How to Gain The Competitive Edge in the Streaming Wars with Design

The battle for streaming dominance rages on in an increasingly crowded marketplace, and many leaders now find themselves under pressure to show the return on investment in their D2C strategy.

So, how will services gain a competitive edge now that consumers are spoiled for choice?

Rich Mills Deltatre

Deltatre’s Strategy and Design Director, Rich Mills, analyzes why design and its associated processes should be a central pillar in any over-the-top (OTT) or direct-to-consumer offering.

One solution is to rethink your design game plan, looking at a greater role that it can play in an end-to-end OTT build

Making the Design Process a Central Pillar of an OTT Build

For many companies, design is seen as an afterthought, something that is applied as a layer of “finish” before a product is put in the hands of the customer. Typically, this is because its impact is felt through qualitative measures such as aesthetics and user experience. Yet, at its heart design is about delivering tangible business results and finding market relevance. When viewed through this lens, it absolutely can deliver a powerful quantitative impact.

Put simply, good design produces smarter ways to connect your business goals to each customer’s needs, and you’ll seriously impact your bottom line by investing in design right from the outset. Let me show you how…

“The best design performers increase their revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry counterparts” McKinsey Report

How Do You Incorporate Design into an OTT Strategy and Offering?

Your overall OTT product strategy will be based on building stronger relationships with customers and retaining them over time. So, it stands to reason that the quality of interaction and experience is the driver of user engagement and retention, and in that respect, prioritizing design makes financial sense.

Here are four actions you can take in order to increase ROI through design.

1. Get the boss involved

Business relies on rigorous metrics and benchmarking, but a lot of the time design issues get stuck at middle-management level by executives making decisions based on gut feeling rather than solid data. If you want to foster better outcomes, then understanding the correlation between design performance, revenue, and costs is crucial when having conversations with leadership that result in good decisions and investments being made.

2. Start with research

Design and research go hand in hand. It’s important to anchor design decisions to previous insights learned from the underlying needs and motivations of the user.

A good D2C strategy is therefore built on cross-platform services that integrate the experience of the customer across all touchpoints, providing greater opportunities for businesses to provide more value. Every build should be based on the customer’s needs and motivations, and every single decision should be driven back to that context.

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Solid customer insights are required for this and can be gathered through observation, conversation, and other qualitative and quantitative types of research. These insights then become the point of reference in every meeting related to any kind of design action.

3. Iterate continuously

A product release cannot represent the end of your design effort. You can reduce further risks in development by continually learning, testing, and iterating with your customers to positively impact your speed to market with future releases and updates.

Keeping a customer’s underlying needs front of mind will help you identify when new needs emerge and help you dial in and resolve current issues. In turn, you reduce the risk of executing otherwise great design work that ends up not generating revenue.

It’s also important to find ways of sharing this knowledge across the product team. Sharing design work early and as often as possible helps your team members gain horizontal knowledge about multiple aspects of the build.

4. Avoid a disconnected workflow

Keeping up with the pace of change demanded by a successful OTT build can be a struggle when teams are working in silos, creating longer feedback loops between discovery and delivery.

We can overcome this operational inertia by making user-centric design everyone’s responsibility with a culture of cross-functional collaboration, where designers, developers, and analysts are working together to solve usability issues, ensuring that content is perceivable, operable, understandable, robust, and consistent. Designing is a team sport that’s about reducing friction and inertia, and accelerating the delivery of better outcomes.


We know that impactful, intelligent use of design is a significant driver of revenue and a key facet in reducing churn. Cleverly designed, thoroughly researched and tested services will also help wider monetization and commercial options as time goes on.

At its best, exceptional design will simplify the experience for the user, boost brand perception, improve operational efficiency, and reduce costs.

Rich Mills Deltatre
Richard Mills
Director at Deltatre

Richard Mills is Director of Strategy & Design at Deltatre, the global leader in fan-first video experiences.

A true advocate of design thinking, Richard leads cross-functional teams to ensure creative excellence is always at the heart of the company's work within the sport and entertainment industries. He helps clients navigate ways in which design can add true value to their business and is accountable for topics including business development, resourcing, and delivery.

Since he joined in 2019, he has been instrumental in shaping Deltatre's global design studio, building and developing the company’s unique culture, and working with the team to consistently deliver best in class design.
He is driven by working alongside the industry's best and brightest people to create products and services that enrich people’s lives every day.

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