Guest post by Charles Dawes, Senior Director, International Marketing, Rovi
Shifting consumer habits and advances in entertainment content technology are changing the face of modern entertainment discovery. This year we can expect further fascinating progress to be made around the integration of interconnected devices, intuitive data utilisation, and enhanced search and recommendation experiences. These advances will offer consumers a truly immersive and dynamic entertainment experience.
Bringing sports content to life
In the year ahead the customer will really start to take centre stage as service provider’s focus on fully utilising the intelligence extracted from new data interactions. By using complex analysis techniques they seek to create a much more in-depth picture of customers, whilst offering a highly personalised service.
Sports content represents a large proportion of entertainment consumption, particularly of live content. This is especially true in the age of digital viewing, with Nielsen asserting that 75 per cent of sports content is being consumed on smartphones, smart TVs and tablets.
We will therefore likely see efforts to enhance this experience in 2016. Dynamic metadata will provide a much more immersive experience, offering extensive descriptive information in real-time and driving new, personalised discovery experiences before, during and after the game.
Talking to the TV
Voice can be a unifying factor, providing easy access to search functions across a range of devices. While 2016 may not be the year when we see the smartphone fully controlling the home or all content discovery, this will be the year that voice search becomes a reality in the entertainment space.
To become fully functional and offer a truly natural conversational experience, voice technologies need to be powered by robust search capabilities and detailed metadata to enhance the “human understanding” of the machine. Voice technology must therefore be intuitive and flexible, to match the changing needs of the consumer as well as shifts in context and genre, to mirror consumer preferences and how quickly people switch between subjects.
This year we expect to see a rise in the number of new conversational interfaces being incorporated into a range of devices; for example voice enabled remote controls and further smart watch integration. We may also see more instances where these new devices can be used to control what is appearing on the main screen.
New user interface vs. no user interface?
We’re also seeing increasing debate within the TV industry around whether advances in technology will also result in the evolution of new entertainment interfaces.
Some experts believe we are moving towards having no on-screen user interface (UI). This will change the way in which we engage with our interface and is where input such as voice search becomes essential for the experience to remain seamless. However, even if the UI does become something minimal it will likely still exist in some capacity to ensure input and results are displayed back to the viewer.
Another prediction is based around the thinking that the new UI is AI (artificial intelligence), where the discovery systems behave more like humans than ever before. Here we can provide discovery experiences that are based on the real world interactions of millions of users, which grow with you as time passes.
In the coming year consumers and service providers alike can expect to see more of the same when it comes to new user experience platforms. What is clear is that apps are becoming more influential for finding and processing content. However, a ‘super aggregator’ is still required within entertainment technology, to provide an overarching layer for accessing all content within a system wide discovery platform.
Service providers must keep on top of changing customer behaviour this year, tracking trends carefully and ensuring that their offerings are both personal and also capture the imagination of their consumer base. This applies not only within the immediate TV content space but also more broadly around web and mobile, to identify any impact on video and television and ensure that consumers are provided with what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.