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Verizon Targets Video Personalization

Carol Wilson

BOSTON -- Managing and Monetizing OTT Video -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s next step in multi-screen video is adding personalization so that individuals within the home can receive recommendations for content based on their own personal preferences, and parents can control what their kids can access on an iPad or smartphone.

In her keynote speech here, Maitreyi Krishnaswamy, director of interactive video services for FiOS TV, cited research showing individuals will have up to seven connected devices in coming years, including phones, tablets, TVs, game consoles and more, with most individuals regularly using two. In light of that, the next logical step for a service provider is to tailor their content to the individual and not the household TV set, as has been done in the past.

Today, Verizon does click-stream analysis on viewing data from a set-top box and aggregates that viewing data into its platform to influence its recommendation engine, she said.

"We are now trying to go to next level in companion devices because they bring a unique level of personalization, which would let us create profile-based experiences that are different for kids, parents, the teenager and the toddler in the house, if you have one," Krishnaswamy said.

By personalizing content, Verizon can also target ads, she added, assuming the industry gets better tools for measuring multi-screen viewing for that to work effectively.

Verizon has already deployed a smart content delivery network that transcodes videos and delivers them in multiple formats to accommodate different end-user devices, and has developed some multi-screen apps that are already driving new revenues.

For example, Verizon has seen a revenue uptick based on the FiOS Football interactive iPad application it launched with the NFL in late 2010, Krishnaswamy said. The app allows FiOS TV subscribers who pay $49.99 a year to also buy the NFL Redzone linear channel to access a variety of additional information and some live NFL coverage on the iPad. It's driven a 5 percent uptick in sales of the channel. (See Verizon FiOS App Streams NFL Games to iPads.)

Verizon's multi-screen app, Flexview, which lets consumers buy content from Verizon once and view it on up to four devices, is also growing as a revenue generator, especially now that Verizon gives its subscribers 32 gigabytes of free cloud storage for their personal media -- video, photos, etc. (See TelcoTV 2010: Verizon Takes a Flex View of the Cloud.)

"We didn't see enough demand" from Flexview initially, Krishnaswamy admitted, but once consumers started storing their own content, they were visiting the site more often and seeing new titles available for purchase.

"It became, accidentally, a way for them to discover new content, and we have seen sales increase," she said.

Krishnaswamy also sees opportunities for better use of multi-screen capabilities to enrich what consumers see on their living room screens, by doing things such as adding Web-based ratings to video-on-demand listings and creating content discovery engines that cross platforms.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:29:31 PM
re: Verizon Targets Video Personalization

The Personalization Algorithm -- sounds like an episode from The Big Bang Theory.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:29:27 PM
re: Verizon Targets Video Personalization

Video providers crack me up.

I don't want personalized recommendaitons on what to watch from my video provider.  I'm already inundated with recommendations from social media, email, spam, etc..  If you're really interested in improving my video experience, then understand this:  I want to watch what I want when I want and how I want it.  And I don't want to watch ads.  (Sorry, I know this is how the TV business model works, but we're talking about what I want, not what you want.)  And I want to stop paying for hundreds of useless channels that are of no interest to me.  Fix these things and you'll have a loyal cusotmer for life.  But personal content recomendations?  I think that is just code for "we're going to compile a dossier on you so we can try to extract more money from advertisers".


User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:29:25 PM
re: Verizon Targets Video Personalization

I'm not sure I entirely agree, although I understand what you are saying. I think it makes sense for video providers to begin distinguishing between different members of the same household, and recognizing individuals on their devices. In that sense, a personalized service does make sense to me.

I think you are right in saying consumers don't want personalization to be an excuse for deluging them with targeted ads, but they do want to be able to stop paying huge cable, satellite or IPTV bills for a lot of content they don't want.

But if you don't want ads, how would you like to pay for the content you want? By the piece, like the iTunes model? Because if you don't accept an ad-based model, there has to be another model or there won't be any content. You don't work for free, why should all the folks who create and provide content?



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