With the growing competition among streaming services, consumers’ preference for on-demand entertainment (and their increased focus on value and quality over quantity), and the limitless connectivity afforded by 5G and 6G, the Media and Entertainment industry is evolving faster than ever. To stay ahead of the competition, provide value to customers, and remain innovative (not to mention relevant), providers must ensure their businesses’ tech foundations equip them to thrive in this rapidly changing market. When it comes time to determine where they’ll spend their entertainment budgets, customers look for individualized experiences directly relevant to their tastes and preferences. And this includes the content—music, TV and movies, games, etc.—they're looking for. Still, it also consists of the overall customer experience, from the first time browsing a provider's catalog, to understanding the offerings and pricing available, to making hassle-free payments for continued service.

What drives this customer experience every step of the way? Believe it or not, billing.

Media and entertainment providers need to fulfill these growing media, delivery, monetization expectations, and raising the revenue ceiling while attracting and retaining customers with subscription and usage-based offerings. These also need to be tailored to new and existing users' preferences—and be flexible enough to handle whatever the market throws at them in the future.

More often than not, this means modernizing billing software, embracing a platform that is

cost-effective and easy to implement for simple monetization models. These also need to be versatile, powerful, and flexible to support complex legacy and/or international rating/pricing, bundling, Omni-channel, marketplace, and sophisticated regionalized or reseller-based monetization and settlement scenarios.

Choosing the Right Monetization Partner

Choosing the wrong monetization partner—or limping along with an outdated billing system that is difficult to support and makes it harder, rather than easier, to deploy new offerings in a timely and cost-effective manner—can be disastrous at many levels.

So, what should media and entertainment companies look for in a modern, sophisticated billing partner? Here are a few key traits and capabilities to be on the hunt for:

  • Front- and back-office integration. As the bridge between back-office processes and customer-facing interactions, the billing system must integrate seamlessly with the other technologies running your business. Look for fully-elastic parallel processing designed for internet-scale while also providing highly cost-effective shared tenant models or dedicated instances when requested.
  • Support for a variety of billing models. Look for a platform that can manage one-time payments, various simple subscription offerings, and a wide variety of simple and complex usage-based billing models. The latter should include real-time prepaid, postpaid, and hybrid monetization models-all powered by a sophisticated mediation engine.
  • Discount functionality. As part and parcel of those billing models, the right monetization engine can easily be configured to offer unique or multi-use discount codes with client-defined date ranges, specific utilization limits per code, a fixed percentages or specific discount values, etc.
  • In-depth usage insights. Usage-based billing offers businesses powerful information on exactly how their products are being consumed, empowering them to identify (and act on) cross-sell and upsell opportunities and further refine their offerings to increase both revenue and value to customers. However, this is only true with a billing solution that can surface for usage data and translate it into usable insights.
  • A powerful rating engine. Legacy billing systems often struggle with assigning appropriate charges for usage-based models. A platform with a sophisticated, real-time rating engine ensures that (whether you're selling complex bundles, channels, seasons, one-off sporting events, games, video on demand, or channel packs) you will be able to automatically charge users appropriately for only the services they purchased.
  • Churn prevention. What’s the phrase? An ounce of retention is worth a pound of onboarding? From “advice of charge” features that estimate cost before the subscriber uses the service to prevent “bill shock,” to automated subscription renewals, to targeted outreach opportunities based on actual usage history, the right billing platform will help you not only attract new customers, but keep existing customers coming back for more.
  • Collections and dunning. These capabilities include payment retries, notifications engines, payment plans, etc. (Read our recent blog post for an in-depth look at collections and dunning.)
  • Revenue recognition. Finally, the billing process isn’t over when a customer hands over a credit card; revenue recognition is the critical step that enables businesses to claim the money they've earned. Look for a platform that can automate complex revenue management to ensure full regulatory compliance and accuracy through general ledger entries for limitless pricing models.

As media and entertainment companies embrace digital transformation, the right billing partner will be a critical competitive advantage. At Gotransverse, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with all the capabilities we've just listed—and so many more. So, when your organization is ready to launch itself into the digital-first future (Who are we kidding? it’s already here!), we invite you to tour our platform and then reach out to schedule a complimentary, personalized demo. Our experts will be happy to discuss how Gotransverse can fulfill your present and future billing needs.