Television operators and OTT providers need to better personalise and target their content says Michael Clanton, Global Video Solutions and Cable Industry Leader, IBM.

Michael Clanton

Michael Clanton

Many of us can remember a time when television was something you watched as a family and there was not much choice. It was rare that you watched alone. I can remember, as a child living in a rural area of the US, receiving television signals via an antenna. Four channels were good and sometimes we had a fifth we could receive.

Today, some pay television operators have hundreds of channels; some are approaching 350. Add to that all the original series from OTT providers and it is a sea of content. Obviously, no one can watch this much TV. But not only that, very few viewers know that this much TV content is available.

With so much content how does one figure out what to watch? Often it is with trial and error. You watch a few episodes to decide if you like it or not. If you do, great — if not, it was a waste of your time. Others will rely on friends, family and social media contacts who will say “you gotta watch this, you will love it”. 

Many pay TV and streaming services will make recommendations based on the type of genre you just watched. Some are decent at making recommendations, but very far from being correct most of the time.

In this sea of media, the audience of one seeks content that is as unique as they are. Content that is curated to fit their interest, location and mood. Every viewer is a highly-specialised viewer, an “audience of one”. The “audience of one” demands its own channel – and they want it on any device at anytime and anywhere.

The complexities of managing content in different formats at scale with security, and quality of service can be daunting. Content owners and distributors seek a common stable platform to delivering quality entertainment content as well as corporate communications and marketing with a quality of experience while retaining their data on who their customers are, when they watch and how they consume.

We can assume few consumers wish for “the good old days” of four channels of content — but it is also likely most want their choices to be more personalised or targeted.

We need help with discovery.

IBM is working with content providers on solutions that help manage content on a secure, global basis and help them understand what their audience prefers and what their audience demands.

Read more Download IBM’s whitepaper Managing video growth for competitive advantage