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3 Ways to Market Downloading to Your OTT Viewers

October 15, 2020

Video downloading has become a popular feature for OTTs to offer their viewers. That’s because users love downloading video as a way to avoid the kinds of issues they frequently encounter with streaming: startup delays, re-buffering, poor quality, or an inability to watch due to wifi limitations. But offering your users the functionality shouldn’t be the last step on an OTT’s downloading journey. Once you’ve invested in the technology to make downloading possible, you should market the feature as aggressively as you market your content and other features. 

Why? Well, as an OTT you should want your users to download as much as possible. When viewers stream, they are vulnerable to experiential issues as their content travels from the CDN’s edge to their devices. When they encounter these issues, your viewers will take actions that negatively impact your KPIs: they’ll abandon the stream, they’ll churn, and in many cases even write a negative review that turns away potential new subscribers. 

But when they download your content, users essentially extend the CDN’s edge all the way to their device. This means they can stream locally from their smartphone or tablet and significantly reduce any viewing problems—keeping them more engaged with your content and increasing your mobile sessions. That’s why it’s a good idea to market your downloading feature to your users. Doing so will encourage them to use it more often and to have a consistently seamless experience in your app. 

Some users already know that downloading is key for a great experience. While people download when they are traveling so they can watch when they won’t have wifi, it’s a common misconception that it’s the only use case. In fact, many viewers take advantage of download as a hack to make streaming better—even when they’re at home. In fact, according to Penthera’s data, some 80% of downloaded video playback actually occurs when the viewer is still connected to a network. Plus, when traveling plummeted globally during the first stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, video download activity actually grew 15%. So, for your viewers who haven’t figured out why downloading is a great way to improve their streaming experience, here are a few ways you can let them know.  

On Your Website

Penthera’s global research has shown that 71% of people across 12 countries worldwide expect a streaming service to include download functionality. That means you should shout about your feature from the rooftops. A download feature is a huge selling point, so letting viewers know it’s something you offer means they’ll be more likely to subscribe to your service. (In fact, more than 50% of viewers say a download feature makes them more likely to sign up for a new service.) And for those who already subscribe, they’ll be more likely to download your app and watch your content on their mobile devices, too. Take a cue from providers like Disney+, who consistently promote their download capabilities near the top of their homepage.


In Your App

A well-designed download feature will make it easy and seamless for users to download. But you can also include features that encourage them to download. In-app popups can ask if they’d rather download than stream when they’re connected to wifi, reminding viewers that doing so can help ensure a flawless experience. 

You can also include language around downloading in any push notifications you send to promote new content they might want to watch, or send push notifications explicitly designed to educate them about the feature, linking to downloadable content or a tutorial on downloading in your app.


Emails and Social Media

An email campaign is a great opportunity to go in-depth with your viewers on all the advantages of downloading your content: speedy playback, reduced buffering, high quality. Despite its popularity, some viewers will still think of it as a travel feature, and a well-worded email (to new or loyal subscribers) can help dispel this myth and promote downloading as the better way to watch. 


Social media is another great way to market your offerings to users, but many OTTs just use it to promote shows and movies. But users care about all your offerings, and that includes app features like downloading. Incorporate download-specific language when you tweet to your users about new content, and post frequently about the benefits of downloading. 


These are just a few ways you can continue to communicate with potential and current viewers about downloading. Using these tips will make it so more of your users take advantage of the feature you’ve invested in—and always have a positive experience watching in your app.


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