In such a fragmented and competitive viewing environment, tools that can help broadcasters boost engagement with viewers are highly prized. IBC365 looks at some of the recent product launches that promise greater engagement.


Viaccess-Orca: Xview+ will now be available on Android TV set-top boxes 

‘Content is king’ is the oft-used phrase chosen by many industry commentators when asked to summarise the dynamics of the media industry. And while compelling programming such as exclusive live sports or high-end original drama packed with Hollywood A-listers or tried and trusted favourites in the form of much-loved sitcoms will surely help to build audiences, such costly content may not be an option for all broadcasters and platforms. And, crucially, it may not be enough to ensure that viewers continue to return to and explore services. So, what can broadcasters do to drive deeper engagement with their viewers and ultimately leverage that engagement to boost revenue opportunities?

With so many services and so much content on offer, one of the biggest challenges faced by viewers is choosing something to watch. For broadcasters, that means any way in which they can simplify sometimes fragmented experiences are likely to be welcomed, particularly when it comes to cross-screen viewing.

Megacable, one of the largest cable TV providers in Mexico, is expanding the delivery of its Xview+ OTT service to Android TV set-top boxes using VO’s TV Platform solution.

With unified content management and multi-device delivery capabilities, VO’s TV Platform will simplify the delivery of Xview+ to Megacable subscribers, providing them with access to live, VoD, time-shift TV, catch-up TV and recorded content, as well as premium OTT offerings on any device.

“As we expand the reach of our Xview+ service nationwide across Mexico, it is critical to partner with a technology provider with extensive OTT deployment expertise and on-the-ground support,” said Gerardo Seifert, CMO at Megacable. “VO’s TV Platform is supported by a rich ecosystem of partners and a dedicated local engineering team that will simplify the roll out of this exciting service.”

Megacable’s Xview+ service merges the best content in one place, creating a unified user experience for subscribers. With VO’s TV Platform, it will be simple for Megacable to manage, deliver and monetise Xview+.

Philippe Leonetti, CEO of Viaccess-Orca said: “As the most complete solution for operating OTT services, our TV Platform simplifies content preparation, management, delivery, protection and personalisation. With our platform, Megacable can deliver a seamless cross-screen user experience, increasing their viewer engagement and revenues.”


Gracenote: Personalized Imagery displays different images based on viewer preferences and previous consumption

Getting personal with pictures
Last week, Gracenote launched Personalized Imagery to help video services increase engagement by presenting the most appealing programme images to viewers in their user interfaces, content carousels and programme guides. 

Leveraging Gracenote Video Descriptors including mood, theme and scenario in conjunction with cast information, the all-new imagery created by Gracenote is said to help optimise providers’ proprietary content discovery experiences and third-party recommendation results.

With Personalized Imagery, linear and streaming TV providers and connected device makers can dynamically display programme images capturing different aspects of a TV show or movie based on viewer preferences and previous consumption. For example, a theme such as ‘female bonding’ might be the main element of a show that attracts one viewer’s interest while for another, its location or the presence of a favourite supporting actor could be the primary draw. The new Gracenote solution enables services to present the best images to individual viewers as they make tune-in decisions.

Delivering highly personalised user experiences that connect viewers to the most appealing content is a challenge for TV providers seeking to improve important consumption metrics. A recent pilot by a top-five US streaming service that used targeted Gracenote programme images instead of standard images resulted in an 11.2% increase in time spent watching titles and a 7.7% lift in the number of titles watched.

“Viewers looking for new shows to watch today rely on programme guides and UIs to browse available content choices,” said Kamran Lotfi, VP, product at Gracenote. “But a huge opportunity exists to deliver highly personalised user experiences that highlight content in ways that resonate more with viewers. With Gracenote Personalized Imagery, we are offering TV providers a proven way to increase engagement with their content and maximise viewership on their platforms.”

Once a viewer is engaged, understanding customers both in terms of viewing habits and consumer behaviour can help to make more informed business decisions.

Clarissa, which is described as the industry’s first business insights solution to take a holistic view of traditional pay-TV and OTT businesses and reveal critical behavioural and consumption insights, was unveiled by Synamedia earlier this month.

