Dutta began by asking the common elements one sees in different OTT services around the world. Rayburn said, “When it comes to a global audience, we have different consumption patterns, we have different types of content that we’d like and culture around the world obviously depends a lot in terms of how we consume content.”
Next they highlighted what type of business models are gaining traction in the OTT space. Rayburn cited examples from HBO, Netflix and said, “There’s no one size fits all. It’s really a matter of who is the consumer? How do they want to consume this? What is the length of content they want to consume? What is the device they want to consume it on?”
Next, Dutta asked if the length and breadth of content mattered more or the originality. Rayburn answered this with clarity and said “You can’t just launch a service, because you have a lot of money, you have to fill a void, or you have to be doing something from an original content standpoint.” He further shared how Netflix over the past 10 years has reduced its catalog and yet they continued to grow because they focused on original content and creating content that they believed consumers wanted to watch.
Rayburn further elaborated what drives new subscriber growth and what negatively impacts the churn. “Content is king,” he reiterated and secondly the discounting factor on subscriptions affects the growth.
The discussion then moved towards why so many companies in the streaming media space are gradually losing money on their content offerings. Rayburn opined that it is because consumers have a choice that they can start these different services, try them for a month, cancel and go back. He added, “I feel some of the streaming services have tried to push consumers into- ‘Well, here’s what we want you to do’. That’s not a good way to do it, you got to listen to the consumer.“
Speaking on how does culture or religion impacts the success or failure of a streaming service, Rayburn said, “Culture is really important to understand what consumers in that region want and how they interact with content.” He further said, “It’s interesting to see the consumption habits and patterns when you go into India and APAC in particular, on mobile which is very different than the US.”
Next, the two discussed whether live sports genre matters anymore to which Rayburn said, “So it’s incredible, over the last 18 months, what’s happened here in the US, not just particularly in sports and licensing, but also how regional sports networks play in. Also keep in mind that these sports leagues have gotten the most content over the years, not from streaming services, but from cable TV operators licensing the content.”
Lastly, Dutta and Rayburn discussed various aspects of the future of this business, and where the growth lies. Rayburn explained that there is going to be more content online which will lead to more choices for the consumers but also more confusion and fragmentation. He added, “The issue lies that the media is terrible at covering this industry.”