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Marketing Segmentation or Personalisation?

Appealing to your streaming consumer base

The title is somewhat disingenuous, because you don’t have to have one without the other, nor in fact is it necessarily the case that you can’t use the same technology to address both elements of a streaming service - but they are distinctly different, and understanding that difference is useful.


I’ll start with this first because it is the most discussed and arguably the better-addressed feature in the market, with a number of companies existing just to service this vertical.

The prime objective here is to use data (usually consumer viewing data) to determine, on a personal basis, the content offered. For you as a consumer, it’s about discovering content you might like through technology (often described as a personalisation or recommendation engine) that looks at various data points (such as the genre of shows you like, the directors, the actors etc.) to suggest similar and emerging content that fits your personal profile.

Powerful stuff, of course - because the data can also be used to personalise adverts you might like, make marketing offers and other personal aspects of the service that might benefit the individual.  

Market Segmentation

The objective with data-driven market segmentation is to go further – that is, to determine not just the content (ads or offers) that might appeal to an individual consumer, but also to a group of consumers; a market segment. And it’s not about just adapting the content to suit the consumer, but also determining outcomes for the business, which could include the user experience (UX) - and if desired the whole user interface (UI) - based on a much wider set of data sources.

A simple example might be that different countries get different versions of the service, with a more intricate example being that the advert you clicked on determines the version of the service you see.

This puts some extraordinarily powerful tools in the hands of companies operating streaming video services. Imagine a Hollywood film studio offering their own branded service and then also deciding to white label it to a major car manufacturer for a manufacturer’s branded in-car entertainment service. With market segmentation tools they can not only create two different branded versions of the same service, but they can also direct content to consumers based on the registration journey.

Other examples could see devices, marketing campaigns, content line-ups, offers and pricing all differ by market segment. None of this prevents content also being driven by personalisation or recommendation tools, but it does remove reliance on only having consumer driven customisation, adding a pandoras box of customisation tools for the business (the content owners) themselves to enable different outcomes; flexible business and marketing outcomes that might be the difference between business success and failure.

A more powerful approach

I believe we will see market segmentation tools, engines, call them what you want, slowly come more to the fore at the expense of oversold and often under-delivered recommendation or personalisation tools. Not only can these segmentation tools provide personalisation outcomes, they also offer powerful options that don’t necessarily rely on personal opt-in as required by data regulations, since they look to leverage a much broader set of service and business data (that also doesn’t have to be limited to personal viewing data) to make decisions.

It’s all about data, big data, we know that, but piling it high in virtual cloud warehouses does little to extract value from it. The introduction of advanced market segmentation tools, on the other hand, does just that.

If this topic is of interest, get in touch and come along to our demonstration facilities in our London office to pick up the conversation.


EaselTV is the streaming service provider behind Sky News, hayu, StagePlayer+, SohoTheatre and other streaming services. You can contact Easel TV by emailing their CEO directly at