart_Q5_NEW

Chart_Q6_NEWWe also asked a question about integrating the sale of related merchandise. Thirty-three percent of respondents are likely to purchase merchandise related to the VOD content they just finished watching (36 percent are neutral on the idea; 31 percent are negative to it). Furthermore, more than two-thirds of our survey’s respondents were enthusiastic or neutral about the idea of seeing related merchandise for sale after watching VOD content.

This particular form of engagement points to the opportunity for a type of transaction not imagined by many VOD providers. Our survey indicates that VOD customers may be receptive to related-merchandise sales—a new revenue source for VOD providers.

Chart_Q7_NEWEngagement with content, and the experiences we create around that content, is an absolute good—that has been our assumption, and the assumption of many others, for a long time. The results of our survey suggest that there is a positive correlation between user engagement and user transactions. The Mediander Experience aims to increase engagement, so our VOD clients can be the beneficiaries of their users’ increased transaction rates.

For people in the content business, how have engagement efforts affected your transactions and customer retention? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo credit: Melpomenem