Transforming MVOD consumption

How data analytics is transforming video consumption in the UAE
Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO, Vuclip.
Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO, Vuclip.


By Nickhil Jakatdar

Once touted as an ‘experiment’ by media pundits, Mobile Video on Demand (MVOD) services are now garnering attention from a wider audience. The spike in the adoption of MVOD platforms has given rise to a new generation of cord-cutters. Millennials – the sole drivers of the era of cord-cutting – have a strong inclination towards MVOD platforms as opposed to the traditional cable service. This new wave of video consumption stems from the mantra of hyper-connectivity – “quality content, wherever and whenever I want.”

It’s not about the subscription rates, mobile data plans or the speed of network connectivity anymore. It’s simply boils down to the change in user needs and internet usage patterns. MVOD platforms such as Vuclip, sit on heaps of anonymous data related to viewership preferences, subscriber device types, the mobile network they use and their preferred modes of payment to name a few. MVOD companies are leveraging a combination of high quality content, cutting-edge technology and customer insights to the optimum in a bid to win customer loyalty and of course, a greater part of the market share.

Insights that can be drawn from video consumption data play a crucial role in meeting customer expectations, which will only increase in the years to come. It would also be interesting to see how video viewership data can help marketers to tap into MVOD platforms in the UAE as a marketing channel for brands, which this article would delve into with the support of the findings from our Global Video Insights (GVI) Reports.

At Vuclip, we have been delivering on Global Video Insights (GVI) Reports on a regular basis which has been immensely beneficial to us in terms of calibrating our business strategy based on video consumption trends in the UAE and other emerging markets in the Middle East.

Let’s consider some of the significant findings of our survey and summarize the impact on the MVOD business in the UAE:

According to Global Video Insights (GVI) Reports nearly 89% of people in the UAE use their smartphones as a primary device for video consumption.

In an environment driven by a hyper-connected community, the proliferation of mobile devices which make up 52% of the GCC smartphone market and cost less than $300 has led to a surge in data traffic. Moreover, according to the Ericsson Mobile Report (Q1, 2016) the Middle East stands to experience a 13-fold increase in data usage up to 2021 due to the massive demand for data-intensive applications like video and a strong growth in smartphone subscriptions. This highlights the business rationale for MVOD platforms as seen by international players making a beeline for the Middle East.

The viewers in the UAE have a higher propensity to use smartphones for video consumption as compared to other countries. The mobile phone has evolved into a ubiquitous tool; hence the degree of personalisation has ascended to a new level. As users, we have the liberty to optimise news stories we read on our devices based on our preference and location. The idea behind personalisation is to deliver a unified mobile experience right from the time you open an app. The question is how MVOD platforms can create competitive advantage by leveraging video consumption insights and deliver the benefits of personalisation to its viewers.

While 49% of viewers in the UAE consider a buffer-free experience a must-have in an OTT player, 47% of the viewers’ state high-definition video quality is a requisite.

The quality of network connectivity plays a vital role in helping MVOD platforms provide a phenomenal viewing experience. Patchy mobile networks can obstruct the viewing experience, especially in a region where mobile is the preferred screen of choice. In situations like these, data analytics helps complement transcoding technology adopted by MVOD platforms in video optimisation.

Moreover, data analytics help an MVOD platform provide its users with alternative suggestions. Based on the volume of data, bandwidth usage and the quality of network and video (HD or non-HD), users are provided with the option of viewing a video offline or when the network load is low.

With MVOD platforms rising in number and seen as the next big thing, marketers can leverage them as a funnel to tailor their stories, personalise their engagement, reach out to a specific person or audience. The key is to enable marketers to develop an interactive experience which is seamlessly embedded within videos so that it doesn’t distract the user from enjoying the overall video experience.

Data analytics based on viewership trends can help marketers in targeting viewers with contextual ads through content filtration so that they are in line with their interests.

MVOD platforms help brands to target prospective viewers based on viewer preferences, geography and demography. Based on such insights marketers can take well-informed decisions, for example who is well-suited as a brand endorser.

The biggest insight that viewers have given MVOD platforms like ours is in terms of calibrating the revenue model. “Are the viewers in UAE willing to pay for video content, which otherwise could be downloaded from a torrent website?” While you might think otherwise, our experiment of offering subscription based high quality content based on the viewership data has yielded a positive result.

To sum up, as a sign of the digital era, MVOD platforms are disrupting consumption patterns and changing the way organisations do business, pushing them to develop a strong and focused digital agenda, and capture new sources of growth in a smart economy.


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