COVID happened. Things changed. The transformation happened to an extent that consumers have reshaped the status quo. Social watching and co-viewing have become the new norm to address for OTT players. Experiences such as Watch together are no longer good-to-have. It is a must-have. We will clarify how to monetize watch together and make it a revenue stream.

60% of those choosing OTT platforms for any form of entertainment indulge in social watching and co-viewing. There has been a spike across global audiences in this trend. This just tells that if your OTT platform does not support Watch Together as a feature, then you will soon have almost 60% of your customer base look for other options. 

Maneuvering the OTT maze

OTT audience before the lockdown lived with disintegrated interaction channels. OTT has been a highly cluttered market, yet comes with promising opportunities. The global pandemic has brought the world into a state of lockdown with social distancing. With Social Watching, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need to use digital to remain connected with friends and family. 

In this time of everything going digital, OTT platforms have recognized a huge opportunity to innovate and look ahead at 5G use cases, monetize social watching while engaging with the existing subscriber base, and attracting new customers. 

Adding Watch Together in 7days

COCO has made this so simple and effortless. You can add Watch Together in 7 days with end-to-end technology that comes with low latency and is designed-for-privacy. In three straightforward steps, you can launch your OTT’s co-watching feature. Get your SDKs for free!

Leading OTT players have already added this to their technology stack. Adding Watch Together is a part of their strategic agenda to increase active users. It has a direct impact on enabling OTT platforms to increase daily, weekly, and monthly users (DAU, WAU, MAU).

Read more about it here: See how Accedo created a ready-to-launch social watching product in 7 days

But, for this article to not just to upgrade you about the technology, but is to help you upgrade your business. Here’s how you can start monetizing Watch Together.

6 ways to Monetize Watch Together for your OTT business

With COCO’s Watch together, the underlying foundation is a combination of less cost and quick go-to-market lead time. You do not have to manage any infrastructure to maintain this new service.

Right from sports, movies, web series, prime hour shows, or a celebrity meet up—you can do it all with Watch Together.

#1 Private Watch Rooms

Privacy is a dear proposition, for which customers are willing to switch brands. Private Watch rooms can be made available for a price to host sponsored engagement celebrities, live chat, and other engagements that require exclusivity. These watch rooms can also be used to allow your members of a specific community to host private watch parties. Music shows, interviews as a curtain-raiser are some options used to turn private watch rooms into virtual studios.

#2 Prime Show Curtain Raiser

Media houses and production brands are still looking for opportunities to create the ‘prime time show’ culture on OTT platforms. Oscars and Super Bowl still attract an audience for the prime time segment. Watch Together comes with in-built analytics to track these trends and micro-events – by the day, the hour, even the minute – advertisers can see, in real-time, the topics that are important to their key audiences. 

Ad targeting has become more relevant, accurate, and even eye-opening, discovering new audience segments that weren’t known before. 

With Watch Together, you can create scheduled content to meet multiple time zones, engage global audiences, and leverage demand for international shows. The same feature can be employed also for news debates, OTT-specific production, reality shows, and more.

#3 Sports and game finales

Research confirms that leveraging digital tools to drive new sports revenue streams remains crucial for media companies to survive who received a serious blow due to match cancellations and postponed schedules owing to COVID-19. Sports has taken a massive hit in terms of market size with sports tournaments coming to a standstill during the lockdown. E-sports is expected to become bigger in the coming years with a positive push provided by the pandemic. Many players and companies have resorted to e-sports owing to the immense consumer traction it generates. 

Sponsorship deals of major teams have been of prime importance as many global brands have been able to form mutually beneficial long-term relationships with leagues by generating more and more traction for these leagues and attracting new audiences. 

Watch Together is the linchpin here. You can onboard influencers and sponsor engagements for exclusive sports and end-game events. A step into the future also includes creating virtual and augmented reality experiences of seating an audience in the stadium, or a racing track!

#4 First Day, First Show Movies

Movie production brands are missing ‘First day first show’ with the change in preference of watching movies in theatres to consuming them on OTT platforms. OTT platforms can re-create theatrical launches, bringing back the same experience across all streaming devices with co-watching ability. Sell tickets and get the audience to join with their friends. Monetize on the high demand for the first day, first show with private rooms and watch groups.

Statistics show that bringing family and friends together through co-viewing itself has a high rate of in-channel engagement. 

#5 Live Reality Shows

Reality shows bundle up adventure and high emotional content that the audience engages deeply with. COCO’s Watch Together comes with facial recognition and dashboards with in-built, real-time analytics. Watch Together allows you to explore many engagement formats that include gamification, voting, trivia, and celebrity chat.

It lets your analytics team respond with personalized content and sponsor recommendations over real-time interactions. This provides a deeper, data-validated insight into how and when are audiences truly engaging. This data in itself is a powerhouse, an asset for OTT platforms to engage in sponsored events and advertisements. 

#6 Interactive real-time experiences

The next step for every OTT platform is in the direction of delivering interactive real-time experiences. Watch Together comes with a personalized real-time notification engine, which provides users with real-time events, VR and AR experiences, customized to the users’ interests. 

Interactive live streaming solution is not just another cosmetic feature to promote. It boosts audience engagement with live interactive experiences and provides corresponding real-time data for advertisers and content publishers. With this, OTT players can configure unique streaming environments by seamlessly synchronizing timed metadata, chat functionality, and two-way live video.

How are OTT platforms improving their business with Watch Together?

Nielsen data shows that co-viewing makes up 34% of streaming behavior and 48% of linear TV viewing. Research shows that since the start of the pandemic, co-viewing numbers have increased even more, especially connected TV viewership. 

We have already seen OTT platforms employ social watching solutions to experience:

  • Increased Watch time
  • Increased Audience base
  • Additional revenues
  • Earned Media 
  • Production savings with virtual studios
  • Facial recognition analytics 

Download SDKs and explore for yourself.

Request a Demo to jump into it right away!