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popularity, these operators are using partnerships with these media services to increase consumer stickiness. More than 500 of these partnerships had been made worldwide at the end of 2019, up by more than 22 per cent year-over-year. This number will continue to increase as new services launch, and more markets follow this global aggregation trend.” “We have been forecasting that universal search and recommendations will become more widely required and we are seeing this in our customer base today,” reports Docherty. “We have deployments with four or five OTT VoD offerings integrated into a single platform, or where a pay-TV provider integrates multiple OTT catalogues and has a universal search capability across all of them.” “TiVo has been at the forefront of the push to integrate VoD services into an aggregated content discovery experience for the consumer,” states Dawes. “In 2013, we enabled the first pay-TV operator integration of Netflix with Virgin Media in the UK. Since then we’ve continued to expand the number of services which are aggregated across both international and local providers in line with our customers and consumers’ needs. Most recently our TiVo Stream 4K product, which was launched to critical acclaim in May, is bringing content aggregation in the streaming world to the next level for a whole new generation of consumers who don’t subscribe to traditional pay-TV.” “The TiVo experience focuses on what we term an ‘app-free environment’ where you don’t have to constantly switch between apps or even have to remember where that show you wanted to watch resides this month. By aggregating the content into a single experience that is driven by a superior level of rich, descriptive metadata and a holistic search and recommendation experience, the customer can spend more time watching and less time flicking through apps.” VOICE. As to the emergence of voice-driven search and discovery, Bisson suggests it works very well when you know what you want to watch. “The uptake of voice-enabled devices is perhaps being driven by other things than wanting to discover something to watch on the telly, but it is getting to a compelling installed base. Some people are doing it well, Roku, for example where it works across platform and across service. Other perhaps do it less well. I think it will become a fairly standard and accepted part of TV navigation going forward.” Adams says Voice is widely available now and fast evolving. “Simple queries along the lines of : ‘Find me show X’ are giving way to a more conversational search process wherein a string of commands are spoken. Voice search is complex and behind the scenes, vast amounts of descriptive data are required to narrow a set of results to the one the viewer wants.” For example, take a query like: ‘Play that show about old school New York ad executives starring Jon Hamm’. In order for the service to recognise that the show being referenced is Mad Men, it would need to understand all the underlying elements of the show from its subject matter and setting to its stars to where the content is currently available. This is where broad and deep descriptive metadata is so critical.” “Across all the subscription drivers asked about in the Kantar Entertainment on Demand study, voice control ranks last as a driver,” admits Sunnebo. “Voice control is well suited to many tasks, but in consumers’ minds, SVoD is not one of them. “Voice certainly helps, and if you have ever used it, you would understand why,” observes Smith-Chaigneau. “Voice still requires you to know what to ask for, i.e., Channel Up, Go To BBC 2 is not the same as trying to locate the latest movie or TV show that you cannot quite remember the title of.” “According to Omdia’s consumer surveys, more than half of average consumers are not interested in voice control in video services, with less than 20 per cent claiming to currently use it,” reports Signorelli. “This level of interest has been consistent over the last two years, implying that voice controls still need to prove their capabilities and integrate their functionality into more services and devices.” TREND. “We believe that using voice to search for known content is clearly a trend. While voice will continue to gain prominence in how users interact with their TVs, it is still important that users aren’t “Voice search and recommendations will be important.” Peter Docherty, Think Analytics “Hyperpersonalisation from emotional understanding will be the next big thing.” - Marcus Bergström, Vionlabs forced to talk if they do not want to, or if they just cannot talk in certain situations. They need to feel empowered to interact with the TV using a modality that works best for them,” says Maier. “Voice has not caught on yet, but this doesn’t mean it eventually won’t,” says Fröhlich. “It will take more time, but we see that Generation Z is much more open to voice. The increasing relevance of younger generations will speed up this process.” “Voice search and recommendations will be important,” asserts Docherty. “Just think about how many of us use smart speakers in the home now. While some video service providers are already offering voice capabilities with in-built microphones in remote controls, abandon rates in the early offerings were high. To crack this, providers will adopt, and some already have, more sophisticated voice search tools that make use of natural language analysis to fully understand what the viewer is looking for. It will be interesting to see the progress of operator-specific solutions with near-field microphones in remote controls compared to integration with smart devices in the home.” LEVELLER. “Voice has definitely caught on in the entertainment discovery world,” affirms Dawes. “It is a great leveller that flattens the user experience and bypasses some of the way content was presented in the past with strict, but not always user friendly, content trees. TiVo has focused on enabling Conversational voice search which uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to truly understand what the consumer is saying, including their intent and context, to deliver an experience that is above and beyond simple title searches. Since our first launches in 2015, we have grown the service across both our own consumer and our operator footprints to today provide focused entertainment search in multiple languages. A key proof point is in showing how consumers have embraced voice. The average consumer would use text search once or twice a month whereas those with voice search are using it 35+ times to find content.” “The conversational aspect of a voice search is also crucial as it aligns with how consumers think. You can’t always remember the title of a show, and sometimes you forget the name of an actor, but you do know they played a certain character. Being able to ask questions like: ‘What’s the film about a robbery with the actor who plays Bond?’. You’re looking for Logan Lucky but trying to do that without a conversation voice system that is underpinned by rich knowledge graph-based metadata would be a non-starter. Consumers won’t completely abandon the remote control for all interaction, but as they use voice and experience its extraordinary simplicity, they continue to use it help them find, watch and enjoy their entertainment.” EUROMEDIA 15