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Q&A: Patrick Vos, Zappware on UX

Patrick Vos, CEO of Zappware, talks to DTVE about the importance of UX and the company’s deployment with Austrian A1 Group.

Looking at your deployment with A1 Group, what are the challenges multinational TV operators face in delivering a consistent UX to subsidiaries in multiple territories?

A1 Group had a clear “One Company – One Brand”-strategy. This is now reflected in a single-user experience across the A1 countries across Central and Eastern Europe.
A1 XploreTV is the brand name chosen for the new video service.

All the in-country flavours had to be taken into account. We had to cover cable and IPTV networks, a variety of content rights, the respective third-party content partnerships like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, as well as integrate with legacy platforms.

How much variation is required to localise the experience, for operators with very different cultures, consumer expectations, network architectures and so on?

A1 XploreTV users expect an outstanding personalised experience on all devices such as set top boxes, mobile devices, web and via Google Chromecast. For the end-users, the experience should be consistent and the complexity to achieve that should be hidden.

Finding the right balance was key in defining which aspects are common, which aspects are configurable, while keeping the consistency technically and in terms of UX.

Teaming-up with relevant A1 Group stakeholders in an agile way was the key success factor to capture the different requests and to be able to converge towards one UX that is really differentiating and configurable in terms of in-country flavours. Zappware relies on 20 years of expertise to hide the technical challenges.

How far can and should the UX be personalised and which features make for compelling personalisation?

What is really key in the Zappware user interface is the welcome screen. This ‘home’ screen is where end-users are starting their video experience. Every time they get a natural blend of relevant content suggestions and easy access to search and explore. This is why I really like the brand name A1 XploreTV – it really reflects the aim of our end-to-end solution.

Zappware’s component to achieve that is the Marketing Console. This back-office tool is an easy tool for marketing and content teams to configure the UI and to configure how the seamless mix of editorially pushed content should appear with content generated from the recommendation engine. The recommendation engine we integrated in this case is the solution from XRoadMedia.

For the end-user, all the relevant content items as well as third-party content are one click away.

Clearly there are benefits to content discovery for the user, but what can personalisation do for the service provider?

If you stay relevant for the end-user then you’ve achieved a key step in the battle for HDMI1. We clearly see a new wave in the industry: a tendency to re-bundle. After the direct to consumer (D2C) initiatives from content providers to offer their subscriptions directly to viewers, we now see telecom operators bundling all relevant third-party content with their own content and features.

Can the UX deliver additional revenue to operators as well as help retain customers?

Besides bundling the right personalised content packages, the service providers can also provide personalised up-sell triggers to increase the average revenue per household and increase loyalty. Configuring where in the UI and to which target audience the up-sell banner is pushed, is also done via the Marketing Console.

Finally, the UX is about convenience and making sure the end-to-end performance is guaranteed at all times. Therefore, the Zappware Analytics Platform is put in place to monitor in real time the end to end performance of all components of the video ecosystem.

The UX is much more than the UI.

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