Are you trying to keep viewers engaged on your OTT platform? You are not alone. In today’s crowded streaming market, it’s hard to stand out, and even harder to retain viewers. In this article, we’ll share with you the top 5 customer retention strategies that really work in the OTT space. These are proven methods that have helped platforms maintain viewer engagement and loyalty. 

What is the customer retention 

Customer retention in the context of an Over-The-Top (OTT) platform refers to the strategies and actions taken by the platform to keep its subscribers continually engaged and subscribed to its services. Given the highly competitive nature of the OTT industry, where content is streamed directly over the internet bypassing traditional cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, retaining customers is crucial for maintaining revenue and market share. 

How we calculate customer retention 

Customer retention for OTT platforms is often calculated using the Customer Retention Rate (CRR) formula: 

  • Start with the number of customers at the beginning of a period (S). 
  • Subtract the number of new customers acquired during that period (N) from the number of customers at the end of the period (E). 
  • Divide the result by S and multiply by 100 to get the percentage. 

For instance, if an OTT platform begins with 1000 subscribers, ends with 1200, and gained 300 new subscribers in the meantime, the retention rate is 90%. This indicates the percentage of original customers that the platform retained over the period. 

Challenges of retaining OTT customers

Despite its importance, customer retention in the OTT industry comes with several challenges. The sheer volume of available content can lead to overwhelmed and indecisive viewers, potentially causing churn.  

Moreover, OTT platforms must constantly evolve in terms of technology and user interfaces to meet the high standards of today’s viewers, who are looking for a seamless and personalized viewing experience.  

Another major challenge is balancing cost and value. In a market flooded with streaming services, customers often consider different options, considering the value they receive for the price they pay. Since many people are hesitant to take out multiple subscriptions, platforms must offer compelling content and features that justify their cost. Successfully meeting these value expectations is critical to keeping viewers engaged and committed to the service. 

Customer Retention Strategy 1 – Personalized content recommendations 

One of the most effective strategies for retaining customers on OTT platforms is personalized content recommendations. This approach involves tailoring the viewing experience to individual preferences, so viewers feel understood and satisfied. When users see content that aligns with their interests and viewing history, they are more likely to engage deeply and spend more time on the platform. This personalization not only increases user satisfaction but also increases the likelihood that viewers will return to the platform becausethey expect new and relevant content suggestions. 

Personalization goes beyond suggesting popular programs and videos. It includes a detailed understanding of viewers’ preferences, including genres, viewing patterns and even the time of day they prefer to watch. This level of personalization makes users feel valued, which improves their overall experience and strengthens their bond with the platform. 

netflix reccomendation system as customer retention strategyNetflix homepage. Netflix is based on a deep personalization system. Source:

Using data for personalization 

The basis for effective content personalization is the intelligent use of data and algorithms. OTT platforms collect vast amounts of data on viewer behavior, which, when properly analyzed, can provide insightful patterns and preferences. Machine learning algorithms play a key role in this process because they can sift through this data to identify trends and predict what content a viewer might like next. 

These algorithms are constantly evolving, learning from every interaction to improve their recommendations. They consider various factors such as previously viewed content, search queries, and even how viewers rate different shows and movies. The more a viewer interacts with the platform, the more accurate these recommendations become, creating a feedback loop that continually improves the user experience. 

Customer Retention Strategy 2 – Flexible Subscription Models

Embracing flexible subscription models is a key strategy for OTT platforms aiming to retain customers. In a market characterized by varying audience preferences and financial capabilities, offering a one-size-fits-all subscription plan is no longer practical. This flexibility is about gaining new customers, but also retaining them by providing options tailored to their individual viewing habits and budget constraints. According to the study, more than a third (35%) of former Netflix subscribers cited the recent increase in prices as a contributing reason for their decision to cancel the service. 

Different viewers have different requirements. Some may prefer all-inclusive access with numerous features, while others may opt for a basic, budget-friendly package. By offering a range of subscription models, OTT platforms can meet these different needs and reduce the likelihood that users will abandon the service due to high costs or lack of use. 

Benefits of tiered pricing and pay-per-view 

Tiered pricing and pay-per-view are flexible subscription options, each offering unique benefits. With tiered pricing, OTT platforms provide different subscription levels, each with its own set of features and access to content. This approach caters to a wide range of viewers, from those who prefer occasional viewing to frequent users, allowing them to choose a plan that fits their usage and budget.  

