STARZPLAY MENA puts viewers in the picture

January 20, 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ STARZPLAY

Jhon and his family love watching their favourite TV show, The Flash, together every week at home in Dubai. Much to their disappointment, they’re about to finish season one, but an email pops up in Rashid’s inbox that puts a smile on the kids’ faces. It’s his video streaming service, STARZPLAY, letting Rashid know that season two is just launching. That’s one happy customer who’ll be keeping his monthly subscription.

“We’re creating much more personal journeys for our customers,” explained Henry Neira, Director, Information Services at STARZPLAY. “We’re moving away from generic notifications to more personal recommendations, so we can engage with our subscribers and let them know we understand what they like and want to watch.”

By showing customers that they’re valued, STARZPLAY can boost customer loyalty, which is already starting to have an impact on churn rate and subscription renewals.


STARZPLAY has been blazing a trail in the entertainment industry since 2015 when it launched the on-demand video streaming service in the Middle East. Viewers can binge watch thousands of movies and TV series, many on a special first-showing basis, with exclusive rights to premiere shows from its US parent network STARZ.

STARZPLAY has more than one million subscribers in 21 countries across MENA and Pakistan, viewing content on mobile devices and smart screens. But while STARZPLAY is already a leading brand, with more than 125 employees in its Dubai, Pakistan, and Madrid offices, it wants to become a household name by focusing on curating content for each region, with its various languages and cultures.

With the big players in media streaming now entering the Middle Eastern market, reducing churn is as important as attracting new customers. “Our churn rate is partly due to complexities around connecting with customers in so many different regions,” said Neira. “We’re determined to use Marketing Cloud to uncover some of these issues and expecting churn rate to drop.”

Another important factor for reducing churn is to improve engagement with dormant users, who subscribe to the service but don’t watch any shows. “Marketing Cloud will be key to connecting with our users and encouraging them to get the most from the platform,” said Neria.

STARZPLAY’s wide geographic reach means it needs to embrace a flexible approach to cultures and languages across its programming schedule.

To engage more effectively with its customer base right across the region, Social Studio helps break down the barriers to discover what social media users are saying about STARZPLAY and its competitors. “If a competitor is showing a movie everyone’s talking about that gives us a good insight into what people like so we can offer something similar,” said Neira.

The company is also leveraging Marketing Cloud to segment users based on their interests, not just their language. “By targeting people with more relevant communications we’re hoping to increase the conversion rates significantly. The more potential there is to get to know our customers.”

For example, an email newsletter sent to viewers who watched kids’ shows was tailored with content around other shows suitable for children, and the click-through rate was three times higher than a generic newsletter.

STARZPLAY has been grow its business since day one.  We wanted to focus on scaling quickly, so finding a no-fuss platform we didn’t have to build from scratch was key,” said Saleem Bhatti, Chief Technology Officer.

Today, Service Cloud supports the customer service team’s omni-channel activities. “People get in touch with us via social media, email, and web forms,” explained Bhatti.

And when the user base has grown, STARZPLAY has still met its 12-24 hour response time targets with a small team of agents.

“Our team has all the information they need in one place, plus it’s easy to integrate with other systems. When a case is escalated it creates a case in Jira so our development team can investigate and respond more quickly,” says Neira.

Since swapping spreadsheets for the content creation team has also seen a significant improvement in productivity. “Manual data entry meant the quality of our metadata was at risk, and the team lacked visibility of what others were working on. When you have a large volume of media to tag in multiple languages, and different censorship regulations between regions, having a central platform with automated workflows is game-changing,” explained Neira.

The platform, built on, enables the team to add titles, descriptions, and imagery to a listing before it’s published to the website.

“We did proof of concept on the content management system in just a week,” said Neira. “ We can have new features tested and deployed in just days.”

This agility will be employed across the company, improving processes and ultimately engagement and conversion rates.

“We’re very open to new technology and always looking for the most efficient solutions.

Driving a stronger focus on customer engagement, STARZPLAY now has ambitions to expand the service beyond MENA.

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