5 Ways Media and Entertainment Companies Can Use First-Party Data

How media and entertainment companies use first-party data to improve personalization and reduce churn.

May 13, 2024
A picture of Rachel Torres, PMM at Amplitude
Rachel Torres
Group Product Marketing Manager, Amplitude
Media & Entertainment First-Party Data

If you work in media and entertainment (M&E), you know the competition is fierce. The race for eyeballs and customer retention is intense. The days of just competing against other local networks, the theater next door, or the rival crosstown newspaper are long gone.

Today, you compete in an expansive online ecosystem with an evolving cast of contenders fighting for consumer attention. Legacy networks are going head-to-head with individual content creators, and live-stream citizen journalists are out-scooping print media organizations.

Traditional advertising models face diminishing returns, and fragmentation across platforms makes it harder to reach target audiences. The result? Customer churn rates are increasing, forcing M&E companies to find new ways to engage viewers and build stronger relationships.

The key to success in this new environment lies in first-party data.

Why first-party data?

First-party data has become increasingly popular due to changing privacy regulations and limitations around third-party data collection. Though once a mainstay for audience targeting, third-party cookies will soon cease to be an option due to changes in data privacy regulations.

First-party data is collected directly from your customers through interactions across your brand's digital touchpoints, including your:

  • Website
  • Mobile app
  • Social media platforms
  • Digital ad campaigns
  • SMS and other messaging channels

This customer data can include transaction history, purchase history, website visits, social media direct messages (DMs), and responses to marketing campaigns. It offers deep insights into customers’ preferences, behaviors, and interests.

Media and entertainment companies seek ways to transparently collect first-party data in exchange for benefits like hyper-personalized content, access, rewards, and influence. This approach generates data that leading M&E organizations can use to orchestrate holistic end-to-end customer journeys and enables customers to control what they share in exchange for what they want.

Here are five ways M&E companies can use first-party data to improve business outcomes—and five real-life examples from Amplitude customers.

1. Reduce churn

Media and entertainment products generate a treasure trove of first-party data that you can use to create compelling experiences and offerings to get customers hooked year after year. By analyzing data like viewing habits, purchase history, and engagement with content, you can gain deep insights into your audience's preferences and behaviors.

First-party data enables you to:

  • Identify at-risk users: Analyze data to identify users who exhibit churn signals, such as decreased viewing time or engagement.
  • Create targeted retention campaigns: Use insights from first-party data to launch personalized campaigns that address specific customer needs and wants. This could include exclusive content offers, loyalty program incentives, or discounts on renewals.
  • Predict churn: Advanced analytics can help predict churn risk before it happens. Statistical models can analyze historical data to identify patterns that signal a high likelihood of churn. This enables you to proactively engage at-risk users with targeted messaging and incentives to encourage renewal.

Canal+ reduces churn and experiences 3X conversion rate

Canal+, a media giant with over 20 million subscribers, faced customer churn challenges as online streaming grew in popularity—but their existing analytics platform wasn't giving them the user insights they needed.

Canal+ turned to Amplitude to start measuring retention amongst the different customer profiles using their TV application, myCANAL. They found that users who enjoyed both live and on-demand content had the highest retention rates.

Canal+ used this intelligence to prioritize features that appealed to these power users. Simple tweaks like changing the "Live TV" button to a more inviting "Watch" button drove a surge in engagement.

Within months, Canal+ experienced a 3x conversion rate increase in the app. Using first-party data, they'd transformed myCANAL into a more engaging platform, keeping users hooked and subscriptions flowing.

2. Optimize monetization models

More M&E companies are combining subscription and ad-support monetization modes—meaning there’s a direct relationship between content engagement and revenue generated. Viewers who are more engaged are more likely to:

  • Subscribe for ongoing access: They become loyal fans who are more likely to subscribe for continued access to the content they love.
  • Pay for premium content: They are more receptive to premium offerings like pay-per-view events or exclusive content packages.
  • Click on targeted ads: When viewers actively consume content, they're more receptive to relevant advertising seamlessly integrated into the experience—especially if those ads are well-targeted.

Your first-party data enables you to see what content resonates with specific audience segments and use that to tailor their offerings, from pricing to what’s included in their subscription. You can also better understand what they’re willing to pay for, enabling you to refine pricing models, design compelling paywall options, and curate subscription packages that cater to diverse preferences.

You can use first-party data insights to strategically place ads within your product for maximum impact. Think of a free mobile game—by understanding your audience, you can ensure ad placements don't disrupt gameplay but still capture user attention, boosting your ad revenue.

Slate launches new paywall and increases subscriptions 500%

Slate wanted to diversify its revenue to remain competitive in today’s publishing climate. They knew adding a paywall would be the best option but were also aware of the risk associated with asking loyal users to start paying.

To ensure success with the paywall, the Slate team used Amplitude’s Cohorts and Engagement Matrix to understand how different user cohorts might run into the paywall. They discovered that their loyal, advice-column readers would be the ones most likely to encounter the paywall.

