Pay TV Still Searching for UI Gold
Pay-TV companies are investing heaps of money in new user interfaces (UIs). But, according to a new study sponsored by semantic technology company Veveo, more than 85 percent of customers still can't find anything to watch, at least some of the time.
Veveo Inc. argues that current UIs are a big part of the problem, and that operators could reduce churn significantly by improving usability and adding new navigation features.
Cable companies widely consider TV search and recommendation technologies to be a crucial part of their program guide upgrade plans. Interestingly, however, the Veveo survey found that search functionality is much more important to subscribers than suggestions for new content to watch. Seventy-five percent of viewers said they would rather have better search capabilities than content recommendations. And, according to the research, customers would also be willing to extend their contracts, on average, by more than six months in exchange for a better search experience.
While cable companies are working to improve TV search features, the industry is also heavily focused on deploying new recommendation solutions. From integrating television with social networking sites to delivering content suggestions across multiple platforms, the theory is that implementing recommendation engines will drive users to watch more TV and make them happier about paying the monthly cable bill. (See Cox Brings OTT-Like Smarts to the Set-Top and Jinni Powers Comcast X2 Recommendations.)
Veveo also found that viewers are interested in new voice-controlled TV interfaces. Sixty percent said they would use a voice-controlled search feature if it was offered and, in a separate focus group, more than 70 percent said they would consider switching TV providers in order to try out conversational interface technology.
Among Veveo's semantic technology solutions, the company offers a natural language television interface. Veveo Chief Marketing Officer Samrat Vasisht told Light Reading at The Cable Show last June that the company has about 100 trials of the speech-related technology currently underway. Veveo publicly lists Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) among its existing customers.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable