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Cover Story “One area we believe holds great promise is more personalised TV shows and movie imagery,” reports Adams. “We’re in a highly visual world and top-quality images are critical to driving the content discovery experience on the device of choice. Personalised imagery will offer multiple images for a single piece of content to highlight different cast members or specific settings or interactions within a show. The ability to dynamically present imagery based on known viewer affinities for certain actors, character types, themes or settings provides new opportunities to maximise visual merchandising for content and improve clickthrough.” “Personalisation is a tricky one, but it is reported that 75 per cent of people would like to have a personalised interface,” notes Smith- Chaigneau. “Personalisation has been the talk of TV since circa 2012, and what we do see in 2020 are simple profile sign-ins with profile avatars. When you are in ‘your’ profile, you do have a different array of content delivered by that service. This array is arranged through knowledge of that person’s consumption patterns and augmented through like and dislike buttons found on the UI. The biggest pitfall is that people are often lazy and do not log-out and back in, so there is nothing that tells the provider who is watching the content being consumed.” HABBITS. “With time, operators have been gathering increasingly-detailed information regarding consumer viewing habits and trends,” observes Signorelli. “This in conjunction with new algorithms to better understand consumer affinity for content. As the landscape of video delivery becomes increasingly diverse, the interaction of these services with each other through aggregation platforms will become increasingly important as consumers seek to manage and make the most of their service portfolio.” “We will get closer to the integration of contextual factors, but also the understanding of human behaviour and their tasks,” says Maier. “The major change in technology will be the adaption to strategies that no longer target the immediate need of a user, but the overall values people have. Especially during the crisis we could see how values shift and how they can determine long-term buying decisions or behaviours in, for example, becoming more focused on local production and products again.” “The focus will shift from genre to use cases and moods,” suggests Fröhlich. “What I want to “Federated search and single billing will be critical to a unified experience.” Adam Davies, Synamedia see often depends on my mood, or the company I’m watching in. This is where streaming providers can take personalisation to the next level.” INDIVIDUAL. “There are several areas where personalisation is going to develop over the next few years,” suggests Dawes. “The use of biometrics to help identify the individual user or group of users – after all, not all entertainment consumption is soulless – will mean that services become more dynamic and more accurate at getting the right content in the right context in front of the consumer. True use of AI and Machine Learning across the ecosystem will continue to develop from the enhancement of the metadata that drives the system through to ensuring targeted programme recommendations make sense.” “Hyper-personalisation based on emotional understanding will be the next big thing,” declares Bergström. “Consuming content is an emotional investment and by understanding this we can start to tailor every part of the UI to individual users. The technical capabilities and the data required to achieve this are available and now is the time to take this next step.” PROGRESS. What is the progress internationally on the integration of global SVoDs to local pay-TV or new entrant aggregators? What’s the pattern of progress, if any, on integrated search? According to Ampere’s Bisson the big stumbling block is the role of metadata and access to customer and subscriber behavioural data. “If you are Sky, you have access to your set-top box data; you have Netflix fairly well integrated on platform but you don’t have full access to their metadata and customer behaviour data. Across the aggregation landscape as it stands today, there are differing levels of access – from no access to some. Without that, you can’t fully aggregate and integrate and get a massively compelling UI and content discovery engine running across what ultimately are very diverse interfaces and very diverse and extensive catalogues of content. That said, there are ways round it. You can wrap your own centralised metadata around titles that are common to Netflix and Amazon rather than on rely on their own, which may differ.” “Whatever the difficulties, the unified interface is absolutely crucial,” Bisson asserts. “If you think about TV, as we understood it, before streaming came along, it was effectively a global navigation and that navigation was based on a grid system EPG, which was pretty universal for years across countries and platforms. As soon as we go into steaming, we are into very, very different interfaces for every service. Add to that the complexity that you’ve gone from linear to on demand, and content discovery is a real problem.” RELATIONSHIPS. “As operators’ businesses have transitioned to broadband delivery, and pay-TV service margins have decreased, they’re expanding how they leverage their existing customer relationships,” advises Christensen. “They’re building and managing broader ecosystems: they’re participating in the economics of OTT services, expanding addressable advertising, and developing new IOT / connectivity services. The question then becomes, how do they architect themselves to deliver on those opportunities within the household?” “Integrated or universal search which surfaces available content and drives tune-in across different video services is here today,” claims Adams.” Given the fact that 24 per cent of UK households subscribe to more than two SVoD services according to BARB data for Q1 2020, this functionality is more important than ever.” “Most large pay-TV providers have integrated the popular SVoD services, and that includes integrated search,” notes Smith-Chaigneau. “There are a plethora of ways to get to SVoD services in a household. The Smart TV is a prime source, and indeed, when a pay-TV provider has not integrated them into their system, the default route appears to be the Smart TV. However, when integrated, we return to the opening discussions around content discovery and ease of access to content. Seamless switching from pay-TV services to included SVoD services using one remote and one very well-conceived user experience with fast and straightforward navigation to all the content consumers want is a recipe for success.” STICKINESS. “Pay-TV operators and telcos around the world are increasingly embracing the trend of becoming ‘super aggregators’ of content - not necessarily exclusive to video content,” reports Signorelli. “As OTT rises in “The biggest hit is providing a clear answer to the ‘why’.” Tobias Fröhlich, Teravolt 14 EUROMEDIA