Video content consumption has undergone a profound transformation in recent years. The rise of connected devices and video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu combined with linear content, creates a complex network of media that makes it difficult for both video providers and consumers to navigate.
One thing is clear: The traditional model of programming, linear TV is transforming.
According to a study by Market Studies International, nearly three-quarters (73%) of viewers use streaming services and nearly one-third (29%) of those streaming consumers have canceled or downgraded their traditional TV services.
This signals a conscious move away from expensive pay-TV subscriptions and from the archaic content search and discovery methods that come with scheduled, live programming.
In today’s jungle of content, video providers have the chance to become trusted advisors and guides to those viewers wandering about in constant search of the next big thriller or timeless romance. Providers need to shift their focus to offer a personalized and seamless customer experience able to deliver relevant content, based on personal tastes, preferences and even past experiences.
This concept is not a complete novelty — we are all familiar with personalized recommendations carousels. But there are many ways in which these carousels and other forms of content recommendations are brought to life.
User behavior and viewing patterns can be tracked across content platforms and then paired with content metadata to deliver surprisingly accurate and timely suggestions.
Think of Jane Doe, who tends to watch non-fiction TV during the week and foreign films on the weekend. When she logs on to her connected device on a Tuesday night, after a long day at work, she will be offered a soothing nature documentary. Saturday night’s recommendations will be all about the French Nouvelle Vague.
In this scenario, cross-platform user behavior tracking and data standardization and unification are key if content providers want to differentiate themselves by providing a custom-fit viewership experience.
This is something that the industry as a whole is getting up to speed on, but some players are already getting closer to realizing the omnichannel dream by integrating not only content consumption across platforms, but even social media activity and the popularity of a given show, at a given time.
Of course, we don’t always want to be told what to watch. Content search is an equally important part of the modern-day viewer’s experience. Traditional ways of searching content, like typing the title of a movie a few remote clicks at a time, just simply are not on par with the speed expectations of modern day consumers.
Even scrolling down conveniently curated carousels of recommendations is quickly becoming a nuisance for today’s attention-lacking consumer. This is where voice-powered search offers unparalleled possibilities.
The fact that voice-powered digital assistants have increasingly become a normal sight in the American household shows us we tend to prefer the ease and speed of uttering voice commands to get things done.
It’s just easier -- no need to fight with the remote or get lost while scrolling down a page anymore. Voice search has been applied to video content discovery. However, early systems suffer from the same limitations as their cousins.
Alexa and Siri voice commands need to be uttered in a certain way, one a time, etc.
What we’ll see in the future — and what companies like TiVo are already making possible — are voice capabilities that enable viewers to search for content in a more natural language.
Think of asking your device: “Show me movies with Bill Murray. Only comedies. From the '80s.” Or “play that movie where Tom Hanks gets stranded on a desert island.” Eliminating the tediousness and frustration associated with current content discovery methods will help viewers consume content more often and for longer times, especially if the content displayed is perfectly curated for them.
Greater content personalization not only helps video content providers deliver a richer and more differentiated customer experience, but it helps marketers and brands reach their target audience more easily.
The more personalized the content, the clearer picture of the consumer advertisers can have. That will help marketers target their desired audiences with a granularity never imagined for TV and video content.
Further, according to an IAB study that examined viewers who tend to consume content with others, linear TV and OTT have the highest co-viewing audience. When “more than half (56%) of those co-viewing on over-the-top (OTT) regularly talk about the brands or products they see while watching content on television screens,” it becomes clear the social component of video consumption offers incredible value to advertisers.
The research also revealed that “brand-related multitasking behaviors are particularly strong among OTT co-viewers, including chatting on social media about the brands they see, conducting brand-related searches, and even making purchases online.”
Investing in the customer experience through greater personalization and voice-powered search becomes a no-brainer for video content providers. Delivering ultra-personalized content, providers keep viewers glued to their screens.
By doing so, content providers win recognition from both consumers and advertisers and propel content consumption to the next level.