Guest article by Albert Lai,
CTO, Media & Broadcast Solutions
Our digital lives are undoubtedly becoming more complex. We’re spending more than two hours daily on connected devices – with 46 percent of this time spent using two or three devices simultaneously. And we’re consuming content in diverse ways, using multiple devices together to complement our viewing experiences.
In this video landscape, sharing relevant content with viewers at the right time and in the right place is more important than ever – something that’s prompting media organisations to look long and hard at how they can improve and simplify user experiences. It’s for these reasons that the next video evolution will undoubtedly be the onset of personal television – the concept of ‘Me TV’ experiences that deliver individual programming, optimised for each viewer by screen, timing and geography.
Underpinning the ability to deliver this personalised, smart content-decisioning is the enabling architecture of ‘Me TV:’ data.
Mining data for personal programming
Viewer intelligence and user analytics will be tantamount to delivering the next-generation of personalised, addressable TV experiences – those which the likes of Netflix are already building, thanks to the accumulation of in-depth subscriber insight.
Viewers are interested in getting the high-quality content they crave, based on their individual tastes, and regardless of source or delivery. As such, the advancement of truly ‘leanback’ experiences will mean programming treats all video content consumption as live (to the viewer), regardless of whether it’s pre-recorded or live content. We’ll see a more agnostic approach to content source, as traditional boundaries between the likes of a live show and an advertisement are removed.
Integral to making such personalised programming possible will be the ability to mine value from the complex datasets that the cloud can unlock – data that vastly extends beyond that offered by EPGs and basic content scheduling. Media organisations will need to use a “Big Data” approach in their operations – just as the TV measurement industry is beginning to do so (Nielsen, for example, is moving towards tapping big data to measure how people view TV on mobile apps and other digital formats).
And so we can expect media organisations and publishers to increasingly drive personal programming by using baseline information about a user’s viewing context, from location to device, screen size and form factor. What’s more – if granted permission by a user – they have a means of enhancing this experience further by aggregating user preferences based on analysis of shared information, whether from the Netflix API or the Facebook Graph API.
Dynamic programming means new engagement opportunities
As consumers continue to demand greater choice and freedom in their viewing, there’s no doubt that personalised experiences will define tomorrow’s TV experiences. But the notion of creating a unique channel for each viewer runs counter to the traditional make-up of the entertainment world. While the technical parts of the ‘Me TV’ puzzle are, for the most part, already in place for publishers, the model of personalised, leanback programming raises a direct challenge for publishers to reject, refresh or entirely revise their existing content and monetisation strategies – no minor feat. Success will depend on the effective measurement of video consumption to gauge content engagement, popularity and relevance.
It’s key that publishers and media organisations grasp this unique opportunity for selectively interacting with the viewer. Indeed, it’s a model that enables the publisher to take greater control over how advertising and promotion is handled. The dynamic programming model, for example, supports content of irregular lengths. Why does that matter? It means that, not only can a publisher insert ads between content, or at specific cue points within a program – they can adjust ad frequency, ad duration, position and duration throughout the entire video experience.
Enhanced viewer data not only enables more relevant, targeted advertising – it presents an opportunity for publishers to interact more meaningfully with users. If a publisher can detect a user has switched from PC to mobile viewing, for example, it then has the ability to offer the user programming that’s adjusted for mobile consumption – programming that’s shorter in duration, for example, or optimised for 3G connections.
Ultimately then, publishers and media organisations must realise that personal TV presents a unique opportunity for them to maximise their core strengths – great content and intelligent curation – while enriching user engagement and gratifying the individual needs of the viewer.