The fushion of content and big data


Yoav Gaziel TV-Bay Magazine
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Today's television viewers have a different set of expectations than they did even just a few years ago. The emergence of smartphones, tablets, and other Internet-connected devices and the subsequent improvements in user-experience has driven viewers to want a more engaging, rich, and interactive television experience, just like they get on their modern devices.

While a new generation of consumer-centric services has created elevated expectations and revenue potential for pay-TV operators, the TV experience continues to lag behind. In a world where connectivity, data, and technology offer endless possibilities, TV is increasingly becoming a commoditized service fighting for viewers' attention. The good news is that streaming technology is evolving, allowing operators to fight this battle.

In the past, operators delivered television content in a one-way direction to viewers. The video consumption ecosystem and specifically the STB part of it were a closed environment controlled by the operator. The TV itself was also a closed ecosystem. Consumer STBs could only receive content from the cable operator and did not support the delivery of open, Internet-based content.

That is all changing. Two-way communication is now commonplace, with operators delivering real-time Internet and traditional TV content to the STB leveraging an Internet connection. OTT technologies have opened up a whole new world for operators, enabling them to infuse additional interactive layers into the TV experience that can be fully contextual and based on content data.

One of the key enablers of this reimagined television experience is that big data and, specifically, content related data have become more common, useful, accessible, and usable. The abundancy of content-related data allows technology providers to develop engines capable of extracting information from the video content and, in real time, provide data that is relevant to the content for any screen. It can take the shape of an interactive application or any form of open data from the Internet (e.g., related videos, matching content).

Another recent technological advancement that is transforming the television experience is natural language processing (NLP). NLP is the ability of a computer program to understand human speech as it is spoken or understand and extract context out of human-readable data sources. As these technologies mature, they allow technology providers to develop solutions to easily identify the data that can be matched to traditional content. Using NLP and other state-of-the-art algorithms, a lot more data, both structured and unstructuted, can be processed, matched, and integrated into the end-user viewing experience, increasing interactivity and engagement.

Contextual enrichment capabilities enable the development of applications that are contextual, dynamic, and interactive, complementing the TV viewing experience. An operator's subscribers can engage with these applications on top of a video stream or broadcast, making way for new and innovative revenue sources that rely on the contextuality, and therefore relevance, of the application.

A good example for using such contextual data is sports. Using Internet sources, relevant sporting statistics data can be matched with a broadcasted sporting event. A dedicated app can then be developed to display the contextual data in a way that integrates smoothly with the subscriber's viewing experience while providing an engaging experience. This application can be attached by the operator to the relevant sporting events and promoted via teasers, marketing campaigns, and any other applicable marketing channel.

As the TV experience evolves, pay-TV operators will continue to rely on the latest advancements in streaming and big data technologies to breathe new life into the television experience. By infusing the power of the Internet into the TV experience, operators can create new value from content through contextual services, increasing viewer engagement on every screen, including TV sets, smartphones, and tablets.


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Contributing Author Yoav Gaziel

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