Light Reading

Rovi Makes Play for World Cup

Mari Silbey

With the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament only two weeks away, Rovi is kicking off the TV-related technology announcements with the release of a new metadata set created for the event, and, separately, a new in-guide advertising opportunity for companies seeking to reach big World Cup audiences.

Rovi Corp. 's World Cup metadata includes text and image details on players, teams, games, and event history. The data set is translated into more than a dozen languages, and Rovi says it will update its information as the tournament progresses. Program descriptions for later match-ups in the World Cup will feature "unique identifiers, tags, keywords, links, and updated descriptive profiles of more than 200 popular players."

The TV metadata industry is dominated by two companies: Rovi and Tribune Media Services Inc. While other players offer specific data sets around topics like music, sports scores, and program reviews, Rovi and TMS act like clearing houses for TV-related data of all kinds. These data services are growing increasingly important because metadata sets are what feed the industry's search and recommendation engines. Available engines include Rovi's own, but also those from companies such as ThinkAnalytics Ltd. and Jinni Media Ltd. These engines are at the heart of virtually every next-generation TV program guide. (See Rovi Makes It Personal and Rovi Snaps Up Veveo.)

Meanwhile, on the advertising side, Rovi is positioning its in-guide ad solution as a unique opportunity for companies to reach World Cup fans even when they're not directly tuned to a match. A Rovi spokesperson said the company is seeing interest in the offering, but does not have any advertiser customers to announce yet. As examples of how the in-guide ad service could be used, Rovi offered the following types of sponsored guide placements as possible use cases:

  • Sponsored banner that launches directly to the channel airing World Cup live
  • Sponsored banner that launches to a screen listing upcoming soccer programming
  • Sponsored banner that triggers a reminder screen allowing viewers to schedule a program recording
  • Sponsored banner that jumps to a skinned video of an advertiser's content with a sweepstakes related to the World Cup

According to Rovi, viewers in the US who use an interactive program guide visit the guide screen nearly 13 times every day for an average of 22 minutes.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/29/2014 | 2:11:51 PM
Re: Recommendations?
msilbey - Interesting. So recommendation engines lead to more time spent watching TV?

That's alien to me. We watch a fair share of TV at our house, but it's always something we decided to watch because it's one of our regular shows, we saw a preview, read a review, friends recommended it. We never use a recommendation engine, not even on Netflix or TiVo (when we had TiVo). 
User Rank: Blogger
5/29/2014 | 9:31:18 AM
Re: Recommendations?
According to Cox, their recommendation engine has increased the number of different channels viewers watch, and time spent watching VoD. In the future though, these same recommendation engines will be used for advertising purposes. Good for a small uptick in viewership now, and presumably more ad revenue in the future.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/28/2014 | 4:34:47 PM
Is there data showing recommendations drive increased viewership? I assume so, otherwise providers wouldn't do it, right?
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