One console to rule them all

John Lee / TiVo

Now that Google Assistant can allow us to dim the lights from the comfort of our sofas and Apple’s Siri can read the latest news and weather updates when we want it, technology has paved the way to a more convenient and accessible lifestyle, or rather a smart lifestyle. But what about the most essential component of leisure time – smart entertainment?

A TiVo survey in the US found that millennials spend 32 minutes per day searching for content, and this number increases in parallel with the number of entertainment services and devices they own. Additionally, 46% of millennials and 20% of baby boomers are faced with frustration when they cannot easily find and access the programs they want to watch, which impacts content producers and providers as they lose valuable viewership numbers due to show-dumping.

This illuminates a significant mismatch between viewer expectations and the content discovery capabilities available to the average consumer, presenting an opportunity for businesses to deliver a next-generation solution that can take the modern entertainment experience to the next level.

The smart entertainment experience

Consumers are increasingly using smart home devices to search for television shows and movies to watch. Netflix’s research found that sales of smart TVs have increased by 40% and television will continue to be the ‘enduring centerpiece’ of the entertainment experience. Entertainment providers need to respond to this trend the same way smart home device inventors have – leverage the latest technologies to deliver efficient and accessible ways of searching for content and ultimately, reinvent the content discovery experience. 

Data on preferences, behaviors, and emotions collected by platforms and associated intelligent agents can create a rich view of an individual and be used to develop more personalized products and solutions. Entertainment providers need to invest in platforms that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to drive automated decisions and deliver a user interface that is highly personalized. Platforms powered by AI can gather data, analyse consumption patterns, predict behavior and as a result, make highly intuitive suggestions. For example, if a viewer has a habit of watching comedies in the evenings, the platform can suggest new content in the same genre for the viewer to explore at the right time.

Connecting disparate content with metadata

Another critical aspect of the modern entertainment discovery experience is metadata. Enriched, detailed metadata can identify relationships between content and keywords – such as The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins and Katniss Everdeen. This means that when the viewer searches for Katniss Everdeen, the platform will understand that he/she wants to watch The Hunger Games.

There are over 1.6 billion active social media users across Asia Pacific, generating an exponential amount of data that can be turned into viewer insights. Metadata can evaluate hot and trending topics on social media to anticipate what viewers might want to watch next. This not only allows viewers to stay up-to-date on the latest events in the entertainment industry but enables content providers to better monetize their catalogues with the improved accuracy of discovery engines.

Voice of the future

Finally, entertainment providers must catch on to voice technologies that can mirror the same efficiency that intelligent home solutions deliver, enabling viewers to find content quickly and efficiently through spoken words. According to TiVo’s Q4 2017 Online Video and Pay-TV Trends report , voice search usage experienced positive growth of 5.3% year-on-year and 15% over two years.

With the support of AI, ML and metadata, voice technologies have the potential to deliver a game-changing content discovery experience. Today, machines that support voice technologies can go beyond simple spoken keywords – they can hold a conversation with the user, process complex searches and handle follow-up questions. For example, the user could say that they are “in a mood for thrillers,” then jump to “Bond” and then to “old ones”. Ideally, the system should understand these requests, and serve up a series of older James Bond films for the viewer to select from.

The anticipated rise in smart-home technology adoption in Asia Pacific serves as an opportunity for entertainment providers to be the ‘cherry on top’ of all smart home solutions. Watching TV will remain an essential activity at home and entertainment providers must leverage the right technologies to enhance accessibility, make content search more convenient and improve the discovery experience in order to craft a holistic and smart entertainment experience for the modern viewer.

John Lee is vice president of APAC sales at TiVo

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