Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming has been in the country for a while now. iFlix and HOOQ launched in 2015 while Netflix arrived early 2016. More and more people in my friends and family want to get into the SVOD game but aren't sure on which service to choose. With the services having one to two years of experience under their belts, it is now the right time to assess the performance of each service. Upfront, I can already say that all three SVODs offers are different. So, for this week on Pop Philtre, I will be evaluating each SVOD to help people choose the right SVOD for them.
- This is going to be a series of posts Part One (this one) is about setting the ground rules of the evaluation. The parameters and sub-parameters for judging each SVOD
- Parts Two, Three and Four will be individual evaluations of each SVOD in the order of Netflix, iFlix, and HOOQ
- Part Five will be a comparative evaluation of the three to find out the best SVOD available
- We'll publish all the parts of the Streaming Showdown within the week. To be sure to get everything, don't forget to subscribe to our Facebook and Twitter for updates!
The CUPVAL FRAMEWORK
Each SVOD can earn a total of 100 points in three categories: Catalog, Usability and Pricing. (I will call it the CUP VALuation or CUPVAL).
The point total for each parameter is determined by how well an SVOD performs in specific sub-parameters. Each sub-parameter has corresponding points with different weights (which I will define below)
I determined the parameters and sub-parameters as well as the weight of each. I'm open to suggestions in modifying the process of the Streaming Showdown. Leave a comment or email me at email@example.com!
CATALOG (40 POINTS) How robust and expansive is their content library?
The Catalog Evaluation (40 pts)
The meat of any SVOD service. Given that all SVODs claim hundreds and thousands of content in their catalog, it's not enough to measure it by quantity alone. Rather, I prefer to focus on the quality of the catalog. Does the SVOD have the best films/tv shows of all-time? the best recent films/tv shows? the variety and frequency of new content in each SVOD?
Availability of the All-time top 20 films and TV shows (3 pts for film, 3 pts for TV): An SVOD can't claim to be the best if it doesn't have the best movies or shows the medium has to offer. To determine the top 20, I used IMDb's top 250 all-time films and TV shows lists as reference. An SVOD receives full points for having the complete list. Partial points is based on the percentage of the top 20 films or TV shows an SVOD has in its catalog. Exampple, an SVOD receives 2 pts for having 13 of the top 20 movies of all-time (66%).
Availability of the Top 20 films and TV shows of 2016 (3 pts for film, 3 pts for TV): Given the stiff competition between SVOD services, and the constant threat of piracy; it is to an SVODs advantage to have the best recent films and TV Shows in their catalog. For uniformity's sake, these films and TV shows were determined using advanced title search on IMDb to approximate the same parameters used for the All-Time lists. An SVOD receives full points for having the complete list. Partial points is based on the percentage of the top 20 films or TV shows an SVOD has in its catalog.
Exclusive Content (3 pts for film, 3 pts for TV): Having content that is only available to a given SVOD service. Exclusive content makes an SVOD much more valuable. Especially when the content (1) was made by the SVOD service, (2) won awards.
Filipino Content (3 pts for film, 3 pts for TV): Having a wide selection of Filipino movies and TV shows. Exclusive Filipino content is also a plus. If the eventual future will be all of us cutting our cable subscriptions in favor of SVOD services, then an SVOD must have Filipino content.
International Content (3 pts for films, 3 pts for TV): Does the SVOD service also have content from around the world? The wider the international selection, the better.
Kids (5 pts): If the idea is only choosing one SVOD service, it is imperative to also cater to the kids in the family. Having content, filters and a user interface for kids are a must.
Content Upload (5 pts): How often do they update their library, daily, weekly or monthly? This also takes into consideration how active the SVOD is in notifying its users of new content.
USABILITY (40 POINTS) How easy is it to watch content?
The Usability Evaluation (40 pts)
The knife and fork to cut through the content meat. Having hundreds and thousands of movies and TV shows is useless if an SVOD does not have the right tools to help users find what they are looking for. How many ways can I access the SVOD? How easy is it to look for content?
- Ways to watch (10 pts): The flexibility of an SVOD service to be viewed either in small screens (mobile, PC) or big screens (TV). Having apps optimized for specific devices is also taken into consideration.
- Search Efficiency (10 pts): This is the one attribute that most SVOD comparison articles forget to take into consideration. How am I supposed to find a needle in a haystack if the magnet I'm using is weak? Searching by title is well and good, but what if I want to do John Lloyd Cruz marathon? or watch Scorsese's movies? A good search engine will be able to answer those queries and might even be smart enough to direct me to other content in the service.
- Online Playback (6 pts): We won't be able to measure playback speed and buffering since these are affected by multiple factors that are outside the SVOD service's reach (i.e. location and ISP). What we can evaluate however, are the options available for online playback: the extent of video resolution options, video quality options as well as any glitches or errors.
- Offline Playback (4 pts): A feature wherein the user can download content to their mobile device for later viewing without the need of an internet connection. All three SVOD services have this feature but have different caveats/restrictions. I'll try to evaluate how lenient or restrictive an SVOD with this feature.
- Mobile App (5 pts): Evaluating the look and responsiveness of the mobile app.
- Categories/Menus (2 pts): Evaluate how helpful an SVOD's categories and menus are. Categories and menus that are better organized add to a more convenient user experience.
- Unique Features (2 pts): Does the service have innovative navigation or experience features that make viewing easier for the user?
- Recommendations (1 pt): Is the SVOD smart enough to recommend content to the user?
PRICING (20 POINTS) How affordable is it to maintain a specific SVOD service?
The Pricing Evaluation (20 pts)
Pricing refers to the cost, payment terms and features/restrictions of an SVOD. I've decided to assign lesser weight to Pricing compared to Content and Usability since (1) an SVOD subscription is a luxury, and (2) like any luxury service, you wouldn't mind paying more if the service (Content and Usability) is good.
- Subscription Fee (10 pts): Does the SVOD have a fixed fee or is it tiered? What is the cost per tier?
- Modes of Payment (3 pts): What are the other ways of payment does the SVOD accept aside from credit card? The higher the score, the more modes of payment are available.
- Features/Restrictions (7 pts): This sub-parameter measures what features a user has access given a certain price point. Each SVOD is given the full 7 points. A half or full point is deducted depending on how restrictive or lenient a given SVOD service is in the following categories
- # of profiles a user can create per account
- # of screens that can simultaneously use an account
- Resolution quality
- # of allowed gadgets to have offline playback
- Can the user cancel their subscription anytime?
- Does the SVOD offer a trial period? How long?
- Does the SVOD restrict the # of gadgets connected to an account?
With all the explanations out of the way, we can finally get down to business. Check out popphiltre again tomorrow for Part 2 of the Streaming Showdown as I evaluate Netflix!