With Americans watching upwards of 40 billion videos online each month and rising, how do you even find anything anymore? Discovery is becoming a huge issue and is regularly cited by advertisers, agencies and programmers as one of the biggest challenges facing the online video business.
It’s simply getting harder to find stuff. Right now, there are several issues making discovery even more complex, explained Will Richmond, analyst with VideoNuze, who led a webinar on the topic last week. Online video usage is fragmented, multiple devices are proliferating and traditional discovery methods are coming up short in the online video world. Richmond said that the top 10 video destinations, according to comScore, account for about 58% of online video consumption and within those sites are many subchannels and choices for consumers. Then, the remaining 42% of those billions of videos are spread out over countless sites.
The result of complex discovery is missed opportunity, according to Colin Dixon, senior partner with research firm The Diffusion Group, who spoke during the webinar as well. He said the U.S. market for movie rentals hit $8 billion in 2010, and that 51 million homes have access to VOD, but those homes only rent 0.5 movies per month, representing less than 10% of the movie rental market.
There are many solutions to better discovery, ranging from search, to keywords, to recommendations, which sites like Amazon and Netflix are banking on. Another option is semantic similarity, which is a process of matching content to user tastes based on similarities with other content. During the webinar, the CEO of video recommendation engine Jinni, Yosi Glick, spoke about the taste matching his company relies on. (Jinni sponsored the webinar.)
Essentially, this is the discovery tactic that Pandora has relied on to create personalized Internet radio stations on the fly. With video, this could mean recommending video to users based on plot, mood, title, and the specific type of style of a show or movie.
Also on the discovery front, video technology company Digitalsmiths introduced new discovery tools late last week with its so-called “Seamless Discovery” platform for pay TV operators. Digitalsmiths draws from several data sources including social channels, guide listings and recommendations to create more personalized recommendations for users.