7 Do's and Don'ts of Running a Successful OTT Service in 2022

When catering to discerning viewers with lots of streaming options, you need to know the ins and outs of what has worked for the most successful companies out there. Let’s take a closer look at just what you need to do—and avoid—to give the best OTT service possible.


Let’s take a look at what, precisely, you need to do to run a successful OTT service.

1: Find Your North Star: The Netflix Solution

The North Star Framework is a simple and effective strategy to ensure your company stays focused on its most important metrics. Netflix has used it in the past to help increase company efficiencies and revenue.

The North Star Framework is a high-level metric guiding your brand to greatness in the sea of OTT competitors.

North Star Example

For example, a North Star metric might be “time spent watching content.” 

Once you have defined your North Star, the next step is to find three to five input indicators directly impacting the North Star. These should be actionable – areas the business has control over changing. 

Below are a couple key inputs impacting the above North Star of time spent watching shows:

  • Bring back users more frequently
  • Increase time spent watching per session

Using Netflix as an example, their North Star metric looked at an input metric of “the percentage of new customers who add at least three titles to their queue during the first session.” As this particular metric revealed itself to be a strong predictor of retention, the company now forces new users to add three titles as part of their onboarding process.

2: Control Your Product Roadmap: Understanding Your Road to Success

A product roadmap will help you visualize all the features of your product and help you understand what work needs to go into your finished product.

The best roadmaps have product features laid out in a graphical way that is easy to visualize. From simple diagram boxes with product ideas and lines connecting related features to more detailed multi-page illustrations, these visuals can guide the development team to stay focused on the long-term product vision as it works on the day-to-day features.

Before beginning a product roadmap, a good approach is to come up with a list of priorities that drive what you think your definition of a successful product should look like:

  • The user perspective: Will the feature be useful to the user and help them have an enjoyable experience?
  • The business perspective: Will the feature help achieve long-term goals for the product, company, and customers? Will this feature help the company achieve its business goals?
  • The developer's perspective: Will they be able to build this feature? What technology is required to build it? How long will it take?

These perspectives are necessary to get a complete view of your product roadmap. Having everyone's input helps build a roadmap relevant to your users that is good for business and achievable within a reasonable timeframe.

3: Have QA Testing: Why You Need It for Running a Successful OTT Service

Quality Assurance is something you shouldn't gloss over on your service. There will be bugs, and users will find them unless you proactively find them first.

The last thing you need is users tagging you on social media for bugs you didn’t find before release. Public exposure of bugs in such a way can only damage your company’s reputation in the long run. 

A good QC reference to follow is Netflix - they automate the first section of QC to ensure that their product was delivered within their specs. 

Then they spot-check the product at specific points of the video. Additionally, high-profile content and original content are watched by testers to ensure there are no errors. 

Following this process ensures the users have a flawless experience, which encourages retention and means they're running a successful OTT service.

QA testing is also necessary if a bug renders your service unwatchable, such as downed servers and UX or UI bugs. Users are pickier about OTT service bugs, and their annoyance more often leads to dropping your service than not. Even worse—they may be very public on social media about why they’re leaving.

This makes QA testing essential for modern OTT services, and Zemoga can help. 

Zemoga has a world-class lab for QA testing, UI and UX development, so you can never lose a night’s sleep over your user experience again.

4: Build Fandom With Social Media

The power of good social media marketing is not to be underestimated. It can give viewers a tantalizing peek into your content, drive brand recognition, and—the holy grail of marketing—encourage user engagement. 

Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are the top three sites for user engagement, and it’s obvious why. Visual content - video, in particular - sells. Nearly 90 percent of businesses saw a jump in sales when incorporating video into their social media marketing.

Of course, YouTube is also a powerful engagement tool for OTT services, and it provides an additional free tool to promote videos and drive brand awareness.

User engagement is not to be underestimated, as most users—both mobile and otherwise—are on these platforms every day. They're essential marketing tools you should take advantage of to grow your reach exponentially.

Many social media platforms drive user engagement and translate to more users on your service, so don't be afraid to put your brand out there and experiment with different types of content. With that in mind, video is still king, so use video content to convert no matter your platform.


Now let’s go over just what you should avoid and never do when trying to run a successful OTT service.

1: Don’t Neglect Engagement Opportunities

With all the competition in OTT, you have to capitalize on every chance you have to reinforce that you deserve subscription money. Therefore, it is vital to engage with your audience as much as possible to reduce churn.

Here are six ways to engage with your audience and reduce churn simultaneously:

  1. Reduce involuntary churn by offering multiple payment methods
  2. Create a seamless UX and UI across multiple devices and platforms.
  3. Price strategically and never stop showing users your value.
  4. Continually add new content that adds value to your service.
  5. Ensure your onboarding process gives users a roadmap to follow for using your service.
  6. Never skip an opportunity to engage with your users, so utilize methods like push notifications and emails. 

OTT services with high churn rates are unsustainable, so take these steps to lower your churn so you spend less on customer acquisition. Remember, it's not just about getting new customers; it's keeping those you have that make an OTT service successful.

2: Never Stop Optimizing

You should constantly optimize your UX and UI with requested features and fixes. 

The good news is that you can simplify this process into two buckets of optimization:

  1. How users are engaging with the product 
  2. The metrics of product KPIs and success in the business

Both of these can be evaluated with qualitative and quantitative data points. For qualitative data, user testing can reveal how people use your product, their focus points, and how they experience your product across different devices.

Like Hotjar’s heat-mapping product, software tools can provide quantitative data on where people are spending the most time and areas where they may not be interacting with your intended flow.



Once you extrapolate this data, you can figure out how to make your product better and relate to your user experience.

3: Avoid Building a One-Size Fits All Experience

A UX without good personalization is like going to Blockbuster, where everyone sees the same movies. In contrast, a UX with good personalization is like going to a local video store where the person behind the counter chats with you and recommends movies and shows you would like. 

Users enjoy a personalized experience, and suggestions for new content should relate to their interests and previous content they've watched. Allowing them to make their own lists, user accounts, and even different themes can help users get a personalized experience tailored to them. 

A good way of giving users the personalized experience they crave is to use AI. Artificial intelligence in OTT services can help provide users personalized experiences, run quality control, organize metadata, and more.

When users feel like their accounts are personalized to them, it boosts retention, and an excellent personalized experience can help with branding and setting yourself apart from the competition.

Need Help With OTT?

Zemoga offers customized OTT development solutions and research services to give you the best chance of creating successful products. Let us work with you to develop solutions tailored just to your needs! Get in touch today. Our team would love to hear more about your project to help give it the best chance at success possible!

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