Almost hilariously, an article from 2007 states that 57% of surveyed media and entertainment executives reported that the biggest threat to media and entertainment was consumer desire to create their own amateur content on social media and blogging platforms. The time of fighting social media is long behind us.

Today, the top CX trends in media and entertainment seek to cater to consumers’ desires and expectations, as well as their favorite devices and platforms.

Gen Z watches video on social media more than any other platform, consuming video on YouTube the most frequently. So, it’s no wonder that so many of the current trends relate to social media.

In this post, we dive into five CX trends for media and entertainment companies and provide a fascinating example for each.

1. Strategically ungated content

It’s tempting to want to control and lock down every piece of quality content, but in today’s world, the demand for free, easily accessible content is a major driving force. On some social media platforms, people can watch content without even signing in.

Facebook Watch and YouTube are two popular examples of video platforms that work well on both smart TVs and mobile devices while not requiring sign in.

There are plenty of ways to monetize ungated content, and all of them involve having other products or services, such as physical merchandise or streaming subscriptions. In this way, the ungated content becomes a form of product marketing: giving away an amazing product as an acquisition strategy.

Example: Crypt TV

Media startup Crypt TV is on a mission to become the “Marvel of monster movies” and it’s doing so one free episode at a time. Its mobile-first strategy was crafted to fill a void: the simple fact that no other media brand was creating scary movies specifically for mobile platforms.

Although the content is given away for free, the company is profitable. Revenue comes in the form of merchandise, exclusive production deals with Facebook, and running ads for more traditional horror movies.

2. Brand-owned user accounts for more control over relationship-building

When entertainment companies’ content gets watched on a streaming platform, that company has no control over what the user is shown next. The user could very likely be offered a suggestion to watch something from another brand or an exclusive piece of content created by the streaming platform itself.

More and more media brands are creating their own content platforms so they can build deeper relationships with consumers. These platforms allow media companies to suggest related content within their own family of brands, and to point consumers in the direction of other online or offline experiences as well.

Example: Freeform’s app

Freeform, a Disney-owned company formerly known as ABC Family, has its own platform where users can watch shows and movies. The company encourages account creation for several reasons, which Tim Campbell, Director of Product Management at Freeform, describes in this interview with Braze Magazine:

“You can take your viewing from your mobile device to your Roku later on and we can keep that experience seamless, which every other streaming service does, so everyone expects that. But what makes it unique for us is we can then say, ‘Great, you love Grown-ish, you should check out Young and Hungry next.’ We can keep that ecosystem powering Freeform programming. You’re not going to get that potentially from a streaming platform. They may recommend a TV show from another network or one of their original programs…We have a much tighter relationship with the user and can email them, send them a push, send them something that reminds them, ‘Hey, finish this episode,’ or, ‘Try this new series,’ and that is invaluable for us as we try to launch brand new programs every single year.”

Need help testing your streaming app? Testlio offers an expert network of freelance testers inside its test management platform.

3. Mini AR experiences

AR is still in its infancy. There remains a ton of untapped potential, and many tech and media critics don’t expect brands to really make good on this potential until around 2025. In the meantime, while the world waits to be blown away by AR, there are little micro-experiences that are already impressing users, particularly Gen Z.

AR can be used for promoting releases, or for brand journalism and activism. AR creators can literally change the world around them. In a time where monuments no longer reflect values, AR can provide meaningful customer experiences and allow brands to take a stand. Consider the hundreds of Confederate monuments across the US that creators and activists could modify using AR, without waiting for actions taken by city governments.

Example: Netflix’s Stranger Things AR promotion

Lens Studio by Snapchat is an application that allows artists and developers from big and small brands alike to create augmented reality experiences and offer these to Snapchat’s 380 million monthly active users. According to Snapchat, 75% of their user base engages with AR content every day.

Brands can create AR experiences that augment users and the world around them. To promote their show Stranger Things, Netflix created a filter that gave users a bloody nose and put them inside of a character’s bedroom.

Testlio’s AR/VR testing services make sure that your users are interacting, experiencing, or learning to your offering’s fullest potential.

4. Platform-specific content

Platform-specific content is another way that media and entertainment brands can enhance the customer experience. Companies can meet consumers where they are on social media, and then encourage them to take the next desired step:

  • Create an account in their proprietary platform
  • Get notified on Hulu or Facebook Watch when the content drops
  • Plan to watch the content on their cable provider

This CX media trend is all about creating fresh content for popular platforms, rather than “repurposing” content for those platforms. Brands that do this well have a higher chance of viral organic growth with their social content than brands who just push the same content everywhere.

Example: Bravo TV’s Instagram account

Bravo is pretty notorious for making hilarious platform-specific content. On Instagram, for example, they often meme-ify the cast of their various TV shows, and they also enlist stars in the creation of new content, such as the cast giving Andy Cohen advice on how to host a virtual reunion or turning that reunion taping into self-containing micro-content that is satisfying all on its own.

This is in stark contrast to companies that only use clips of content for commercial-style social media posts.

5. Media companies with customer support teams available on social media

Providing support on social media enhances the customer experience because consumers are already logged into these channels and are familiar and comfortable with them. Support reps managing social media accounts can de-escalate issues quickly, foster brand loyalty, and also collect user feedback that can be categorized and passed onto product teams.

Example: Hulu Support’s Twitter account

With their Twitter account, Hulu Support is available for ongoing support, and they also regularly tweet links to announcements and help desk articles.

The team is lightning quick to respond to brand mentions from frustrated users.

As with other CX trends for media companies, this is all about not fighting the flow of consumer activity, but instead using it to your advantage. How can you use social media to connect users with your existing help materials and solutions?

When it comes to media and CX, the story will always be multichannel. Grow the quality of your own platforms while expanding your reach on external channels too.

Whether you build your own streaming platform or deliver AR experiences to your fans—or both—you’re going to need expert testers. Great testing keeps customers happy by finding issues so they don’t have to.

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Ready to release quality experiences? Testlio offers burstable teams of expert mobile and web testers alongside its test management platform. Contact us for a personalized demo today.

Dayana is a QA engineer turned technology writer living in Milan, Italy. She's always down for a smoothie.