How TV Video Service Providers Can Overcome the Content Discovery Conundrum

This article is sponsored by TiVo.

Pay-TV customers have never had more options.

According to a study by Ampere Analysis, streaming content now includes more than 160,000 subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) titles. Nearly one quarter of TV viewers now subscribe to four or more SVOD services.

Yet content discovery hasn’t changed much from its cable TV roots. Pay-TV customers still have to click through long TV channel guides and jump between platforms to track and follow TV programs across SVOD and linear TV services. While 80% of TV viewers think subscription OTT services have done a good job evolving discovery to match content proliferation, only 57% of viewers felt the same way about linear pay-TV services, according to an industry report. Why? A disjointed, time-consuming, pay-TV content discovery experience leads viewers to miss out on content they might enjoy and drop off from shows they do watch.

For TV networks and TV advertisers, the challenges posed by content proliferation and poor content discovery can make it difficult to gain viewer attention – and keep it.

“If a customer is on their own, discovering content – it is not really that easy for them right now,” said Josh Brenner, Senior Director of Product Management, Advertising, TiVo. “People might see an ad in-stream while watching another program or happen to flip through the guide at the right time, but these traditional options fail to align with growing customer expectations for a more personalized experience.”

Personalizing Discovery

TV providers must adjust. Access to extensive content – on its own – is no longer a strong enough value proposition. Customers require help navigating these content catalogs to get the most out of every experience, every time they sit down to watch TV.

Delivering personalized discovery experiences to viewers starts with collecting the right data to make accurate, predictive recommendations based on their viewing preferences.

“Past viewership data is the key to finding the right people,” said Tik Patel, Senior Director of Product Management, Personalized Content Discovery, TiVo. “Demographics might tell you after the fact about a segment of viewers, but it is more important to understand what viewers care about watching as a whole, what their taste profile is. Rich content metadata identifies the factors or features that are important to viewers for staying with and picking up television shows.”

For TV providers who integrate strong recommendation features – such as TiVo’s Personalized Content Discovery (PCD) platform – the results speak for themselves. In a recent TiVo case study, customers were 10% more likely to continue watching a title in a recommended content carousel and 3x more likely to click through to content they find in a personalized carousel. Personalized search recommendations also expanded the number of channels viewed by up to 25%.

And customers who interact with pay-TV content for longer and across more shows and channels are more likely to stay with their provider – churning three times less than non-PCD users, according to a TiVo churn analysis.

Targeting Audiences in Influential Moments

Machine-learning powered content discovery platforms also help with tune-in advertising.

TV networks have long used their own commercial space for promo content, but these efforts often miss out on the most essential moments when viewers are receptive to new programming suggestions.

Content discovery platforms open up new possibilities for advertisers to identify these moments and target potential viewers that would be the most likely matches for a given show.

“We have PCD deployed in millions of households,” says TiVo’s Brenner. “This scale gives the networks and studios the ability to pinpoint the people that they know are relevant, based on viewership history, and serve up discovery inventory ads to those audiences. Now you have a valuable opportunity to reach these consumers when they are actively trying to find something to watch.”

Sponsored Discovery, TiVo’s branded content discovery inventory product, also delivers high accuracy and trackability. Because sponsoring the discovery experience starts and ends the content consideration journey in the same platform, it can achieve highly accurate 1-to-1 attribution that powers ROI-positive targeting strategies. In a recent campaign, these highly targeted ads helped a major broadcaster increase viewership 4x for a new drama by targeting heavy drama watchers across the TiVo platform.

As a result, advertisers can begin to build compelling strategies that overcome content proliferation and promote TV content in relevant and impactful ways – reaching viewers in the moments that matter and driving measurable outcomes.

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