Singula Decisions, a Subscriber Intelligence platform, in coordination with Jennifer Whittaker, has launched the latest in-depth study looking at over-the-top (OTT) TV subscription brands like Netflix, Amazon, and NOW TV and customer trust.

The report revealed that a wide range of OTT streaming services, in both sports and entertainment, fail to connect with consumers on a deeper psychological and emotional level by:

1. Failing to understand the fundamental drivers that actually motivate a subscriber’s interactions and behaviors
2. Insufficiently tailoring different services to match the mindset and moods of each customer
3. Invading the boundaries while seeking for financial commitment too soon
4. Creating ‘ambivalent’ or ‘avoidant’ attachments to subscribers that fail to build loyal relationships
5. Ineffectively offering subscribers with the ability to share more information about themselves and to listen to the subsequent feedback

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The research revealed that suspicion and dissatisfaction could begin from the moment a subscriber ‘joins’ a service, when asked about the financial information or commit to the brand too soon. While subscribers remain the most enthusiastic in the first few months of engagement, brands usually fail to take advantage of their potential to become advocates.

From a B2B market perspective, while the report focuses on consumer attitudes, subscription companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Edinburgh University provide insights/advice on their subscriber platforms. The entire report is designed to give guidance for companies based on their consumer responses about the customer journey.

Qualitative Researcher, Jennifer Whittaker said: “Many brands do not listen to subscribers, nor do they create a safe enough space for subscribers to come forward and give more. In fact, brands often have unconscious narcissistic tendencies and are blinded by the belief that customers are only there to serve, by giving ‘strokes’ to the ego – aka money to the account – and helping to build a good reputation. Unfortunately, brands cannot know subscribers until subscribers give more. But subscribers will only give more if they trust, and they’ll only trust if they don’t feel forgotten.”

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Ducking the emerging trend of demographic differences, the study also revealed that at the acquisition stage, there weren’t many variations in needs and experiences across age groups. From Gen Z to Baby Boomers, subscribers across ages confirm feeling a sense of being “pushed” by OTT TV brands committing to the platform financially or sharing private information.

Both US and UK consumers have also emphasized the need for a variety of content; American respondents seek a unique content that is frequently updated, while the British viewers seek value for money based on the choice and options for the whole family. After joining the platform, usually, subscribers feel that brands were nowhere to be seen, without guidance on how to leverage the service or how to connect accounts with friends.

Commenting on the findings, Bhavesh Vaghela, CEO of Singula Decisions, said: “We recognize how tough it can be to build a strong brand and grow a TV subscription business as consumers continue to dip in and out of services every month. We have seen strong consumer brands being created in other sectors such as retail, e-commerce, and banking; consumers are loyal to these brands, and TV subscription businesses are behind this curve.  OTT brands must think differently about how they build a service and experience that best suits the needs of their customers – and do a better job to emotionally connect with their customers to build trust and loyalty.”

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The findings also indicate that brands are willing to listen and take time to honestly understand their customers, can build loyalty and trust. The report highlights nearly 40 best practice recommendations that can help brands boost their offerings with a simultaneous sense of both connection and freedom that the subscribers crave in order to feel comfortable and share more of themselves.

Establishing a relationship that goes far beyond a transactional one creating a significant impact on consumers who have more choice than ever is the ultimate goal. OTT brands that take the lead across other industries, such as e-commerce, retail, and banking, seek to connect with the customers on a deeper emotional level, that can emerge much stronger.

All brands need to understand how the OTT platforms work as soon they will emerge as the advertising hotspot for them in the near future – flaunting and hosting the maximum customer base.