nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Avoid the Netflix juggernaut by targeting niches

LeEco TV interface

It’s difficult to get an online video service noticed next to the Netflix-Amazon-Hulu video juggernauts. However, rather than going head-to-head with them, some video services are finding a way around by catering to the niche needs of consumers.

LeEco targets Chinese-Americans with Red Pocket Mobile’s help

There are 3.8M Chinese people living in America today, and 2.2M of them were born in China. LeEco is targeting this large population and is looking to Red Pocket Mobile to help it do it. Red Pocket Mobile provides contract-free mobile services, and targets Chinese-speakers in the U.S. with native language support and free calls to China.  LeEco is also rooted in China, where the company was founded in 2004. It came to the U.S. in 2016, bringing a suite of connected devices pre-integrated with media services.

LeEco is providing the following products optimized for Chinese-American families:

  • Letv X3-55 Pro 4K TV, including Chinese voice search, for $599.
  • Letv Box U4, a 4K streaming media player, for $79.99
  • Le S3 ecophone, an unlocked dual-SIM phone, for $249.

The X3-55 TV and Letv Box U4 includes 12-months of access to Premium Chinese and English content including 120,000 TV drama episodes, 6,000 movies, and 80,000 cartoon episodes in 1080p HD along with the newest Le.com original content from China.

According to the partnership announcement this morning, the LeEco products will be showcased at select Red Pocket Mobile stores.

Cinedigm grows its niche video service customers base

Cinedigm ConTVCinedigm recognized the opportunity to target niche audiences with online video services early on. It launched three standalone over-the-top video services in 2015:

  • Dove Channel, a faith and family oriented video service
  • Docurama, an SVOD service bringing quality documentary video
  • CONtv, brings video content targeting Comic Con fans.

Across the three services, Cinedigm says it has amassed 3.34M app downloads, 610,000 registered users, and 80,000 paid subscribers. The company partners with aligned organizations to help with marketing. For example, ConTV works with comic-Con International to market the service to convention attendees. As well, Cinedigm was an early adopter of Amazon’s Channels program.

No credit card? No problem. You can still get Starz.

Getting any online service is challenge if you don’t have a credit card. Just ask the 30% of Americans who don’t have one. But if you want premium video services, you could be in luck. Starz announced this week it wants your business. Speaking at the Code Media conference in Dana Point, California, Chris Albrecht, Starz CEO, said:

Chris Albrecht Starz

Chris Albrecht, Starz

“We’re going to start to offer prepaid cards to be able to buy Starz. There are a lot of people who would like to have premium television but certainly can’t afford it with a cable bundle. It’s a prepaid card for people who don’t have credit cards.”

Prepaid cards are nothing new for SVOD services. Netflix has been selling them for some time. However, they could be a particularly good idea for Starz. Compared to HBO Now’s $15 a month, Starz’$8.99 sound like a bargain. For the cost-conscious, a Starz prepaid card could be an excellent way to stretch that entertainment dollar.

Why it matters

Online video services are beginning to target niches with their services.

LeEco is focused on the 3 million American-Chinese with a hardware+content combination.

Cinedigm is aiming at smaller, well defined audiences with highly targeted content services.

Starz is going after cash-conscious customers with prepaid cards.

Expect to see many more niche-oriented video services launch this year.

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