ReTV: Re-inventing TV for the Interactive Age

Use Case 1: Engagement Monitoring for Content Owners

Use Case 1 of ReTV is aimed towards professional users in the TV industry. Examples include editorial teams at a broadcaster like German regional broadcaster RBB, or sales managers in the advertisement team of an OTT provider like Swiss/German Zattoo or editorial and marketing teams at a media archive like the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

TV channels used to be broadcasted only linearly over satellite or cable. This meant that everybody saw the same content and ads. There was no option to watch a snippet of yesterday’s news, or skip an ad-break because it was not relevant.

In the current day viewership is moving online, the traditional broadcasters are losing out against the offerings of large streaming services like YouTube or Netflix. This shift away from linear TV to online consumption can be seen most drastically in younger generations: In Germany the share of linear TV in the video consumption of 14 to 29 year olds shrank from 47% to 29% over the last two years. Online Video on Demand (VOD) on the other hand now makes up 56% of video consumption in this age group.

To compete with the online-first offerings of large streaming services, broadcasters need not only offer compelling content, but also deliver it appropriately. This means that TV content is not only published to the linear TV stream, but also broadcaster’s apps and websites, as well as social media. Those different publication vectors all come with requirements and rules of their own. For example videos on Facebook are often muted by default, so hardcoded subtitles are a must.

Viewers are also used to have content recommended to them online. This means that a broadcasters needs to present the right piece of content, to the right viewer on the right vector in the right format, all while still making money. This explosion in complexity cannot be handled with the conventional tools of TV broadcasting.

The same goes for advertising: Non-skippable ad-breaks that last for more than five minutes and include irrelevant ads seem outdated in comparison to the shorter, personalised and often skippable ads online.

The loss of viewership is dire for broadcasters, especially since they are losing mainly young viewers that might never come back. Obvious consequences are lower revenues. Those in turn will make it harder to produce quality content, which will again make it harder to keep viewers. But not only broadcasters themselves will be worse of if they miss the switch to online: Consumers will lose a source of content that is often much more local, than what large multinational companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime produce. While Netflix for example does produce European shows in Europe, and they produce remarkable niche content, they are active across the globe. They will always have a bigger incentive to fit a larger common denominator than a regional TV broadcaster.

ReTV aims to help broadcasters move their content online by addressing different scenarios:

    • A Topic Compass will make it possible to see at a glance which content is popular with viewers on what vector, allowing editorial teams to quickly decide which topics to focus on.
    • Once the relevant content has been created, the Content Wizard will allow the editorial team to publish the content to different vectors automatically. The Content Wizard will optimise the time, target and content of each post as to maximise engagement or any other chosen focus metric.
    • For content published on broadcaster’s apps and websites, 4u2 will recommend relevant content to viewers. By drawing on the technologies used in the Content Wizard, it will be able to understand content much more deeply than existing recommendation engines and therefore offer better results.
    • Blurring the lines between online and linear TV, the Content sWitch will allow broadcasters to designate areas of their program that can be personalised when consumed on demand. For example, trailers for tonight’s evening program are adapted, or switched out, with the program previews that are most relevant for each user. The Content sWitch can also be used to control Dynamic Ad Insertion engines, giving them more fine-grained information on the content, and thus making the ads more relevant and the user experience less jarring.
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