Orange: recommendation a key challenge for second screen

Optimising recommendation services remains one of the greatest challenges for second screen TV services, according to Patrice Slupowski, vice-president of digital innovation and communities, Orange France-Telecom.

Last year Orange launched TV Check, an app that offers additional content and games such as quizzes around TV shows, and the ability to chat and comment on shows via Twitter and Facebook. The app automatically recognises programmes that users are watching.

Slupowski told attendees at the OTTtv Word Summit this morning that the app would soon offer an advanced recommendation feature that aimed to solve “the tyranny of choice” brought about by extensive on-demand libraries, growing linear channel line-ups and the proliferation of catch-up services. However, he said challenges remain to make the experience as effective as possible. “Even on our managed offers, people start up the set-top box and want to watch a movie. Sometimes they spend up to 15 minutes looking for something, don’t find anything and end up watching a film on linear TV instead,” he said. “We are moving from the search era to the recommendation era and we have identified many diff recommendation methods. This problem is not going to be solved only by an algorithm. We need something more.”

Orange is using technology from search and recommendation specialist Viaccess-Orca, which is owned by France Telecom, to develop its recommendation service. “It is the start of the story because it is very complex,” said Slupowski. “You need a lot of data on content and users. With lots of data, combined with metadata and computer power, you can have a very good engine, but even this is not enough track the complexity of the human brain.”

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