4 challenges of LIVE Streaming Pay-Per-View

Monika| Wed May 07 2014 CET| Industry insights

Live-streaming-pay-per-viewIt was only a matter of time before the Live Online Video made a big dent in the cable TV segment. Many major sport and entertainment brands have cut partially or entirely their cable TV contracts to accelerate their business with Live streaming pay-per-view. Soon you might start seeing content that is created only for the Internet.

Take only a few successful examples, quoted by Forbes:

  •  WWE engages through LIVE nearly 667,000 subscribers;
  • The Major League Basketball powers events that gather up to 69 million live viewers;
  • Twitch is rapidly growing, while attracting 45 million unique visitors per month.

Although opportunities for live video are up for grabs, the live streamed video still remains challenging to pursue, preventing many premium content owners from  going full speed with Live supported, or online-only events. As Dorothy Pomerantz from Forbes  has put it:

“[…] Live streaming can be risky. The more people who try to watch something online at the same time, the greater the risk that there will be problems with the quality of the stream or that the feed will come crashing down.”

For the past 3 years we’ve been working with the OVP partners such as: Brightcove, Kaltura and Livestream and have powered a number of live events (i.e.Viaplay, TEDMED or Cirque Du Soleil).

This tremendous experience helped us to identify 4 challenges of LIVE Streaming Pay-Per-View:

1. Congestion of the peak loads 

When creating a Live PPV you actually need to think toward the last 10’-30’ minutes of pre-booking, anticipating the downpour of purchases. Did you know that 10% of the bookings happen in the last 10’ before the event? This is how the average booking curve looks like:

Live streaming pay-per-view
Source: Cleeng internal data. Live event with 10,500 tickets sold in 2013.

At this point many things can go wrong. You need to stay alert:

  1. Server failures are most common. We’ve seen this happening multiple times take for example this case. (www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mma/2013/01/06/after-ppv-plan-goes-awry-knapp-invicta-look-for-answers/1812125/).
  2. Payment gateway locking: if your average booking equals 100’s of transactions per day, and suddenly you move to 1000 per minute, you’re running a high risk that the payment processors will block your account, considering there is fraudulent activity going on.
  3. Email gateways: just like with the payments, if you start to send 1000’s of emails per minute (one receipt to each purchaser), you may be perceived as a spammer.

2. Proliferation devices = more viewers, more complexity 

No matter what devices they’re on, you have to deliver one, consistent, High Quality experience for your viewers. You should be aware where the traffic to your live PPV will be coming from. 

live streaming pay-per-view
Source: Cleeng internal data. Based on Live event purchases in Q2 and Q3 2013.

This impacts 2 critical aspects of running a Live PPV:

  1. Consumer experience: The login, payment, and access to the show should work seamlessly across all screen sizes, and types of devices to deliver the best user experience.
  2. File security is challenging, due to an explosion of smartphones and smart TV standards, as well as fragmentation of technologies such as Flash and HTML5. You need to make sure the content rights are secured, yet deliver an optimal experience on all touch-points.

3. Local vs. global 

Choosing between a local or a global event results in complexity of handling the tax differences, different payment methods, price points and an aspect of geo-blocking. Keep in mind all these factors, when geo-extending your Live PPV events. To give you some ideas: a large pay-per-view event, like we did for Cirque du Soleil, can quickly sell in 80 countries or more!

4. Underestimation of customer support 

People expect a TV like user experience. They buy, and it has to work – immediately and in HD. Otherwise, they’ll start to complain. If it takes you, let’s say, two hours to answer their inquiries during a two-hour event, your consumers will hit social media and request a refund. This can quickly result in chaos. It will reduce your profitability & credibility.

You need to be able to answer complaints within minutes, despite the surge in traffic. At Cleeng, we answer customer queries within 15 minutes, which is far above the average industry standards (4h support). You cannot anticipate the tickets load in a short time. Make sure to hire the best customer support professionals or outsource your support force. 

How Cleeng has overcome these challenges?

As pioneers in monetizing LIVE, we’ve been knocking down the walls of complexity for LIVE starting in 2011. Two months ago we launched Cleeng Live! – a simplified set-up and workflow, that saves time and energy. We made sure that anyone who wants to embrace Live online video, gets all its benefits, hassle-free. Cleeng Live! gives you:

  • An effortless ways of registering and collecting of business leads.
  • The peak loads are handled smoothly, both at the payment and access levels, as well as on the video delivery end.
  • Video on-demand (VOD) as an asset to Live. When your event is over, you can offer it ‘On-demand’.
  • 150 safe payment methods – worldwide!
  • Strong file security across all devices.
  • Social tools for promoting your events.

Experience the simplicity of streaming online with pay-per-view:

Download our free Live PPV guide


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