Insights from Clarissa can be applied to meet KPIs such as boosting engagement, reducing churn, increasing ARPU and cutting unnecessary costs. By applying AI and machine learning techniques to the data, Clarissa is said to reveal new business insights that can deliver improvements including ROI on content spend and call centre metrics.

Clarissa brings together siloed data sets to achieve a universal view across its four applications: viewing quality, user experience, content consumption and advertising insights. It allows users to change any element of their service and immediately see the impact this has on other metrics. This includes fine-tuning the new customer on-boarding flow or streamlining the journey to content by reducing the number of clicks.

By unifying data from many sources, Clarissa is designed to provide clarity on performance across all video services, allowing customers to understand not only what content is popular but on which devices and in what format. By using machine learning to analyse content metadata, Clarissa can predict which content will increase engagement. Customers can then reduce their long tail of unpopular content and only renew rights for those platforms and devices that viewers actually use, increasing ROI on content licensing and acquisition costs.

“Clarissa turns what has been a dark art into a science. It democratises data by giving insights to all decision makers. Video service providers need a trusted data partner with an unrivalled understanding of video and TV to help them see the bigger picture and improve their service offering. Now, armed with deep insights into their viewers’ needs and the value of their services, video service providers can adapt to win in today’s attention economy,” said Amruta Shankar, director of data and analytics at Synamedia.

Understanding and monetising audiences
Vindicia, part of the Amdocs Media Division, recently extended its long-standing engagement with Vimeo. Vindicia provides Vimeo with a complete subscription management and retention solution to maximise customer lifetime value and business agility.

As part of this agreement, Vimeo will continue to use Vindicia services to enhance monetisation of its subscription and one-time purchase services. Vindicia offers cloud-based, SaaS solutions that provide the scalability and flexibility to continue supporting Vimeo’s global growth.

“Vindicia has supported us since our early days, understands our business needs, and we are happy they will continue to support and enable our business,” said Craig Wert, senior vice president, finance, Vimeo.

“We are extremely pleased to support the growth-related needs of video content platform providers such as Vimeo as they drive higher subscription growth globally while providing a frictionless customer experience and intelligence-based tools and best practices,” said Darcy Antonellis, head of Amdocs Media.

“With the extension of our long-term relationship with Vimeo, we remain committed and focused to deliver Vindicia’s cloud-based SaaS portfolio to retain and grow Vimeo’s user base via extended personalised offerings throughout their entire customer lifecycle.”


Sajja: The partnership ‘gives the industry the ability… to rapidly create engaging user experiences’

Meanwhile, Firstlight Media and Evergent Technologies recently announced that they would be integrating their cloud-based capabilities to help OTT and pay-TV providers deliver end-to-end solutions that optimise and monetise audiences.

The partnership brings together the customer engagement power of Firstlight Media’s Content Management System (CMS) and integrated revenue and customer management of Evergent’s OTT and traditional video solution to enhance user and subscriber management within video ecosystems.

Firstlight Media’s CMS is a core element of a platform built on Gen 5 architecture and delivering step-changes in performance, flexibility and scale. The CMS offers real-time metadata management, pre-integration of third-party enrichment providers, storefront pre-visualisation tools with real-time and scheduled publishing, and editable electronic program guides. The integration with Evergent solutions enhances the ability of content and service providers to quickly and flexibly create the subscriptions and promotions that can convert content discovery into long-term connections and revenue.

“The creation and the management of relationships between consumers and OTT providers require two unique skill sets,” said Vijay Sajja, CEO and founder of Evergent Technologies. “Our partnership with Firstlight Media gives the industry the ability not only to rapidly create engaging user experiences, but also allows services to do quick market experiments with our flexible user management system.”

“With upwards of 300 OTT providers competing for audience share, rapid time-to-market for new services is critical to business success,” said Paul Pastor, chief business officer and co-founder of Firstlight Media. “By combining our cloud-based platform with Evergent’s advanced technology, we’re creating an agile, robust solution that can support the industry’s needs at a strategic point in the engagement funnel and can build long-term value for our customers.”