Posted by Judd Bagley on Apr 7, 2021
Judd Bagley
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Posted by Judd Bagley on
Apr 7, 2021
Posted By: Judd Bagley

Connected device intelligence firm Parks Associates recently hosted the first session, in a series of virtual events dedicated to understanding the Future of Video and exploring the emerging market for Over the Top (OTT) video, which is streaming content entering the home via the internet, subverting the broadcast networks and cable providers. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Sling are well-known examples.

This first session focused in on virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) - online video services that provide bundles of live and linear channels, which have found a niche between traditional pay TV and OTT services. According to Parks, in the next 12 months, 43% of US broadband households with traditional pay TV report they are likely to switch to a vMVPD.

One participant, Mike Ribero, until recently head of brand marketing at Sling TV and now VP of Global Marketing for Paramount+, volunteered a very interesting insight into a tactic for customer acquisition he used at Sling. Ribero said he found there were two big openings into a potential new subscriber’s entertainment ecosystem, and those were linked to life changes and points of frustration.

Life changes are those moments when many connections are re-evaluated, such as: moving to a new home, the birth of a child, the transition to empty nester status, and similar passages. For example, a first-time parent is likely to assess whether their provider(s) have an adequate catalogue of child-friendly content.


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Points of frustration are those moments when one can be assumed to be dissatisfied with their current video provider, and these folks could be found and marketed to via their online search activity. Thus, according to Ribero, if trying to take market share from Comcast, for example, Sling would bid on search terms like, “how to cancel Comcast” and “trouble with my [Comcast] box” and use the opportunity to extol the relative simplicity of the Sling platform, from a position much higher on the search results page than actual Comcast support resources.


“That point of frustration is a bit of an open door. It's an opportunity to get someone to switch,” Ribero said.

The implications of this kind of strategy are clear to the laggards of the world: your subscriber support resources must be both exceptionally easy to find and effective. To the extent that they are lacking in either of these qualities, that door Ribero refers to opens ever wider with a host of cheaper and more novel alternatives awaiting their turn just outside.

There are many ways this lesson can be applied, though here’s one you may not have considered, but which checks both the findability and effectiveness boxes: user-led support communities. These are websites or forums where users can post support questions and more experienced users offer answers, usually in exchange for nothing more than some level of rank or recognition related to the quantity and quality of their past responses.


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And yes, they do this for free. Some people are just natural born helpers and expect nothing more in return than badges to show off on their profiles.

These sites cannot be run entirely by the users. Instead, a surprisingly small contingent of trained content moderators remain on hand to ensure that there is no abuse of the platform and that the general mood remains a positive one. They may also gently steer the direction of discussions in such a way that the outcome is not merely giving the customer a voice, but a useful and actionable voice, often surfacing insights into product or business process flaws which, when aggregated, go much deeper than the issue the support seekers originally brought to the table.

This, in turn, means two things: a better, less frustration-provoking product, and a support website overflowing with rich, high search ranking, natural language content which future support seekers are more likely to quickly find via search and benefit from.

Successful user-led support communities are uncommon, if only because it’s not easy achieving the right balance between openness and chaos when pseudonymous users are allowed to participate. Things can easily go south in response to the reigns being held too tight or too loose.

Everise provides economical outsourced support community moderation, specializing in the soft skills training needed to elicit higher quality contributions yielding better outcomes and brand-affirming experiences for all parties. These moderators are backed by analysts with access to our proprietary Systematic Insights tools and methodologies, and they aggregate and examine these contributions in search of deeper knowledge.

One of our smart home hardware clients estimates the support community we moderated on their behalf saved at least $24-million annually in averted product returns alone.

Well-moderated, user-led support communities are a powerful tool made to reduce points of frustration and maximizing brand connection and loyalty.

To learn more about how Everise provides highly effective content moderation, contact us to speak to one of our experts or email us at

Everise is a proud Research Partner for Parks Associates 2021 Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media, which features multiple virtual sessions throughout 2021. If you are a leading Digital Media brand, talk to one of our experts and we will extend an Event Pass worth $500.


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