Beat Cord Cutting with Better Video Discovery

Sept. 23, 2015
A new survey by Rovi (NASDAQ:ROVI) suggests that content discovery and recommendation could go a long way toward helping cable ...
A new survey by Rovi (NASDAQ:ROVI) suggests that content discovery and recommendation could go a long way toward helping cable operators keep customers from abandoning their subscriptions in favor of OTT options. The takeaway, Rovi says, is that "cord cutting is all talk, provided consumers can find the shows they want."

"If you have the systems and services in place to find and discover content, a lot of (consumers) would be willing to pay more to have access to those better technologies that get them to the content quicker," said Charles Dawes, senior director of international marketing for Rovi.

Specifically, the research, which included 4,000 pay TV or OTT subscribers in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France, China, Japan, and India, indicated that only 3% of global viewers have cut the cord. Approximately 73% said they are "extremely" or "somewhat" frustrated when they cannot locate content they want to watch, and 67% of the respondents said they'd renew their contract, upgrade their service or sign up for service if a company offered better search and recommendations. Those surveyed said they currently spend 19 minutes per day searching for something to watch.

"That is fairly high," Dawes said. "We can help to reduce the amount of time they spend searching and (increase the time) spent watching. That is far more satisfying for them."

One way is by increasing the breadth of metadata used. If someone searches for a Sandra Bullock movie, for example, the system should know that it is football season and recommend "Blindside," a football movie for which Bullock won an Academy Award, more strongly than "All About Steve," a romantic comedy for which she was given a Golden Raspberry for Worst Actress the same year.

"There are different pieces of information around what is trending and what is happening outside the traditionally limited entertainment experience that makes recommendations more relevant to people," Dawes said.

Viewer interaction with TV search functions is also becoming more "slick," Dawes said, and more like what they are used to on smartphones and other non-TV devices. Swipe gestures will come into play, for example, and voice recognition.

Users of Apple's Siri, for example, are growing accustomed to searching by voice command, at least on their mobile device, and the company recently announced intent to introduce this capability to its Apple TV product.

"Such a consumer-based company as Apple brings (this) into the mainstream and puts it into people's consciousness," Dawes said.

At IBC, Rovi announced a Conversation Training Tool and a Voice Gateway that are designed to allow providers to differentiate their service by integrating with different speech recognition technologies, and tailor it by incorporating different regional dialects and recognizing their customers' lifestyles. The company also announced support for Spanish and an end-to-end solution for natural language entertainment discovery through a partnership with Nuance.

"If you're able to provide much richer and more robust search and discovery capabilities, people are less willing to cut the cord," Dawes said.

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