Pay-per-view offers the option to purchase specific programs or events. This model is ideal for viewers who are only interested in specific programs or special events, but do not want a regular subscription.  

By offering these flexible options, OTT platforms allow viewers to tailor spending and content selection to their preferences. 

Customer Retention Strategy 3 – High-quality user experience 

For OTT platforms, offering a high-quality user experience is a key strategy in retaining customers. This includes three main aspects: creating a user-friendly interface, providing high-quality streaming, and valuing customer feedback. 

User-friendly interface and navigation 

The importance of a user-friendly interface on an OTT platform cannot be overstated. A well-designed user interface is one that simplifies navigation and makes it easy for viewers to find and use their preferred content. This includes intuitive layouts, responsive design and effective content categorization. 

Ensure high quality streaming 

A key element of user satisfaction is streaming quality. Viewers expect clear, uninterrupted playback with minimal buffering. Achieving this requires robust back-end technology that supports high-definition video and adapts to different Internet speeds. Compatibility with different devices and platforms is also essential to satisfy diverse audience preferences. A consistent and high-quality streaming experience is fundamental to maintaining viewer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Taking customer feedback into account 

Listening to and implementing customer feedback is a powerful tool for improving the user experience. Engaging with viewers through surveys, feedback forms or social media platforms provides invaluable insight into their preferences and pain points. Acting on this feedback demonstrates a commitment to meeting user needs and continuously improving the service. This approach not only helps improve the platform, but also fosters a loyal community, making viewers feel heard and appreciated. 

Customer Retention Strategy 4 – Quality and Variety of Content 

The quality and variety of content are crucial factors in customer retention for OTT platforms. This strategy involves a dual focus: ensuring the high quality of content and providing a diverse range of genres and styles to cater to a broad audience.  

According to the statistics, more than one in four streamers plan to cancel at least one of their subscriptions this year. Forty-four percent said they would cancel their subscriptions due to a lack of interesting content.  

Quality content includes well-produced, engaging, and unique shows and movies that captivate viewers and keep them coming back for more. Variety, on the other hand, refers to offering a wide selection that spans different genres, cultures, and languages, ensuring that there is something for every viewer, regardless of their tastes or interests. 

Investing in original productions can set a platform apart, creating unique offerings that define its brand and appeal. Additionally, managing a diverse library that includes both popular international programs and regional content is key to capturing a wide audience. Forming strategic partnerships with content creators, production houses, and distributors can enhance the quality and variety of available content.

netflix original series one of the customer retention strategyExample of Netflix original programming. Source:

Regularly updating the content library, removing underperforming items, and introducing fresh, high-quality options are essential for keeping the platform dynamic and engaging. By focusing on both the quality and diversity of their content, OTT platforms can strengthen their market position, enhance viewer satisfaction, and foster long-term loyalty. 

Customer Retention Strategy 5 – Exceptional Customer Service and Support 

In the competitive environment of OTT platforms, exceptional customer service and support play a key role in customer retention. Learn about best practices! 

Customer service best practices  

24/7 availability: Offering 24/7 support ensures that customers in different time zones can receive help when needed. 

Multilingual support: Providing support in multiple languages caters to a global audience, making the platform more accessible and user-friendly. 

Multiple support channels: Including different channels such as email, chat, phone support and social media allows customers to choose their preferred method of communication. 

Trained and knowledgeable staff: Ensuring that your customer service representatives are well trained and knowledgeable about the platform’s offerings and common issues improves the quality of support. 

Proactive support and feedback: Implementing a proactive support strategy and regularly collecting customer feedback can help you identify and resolve issues before they escalate. 

By following these best practices, OTT platforms can ensure that their customer service is not just a service function, but a key element in building long-term customer relationships.  


In summary, navigating the competitive world of the streaming industry and OTT platforms requires innovative and effective customer retention strategies. By focusing on personalized content recommendations, offering flexible subscription models, providing a high-quality user experience, maintaining a diverse and high-quality content library, and providing exceptional customer service, OTT platforms can significantly increase viewer loyalty and satisfaction. Successful implementation of these strategies can lead to a large and loyal customer base, which is essential for long-term success in the OTT market.