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The evolution of entertainment discovery

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Consuming entertainment content has changed dramatically in recent years. Audience behaviour is constantly shifting in an ever-changing world of digital discovery. Recent developments such as VR and voice search are pushing the boundaries of entertainment discovery, and changing the face of the living room. While the EPG is still relied upon by consumers, it also retains some of the look and feel of the first guides that hit the market decades ago.


The changing TV guide

Consumers traditionally relied on paper guides and magazines as their source of entertainment content, then advancements in technology allowed for information to be displayed on the TV screen. When consumers turned to online platforms and the guide became digitalised, consumers had access to more information. Indeed, TV guides allowed navigation using remote controls and, as such, consumers started to see changes in the type of content and how to interact with it.

Consequentially, the early 2000s saw an increasing need for more advanced guides. Aside from the DVR, the key event that brought about multichannel guides was the move from a few available channels to twenty, or even hundreds through satellite platforms. This boost in channel availability resulted in a need for new discovery paradigms, and made new functionalities like search essential to enable consumers to find what they wanted to watch in a much more efficient way than they had been previously used to on grid display guides.

In recent years, digital platforms have developed rapidly to capture more functionality, with options such as VOD entering and new viewing behaviours such as “binging” becoming established. Consumers can now access content through a range of devices, meaning that information and entertainment content is available wherever and whenever. Traditional TV guides are now long gone, and consumers increasingly demand a rich and varied entertainment discovery experience.


The changing consumer

Personalisation is crucial to keeping pace with changing customer interests and capturing the attention of individual consumers. TiVo found that seamless search and recommendation functions can drive increased viewer engagement and viewing time. It found that those consumers most satisfied with their recommendation function watch 34 percent more content than the average. Additionally, whilst audiences continue to consume significant hours of entertainment content on a daily basis, even the most popular of programming is being left behind, with more than one in three viewers ‘giving up’ on shows because they became too difficult or costly to watch, often referred to as ‘show dumping’.

Consuming content through different viewing platforms within a household has become the norm. It is therefore essential that people can search and discover content which is relevant to them on their preferred platform. This increase in ‘show dumping’ demonstrates the way audience behaviours are rapidly evolving. Content is discovered and consumed in a very different way today and it is essential that consumers are provided with predictions and recommendations from their guide which are personal to them and offer a coherent experience across all potential platforms.


The future living room

The entertainment guide has changed from ‘one-size-fits-all’ to a hyper personalised guide, where the core framework is delivered but the content differs per household or person. The ability to tap into both linear and on demand services means consumers now have a wider variety of content to choose from. What’s more, it’s constantly updated to keep viewers engaged. The result is a much richer and more immersive experience. So, what’s next for the interface?

Technology and market forces are driving towards conversational interfaces in smart-connected devices. However, simply adding speech enablement to existing solutions isn’t enough. To be fully functional, voice technologies must be backed by sophisticated search capabilities, such as dynamic, semantically linked knowledge graphs coupled with deep metadata. By building such voice and search technologies effectively, consumers can expect to reap the rewards of fast, accurate and intuitive voice content search.

Ultimately, paper guides used to be an essential source for searching for entertainment content, but the industry can now expect the TV guide to be much more interactive and hands on. Speech will undoubtedly play a key role in advanced interaction, driven by advanced search and recommendation functionalities to crucially provide a hyper personalised and real time entertainment experience.

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