Long reads

Q&A: Michal Fridman, Comigo

Michal Fridman - VP Marketing (PR)Michal Fridman, VP of marketing at Comigo talks to DTVE about the TV experience, content discovery and personalisation

How can service providers best use the TV experience – including the electronic programme guide, content discovery features and on-demand portals – to differentiate their offerings to subscribers?

The TV experience has become one of the most crucial factors in attracting and keeping subscribers for TV service providers. With the evolution of internet capabilities, the things that BigData and Machine Learning algorithm enable, have become the driving force behind subscriber expectations in term of the user experience. The traditional programming guide is not enough. TV service providers have to allow their subscribers to benefit from the same technological forces that exist in the internet on their TV screen. The intelligence-based guide and recommendations, long-tail and contextual discovery are all becoming basic expectations in this data-driven world.

What tools can service providers offer to enhance content discovery and what kind of recommendation engine works best?

You can provide content discovery and content recommendation capabilities that are based on full contextual analysis. This means analysis that is based not only on basic zapping and viewing habits but also on deep analysis of internal elements within the content being viewed such as actors, scenes and external internet context that is relevant to the show – for example related social media chatter and discussions – and its content. Service providers today can go a step further and start using cutting-edge data science and big data technologies. When combined, these technologies can be used to analyse vast amounts of unstructured and structured data, extract relevant information out of it, match the information to relevant content items, and provide deeper personalised recommendations and discovery capabilities to viewers. In the end, service providers can create an experience that is enriched with relevant and entertaining data, tailor-made to every viewer, all in real-time.

How useful is the TV experience to reducing churn and what do service providers need to do to grow customer loyalty?

With the volume and variety of content and data related to it that exists today, the TV experience and its advanced content discovery, recommendation and enrichment capabilities are becoming more and more crucial to securing customer loyalty. With more and more viewers abandoning traditional pay TV, service providers much offer at least an equivalent experience to what viewers are used to on other screens and internet sources. This is the reason that an intelligence-based TV experience is the key to keeping subscribers and attracting the younger generation. Wrapping the content in this type of experience is something that subscribers now expect and demand.

What is the optimal level of personalisation for a pay TV service and what elements of personalisation are most appreciated by subscribers?

Personalisation has long been the leading element in what subscribers demand. Look at the revolution that has happened in the mobile industry. It is inevitable that the same will happen in pay TV. Subscribers are demanding to watch what they want, when they want it and with the full ‘internet-infused’ experience they are used to from other devices. Pay TV service providers have to keep up. This means infusing the TV content with the full power of the internet and offering subscribers an intelligence-based TV experience that enables them to get real-time data relevant to the show they are watching ­– for example: sports stats – as well as personalised recommendations and interactive capabilities. In short, features that allow subscribers to take advantage of the full power of the internet in a contextual manner on their TV screen.

How can service providers best use the elements of the TV experience such as the EPG, recommendation features, and access to app stores and multiscreen functionality, to increase revenue? 

TV service providers can open new revenue streams in multiple ways. To start with, an intelligent and attractive TV experience would attract and retain subscribers, as explained above. In addition, increasing revenue through intelligence-based offerings will be key. First service providers can offer, via personalised recommendations, long tail content that they previously didn’t monetise. Understanding the deep contextual connections of viewer preferences gives you the ability to offer relevant content and therefore enables you to offer long-tail content that is relevant. Service providers can even promote such content by launching campaigns to promote VOD items using social network distribution. Another way to increase revenue is via targeted advertising and TV commerce that is relevant to the content and the viewer. For example you could provide the capability for a one-click impulse purchase of merchandise that is relevant to the show and to the viewer. Selling team kits while watching a football match would be a great example.