This decade has already brought with it major changes for video and entertainment, and that innovation shows no signs of slowing, according to an IBC SHOWCASE discussion.  


Watch: Gracenote’s IBC SHOWCASE session

As Simon Adams, chief product officer, Gracenote, and Pieter Vervoort, VP Entertainment Products, Liberty Global, explained during the IBC SHOWCASE session ‘Transforming the TV Experience in the 2020s’, over the past six months, increases in consumption and changing consumer patterns have meant companies have had to adapt quickly, while maintaining the level of service expected of them.  


  • Simon Adams, Chief Product Officer, Gracenote 
  • Pieter Vervoort, VP Entertainment Products, Liberty Global 

But longer-term challenges such as attracting new audiences, delivering a consistent, personalised experience regardless of device and adopting new technologies to enhance ease of use continue to remain in focus. 

Much of the innovation in this area relies on strong metadata, as Adams explained: “We’ve seen a huge uptick in requests for more metadata and expanding the breadth of the metadata that we cover. People are watching a lot more, the market generally has fragmented in terms of distribution platforms, and so the need to have that universal search capability has gone up.” 

Vervoort highlighted the positive feedback from consumers for the recently launched Horizon 4 multi-screen platform and 4K Mini TV box.  

“I think, at the moment, the consumer is pretty overwhelmed with all the content offerings out there. So, for us, it’s very important to bring all that content into this platform, and to deliver a UI which is extremely flat. It’s also very important that we have a consistent user experience. Metadata is an enormous, element and really drives the whole experience.” 

And, as levels of user discovery and interaction grow, so there is a demand for new types of metadata, as Adams added: “With the fragmentation of distribution platforms and with the amount of content that people now have to search through, personalisation is becoming much more important, and therefore so is the granular information associated with the shows. Historically, when you were looking at movies you’d be basing it on maybe seven high-level genres. Now we have a taxonomy of about 15,000 keywords we use to tag the content to get that much more granular.” 

Voice control, something which is available on the Horizon 4 platform, adds another element to this. Vervoort admitted: “We were surprised by the uptake of voice control; it’s really working – people mainly use it to navigate on the platform. We see an accuracy rate above 90%, so people try it once and then come back. At the moment, close to two thirds of our consumer set-top boxes are using it on a weekly basis, which is really very high.” 

Looking forward and the mixing of entertainment media is top of the agenda when it comes to improving the user experience. 

Adams said: “We’re looking at the crossover between our sports data, our video data and our music data, so people are able to search for a song that is played at the end of a show, for example. We have podcast data, so you can go from a review of an album with the artists tagged to that podcast and you can spin up a Spotify playlist based on it. It helps people to have a really immersive discovery experience.” 

Vervoort added: “I think gaming is an area where we could go further, as is podcasts and potentially into the smart home further on the horizon, where I see the world of connectivity and entertainment coming together. Those are avenues that we are exploring.”