Football remains one of the biggest drivers for Pay TV, and the growing prices being paid to teams suggests it's going to stay that way for a long time. Unfortunately for TV operators, football is seasonal, and subscribers struggling to pay their bills frequently hold on to the end of the season before cancelling their subscription. Three months later when the new season begins they can sign up for a new package with all of the new subscribers deals available to them.
How can operators reduce this end of season churn?
Direct marketing offers the most obvious approach. All operators know their sports subscribers, but by analysing viewer data, operators can further target football fans, and even fans of specific teams. A tailored programme of direct marketing over the summer with news and updates on their favourite teams can go a long way to reduce the chances of churn.
Retention offers. Most operators now have dedicated staff to handle subscribers leaving the service. Putting viewer data into the call centre means that football related churn can be handled differently to other types. If a team has been relegated, the fans can be given information on how to watch their team on the service. Upcoming information on programming in the new season can be given, and for those most at risk a short term discount could be given over the summer.
Out of season content. With no major tournaments in 2013, operators need to work harder to commission and buy-in exclusive content. Documentaries or repeats of historical matches can all be cheap to make and highly effective in keeping subscribers interested. Larger operators may even consider sponsoring a small off-season event in their market
Ultimately the success of any retention play will succeed or fail based on understanding the subscriber: what they have watched, what they are passionate about, and what will make them keep the service.
In all these cases, capturing, analysing, and applying viewer data is key.