As pay TV service providers look to the user experience and aggregation of multiple third-party apps to differentiate their services from competitors, the ability to present and personalise content dynamically is becoming more important.
The rise of streaming platforms has not only changed the environment in which pay TV providers operate, introducing a new source of competition for viewers’ time and money, but has also intensified competition between established players.
Pay TV providers have responded to the streaming explosion by aggregating third-party apps and differentiating their offerings through a superior user experience that includes delivering the service seamlessly across multiple devices. That user experience – and multiscreen availability – is increasingly key to keeping consumers engaged with the service. As personalisation of the interface – meaning surfacing content that is relevant to the user – is an important part of this, an interface that can be changed quickly and flexibly in line with user preferences is crucial in keeping subscribers engaged.
Competition among service providers is very harsh. New OTT platforms are constantly rising up and differentiation is a key factor in enabling operators to survive,” explains Meryem, Sales Director, EMEA at technology provider Alpha Networks.
“Differentiation comes with releasing original content, but also with regularly updating the homepage of a service by creating always-new dedicated content highlights. Marketers decide which content to display and when to do it. The data collected about how users interact with the content and their preferences allows you to fine tune content marketing and editorial strategies over time.”
Personalisation of the homepage
For Meryem, the service homepage plays a vital role as the first window on the service that subscribers see, and it is important to be able to use it to maximum advantage.
“Reducing time-to-content is essential to keep the users engaged and avoid churn. And the personalisation of the homepage becomes very important in the process of content discovery by the end-users,” she says.
Alpha Networks, which provides the back-end software for TV operators via its tucanoRED platform, has introduced Content Animation as a new module within its platform to enable service provider personnel to configure the way video content is displayed for the end users on their devices.
Operators can design the homepage of the TV application in the tucanoRED back-end, creating content selections and choosing from a range of design options including poster, square, circle, cover or totem.
Content is then displayed in line with the design option chosen in the front end of the application using rails of pictorial content.
Meryem says that Content Animation, managed in the tucanoRED back-end, is an “ideal tool to configure the editorial homepage of the application and have the content dynamically displayed right on the front-end” by enabling editorial and marketing team to search through a content library and create tailor-made, personalised home pages with a design that best meets their needs.
Content Animation sits alongside and complements Content Hub, another key module within tucanoRED that manages content by obtaining metadata, images and videos from multiple sources and handles integration with external systems to prepare it for distribution.
tucanoRED allows service providers to manage and presented to end users no matter what device they are using and ensures that non-playable content is not displayed.
In addition to being deployed for multiple devices, these capabilities can be deployed quickly: Alpha Networks has successfully deployed projects within three months of starting.
The company’s acquisition of front-end specialist Hubee was “an important step” in developing this capability, enabling the technology company to deploy video platforms with a line-up of white label applications and the capabilities of Content Animation in a few weeks, she says.
“This brings value to media companies or content producers moving to a direct-to-consumer strategy,” says Meryem.
tucanoRED is also fully modular and service providers can deploy each module individually or together to build a complete ecosystem.
Meryem says that the next goal for Alpha Networks is to capitalise on the revenue-generating potential of the home page of the service by introducing real-time dynamic decision-making on content based on user analytics.
“Thanks to Content Animation and analytics, we are now moving from a content editorialisation strategy to a revenue generator approach. The next step will be focused on editorialisation boosted by real-time business decisions through tucanoRED,” she says.
The “cherry on the cake”, she says, is that the module is now a fully collaborative tool, enabling a number of different people in a team to access, edit and share digital libraries simultaneously.
Over the past 10 years, Alpha Networks addressed the different needs of network operators and media companies worldwide. Alpha Networks is internationally recognized by customers all over the world, such as Orange, Econet Group, TeleCentro, Bouygues, Box Brazil and many others.
TeleCentro, Argentina’s second biggest cable operator, has used the tech provider’s platform to power TPLAY, its OTT app, which aggregates content from third-party OTT platforms along with live-to-VOD content from over 200 channels.
“At TeleCentro, we needed a hybrid back-end solution to distribute Live as well as non-linear content such as NPVR, CUTV and VOD over one single TV platform for multiple devices. Thanks to tucano, lots of subscribers in Argentina are now able to watch their selected content, choosing from a catalog including over 10000 on-demand titles and 180 time-shift channels and have the same experience across their multiple preferred devices”, said Fernando Hererra, CTO of Telecentro.
Box Brazil, another Alpha Networks customer and one of the biggest independent content provider in the country, has tapped Alpha Networks to power Container, a project whereby Box Brazil offers an end-to-end VOD solution for Brazilian ISPs. The company uses Alpha’s Beemix cloud-based end-to-end solution, the tucano back-end including live, EPG, VOD and billing modules, and also uses its technology to play videos from YouTube and Vimeo.