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OTT Maturity

It was interesting and refreshing to be at IBC 2022 in Amsterdam after 3 years of no-show due to the COVID pandemic. The time gap makes change more evident and for me the most obvious one was that the OTT market is beginning to mature. Gone are the wild west times of 2019 where OTT launches were springing like mushrooms, the mainstream now are serious projects from serious brands that carefully balance content, technology and business.

As usual in media (some things never change) content is hugely important. The projects we see now are from serious operators with content that is fit for purpose for the market they target. Coupled with content is how to distribute this content in order to reach the maximum audience; and brands are deploying a blend of SVOD, TVOD, AVOD in both linear or non-linear formats. Again, in the business world, we did a circle and are back to the old DTH days of premium, freemium with ads and TVOD.

A big trend and change is also evident on the business and subscriber model. Operators are now super sensitive on the product they offer their subscribers and the membership model and choices offered are richer and wider. Multiple subscriber models are needed, from simple pay-before-you-use to more advanced subscription plans with binding and promotions. The initial 30-day free period is replaced with continuous advanced promos based on BI in order to increase revenue per subscriber and decrease churn. Choice of packages with upgrade paths is in, one size fits all is out. A wide selection of payment methods is important. Advanced usage-based models are also coming with concepts such as 10 blockbuster films per month in your subscription package.

A successful OTT product needs fit for purpose content, good video tech and a modern, flexible and highly functional subscription management and billing / payment platform.

Let’s welcome the new mature OTT market that is still growing and evolving fast.


New Generation Rewards by CRM.COM

The advanced digital world we live in, requires a new generation reward model. Gone are the times of point-based systems, customers collecting stamps or asking for their loyalty voucher.

Customers are super demanding when it comes to ease of you. Merchants in coalition schemes need value or the scheme  fails.  And value can only be created with SKU-based offers and awards that leverage place, time and product conditions.

CRM.COM believes the future lies in the merging of payment systems and SKU-based rewards, all frictionless. Customer is identified by their payment method (such as credit card) and cashback awards are offered on SKU-based offers. Spend is done via refunding the same credit card that was used for identification. All frictionless and all cashback-based. New generation rewards is coming fast.


eOrdering Chapter II

There is no doubt that the pandemic evolved eOrdering (the ability for a brand to accept orders across all channels) into a necessity. It was meant to happen of course, it is just that the pandemic accelerated this evolution.

The initial winners of this were as we all know the aggregation platforms, and the likes of Deliveroo, Foody, eFood, Amazon etc saw their revenues skyrocket. The platforms have a lot of value to offer to the merchants and are an important delivery channel. But unless blended in with a direct-to-consumer strategy they are more a liability than an asset, resulting in customer loyalty reduction, increased costs, reduced margins and overdependence to a third party.

So welcome to post pandemic chapter II. Merchants need to focus on their most valuable asset, “The Customer”, and not outsource them to the platforms. They need to keep the aggregation platform channels but for a minority of revenue. The majority of their revenue  should come from a direct engagement with their customers and their own branded systems. Systems that build sticky customer relationships and provide differentiated service levels based on customer value and personas.

CRM.COM offers a cloud based solution that combines sophisticated rewards, payments and eOrdering that is easy to setup and deploy. The merchant can do proper direct-to-customer delivery and engage directly with their customers, identify them, offer to them rewards and promotions and keep their history to determine preferences and personas.

From a business case perspective, the customer gets a personalized service direct from the merchant or brand and the merchant gets sticky (repeat) revenue at a lower transaction cost than any platform.

eOrdering and Rewards Chapter II is here.


Merchant-driven eWallets

eWallets are not only for banks and EMIs. Fintech is coming for merchants and the brands where launching an eWallet for their customer base offers huge benefits and advantages.

Their customers can easily top-up their eWallet using a 3DS compliant flow to save their card on file. Subsequent top-ups can be automated (termed, on purchase), added an extra amount by the merchant and used for purchases at the merchant outlets and their partner network, optionally with discounts or rewards. If purchases are kept in such a closed loop then no EMI license is required.

CRM.COM provides a cloud native infrastructure where merchants, businesses and brands can launch an eWallet in days. We have successfully launched wallets at customers in many geographies such as EKO (Cyprus), AVG (Vietnam), Beximco (Bagladesh) with substantial revenue increases.

Welcome to the world of convergence of finance and commerce.