Within a few months of launching the paywall (using the insights gained through Amplitude), Slate subscriptions increased by 500%. Slate was able to continue to lower the wall thanks to different types of data that helped them project future conversion rates and user behavior.

3. Identify and correct friction in customer experience

Frustrated users don't convert or come back for more. Luckily, every click, swipe, and tap within your platform generates invaluable data points. First-party data gives you insights into how users interact with your features—from bookmarking favorites, inviting friends to join their game, or sharing articles on social media.

These data sources enable you to identify pain points and friction in the customer journey and guide your product development roadmap. You can prioritize features users truly value, eliminate confusing functionalities, and ultimately craft a more engaging experience that keeps viewers coming back for more.

Le Monde streamlines reader experience and increases conversions

French news giant Le Monde relies on a subscription model for its digital content. Le Monde's focus in recent years has been optimizing their digital platform to attract new customers. Their key question—how much free content should they offer versus premium content gated for subscribers? By analyzing website visitor behavior with Amplitude's Funnel Analysis and Engagement Matrix tools, Le Monde identified the need for a website redesign.

They carried out the redesign in late 2018 based on these insights. Previously, subscribers had a separate landing page from non-subscribers. The new design unified the experience, showcasing premium content (highlighted with yellow flags) on the homepage for all users. This strategic use of first-party data resulted in a remarkable 46% increase in subscriber conversions and increased digital subscriptions by over 20%.

4. Personalize the user experience

Want to keep users glued to your platform? Use first-party data to analyze interactions and segment users into behavioral cohorts to deliver experiences that resonate deeply with each individual. Personalized experiences reduce customer acquisition costs while increasing revenue and marketing ROI.

For a streaming service, that might look like using first-party data to analyze viewing habits, genre preferences, and engagement times to tailor content recommendations. Doing so makes the user experience more engaging and increases platform stickiness.

TicketSwap uses personalization to sell more event tickets

TicketSwap, a global ticketing marketplace serving 10 million users across 22 countries, uses Amplitude to offer its users a hyper-personalized customer experience.

Before, one of their key challenges was understanding user behavior across different demographics. Now, Amplitude's real-time data and segmentation capabilities enable the TicketSwap team to better tailor marketing efforts.

For example, they were able to better understand Gen Z's buying habits—budget-conscious and last-minute. Understanding these behaviors, the TicketSwap team was able to tweak their personalization efforts and create a more effective sales funnel—reducing their unsold ticket rate and increasing revenue by 10%.

5. Improve experimentation

First-party data empowers you to experiment and iterate quickly across your media platform. You can access real-time user insights and customer feedback to make data-driven decisions about your operations—from optimizing website features to personalizing content.

Imagine testing different onboarding experiences in your mobile game to keep novice players engaged and veterans challenged. Fueled by data, this experimentation keeps your offerings fresh and users happy.

NBC experiments to improve viewer experiences

NBCUniversal boasts a portfolio that spans entertainment TV, news, and digital businesses. A big part of the company’s success in shifting from traditional broadcasting to a media powerhouse is how it uses data to inform strategic decisions.

Amplitude has enabled NBCUniversal to build a “scalable framework for experimentation," says Eddie Lee, NBC Entertainment's SVP for Product and Technology. Capabilities like Amplitude’s Cohorts, Conversion Drivers, and Engagement Matrix facilitate feature testing and user segmentation.

Working with Amplitude Funnels and AB Test View has led to impressive results:

  • A segmented homepage experience increased viewership by 10%.
  • Tailoring the app homepage to user history doubled day-seven retention.
  • Implementing a video preview feature increased video starts by 36%.

NBCUniversal also used Amplitude to identify features that didn't resonate with their viewers, saving them time and resources. By embracing experimentation fueled by first-party data, NBCUniversal continues to optimize its offerings and keep users engaged.

Unlock your first-party data’s power with Amplitude

Between dynamic market conditions and ever-changing consumer behaviors, there are plenty of challenges in the M&E industry.

However, Amplitude can help M&E companies turn these challenges into competitive differentiators and enable teams to improve the entire customer journey—all from one place.

With the power to precisely capture data and streamline governance, Amplitude can help your teams unlock the richness of your first-party data. Segmentation and personalization become the status quo—enabling genuinely bespoke experiences.

Want to learn more about navigating "the new normal" in media and entertainment?

Amplitude’s new guide, “Putting Customer Data to Work in Media & Entertainment,” dives deep into the evolving M&E ecosystem, further explores the power of first-party data, and equips you with the knowledge to secure your position in a data-driven future.

About the Author
A picture of Rachel Torres, PMM at Amplitude
Rachel Torres
Group Product Marketing Manager, Amplitude
Rachel Torres is a product marketing manager at Amplitude, focusing on go-to-market solutions for enterprise customers. Before Amplitude, she served as a strategic marketing consultant to early-stage startups, including DataGrail, ConductorOne, and Elevate Security. In her free time, she enjoys ballet, Beyoncé, and library books.

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