Home Analysis Allente sets itself the target that viewers always find content within two...

Allente sets itself the target that viewers always find content within two minutes

Nordic Pay TV provider Allente has introduced a new KPI – that viewers should always find something to watch on its Allente 1 platform within 120 seconds. The company is trying to tackle ‘screen blindness’ when people are presented with so many content options. An advanced UI with personalisation and a content curation team is helping the company match the performance indicator some months, with work ongoing to ensure the ambitious target is beaten every month.

Jon Espen Nergård, speaking at Connected TV World Summit 2023
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The pan-Nordic Pay TV operator Allente has set itself the goal that viewers should be able to find something to watch on its Allente 1 set-top box platform within two-minutes, and tests show that today users are finding content within 90-150 seconds. The KPI and current performance figures were revealed at Connected TV World Summit by Jon Espen Nergård, CTO at Allente, who declared: “One of the big problems today is that customers can get screen blindness, with everything [the multitude of content assets] looking the same, so we try to mix up how the UI looks and how content is presented on screen.

“We believe that if a user needs more than 120 seconds to find content, they are likely to think that ‘there is nothing to watch on TV today’ and move on to a different service, or do something else. Some months we are within our 120-second KPI and other months we are not, partly depending on what’s on TV. In those months we are learning so we can improve performance.”

In a world increasingly full of catch-up, VOD and recordings, let alone hundreds of linear channels and streaming apps, the 120-second benchmark is an ambitious target, but careful content curation (by a curation team) and personalisation are keys to the success so far. Technical optimisations also help, with the live TV player and VOD player optimised for their respective consumption models, for example. The EPG shows now-and-next but also goes back in time so viewers can browse backwards for catch-up TV.

Allente is the result of the merger between Viasat Consumer and Canal Digital in May 2020 and Allente 1 was the first set-top box platform built for the new entity, with a streaming dongle following in February this year, with the latter aimed primarily at streaming-only customers but also available for use in DTH and IPTV homes. Allente 1 is based on Android TV Operator Tier and the streaming hub runs on Google TV.

Allente 1 achieved a significant first by using Google Common Broadcast Stack (CBS), which is designed to simplify integration with broadcast signals in hybrid boxes of this kind (Allente 1 is designed for use across DTH and IPTV homes, with streaming in parallel). “All the technical heavy lifting on CA and middleware integrations are already done (with CBS), so we can spend our time developing an awesome UX for customers,” Nergård said.

He told the London conference that Allente also made “a little tweak” to allow this STB platform to work without an Internet connection. “Some of our DTH customers, especially, do not have Internet, so that is something we had to support. We managed that, running on Android TV.”

Nergård described Allente 1 as “the king of our hardware” and also noted how consumer marketing for Allente 1 presents the Pay TV offer as the king of entertainment. Like other major Pay TV providers (Allente has approx. one million subscribers), the operator pulls key streaming services into the experience and the content discovery journey is designed to allow fast entry to those streaming apps, with a single log-in (connected to the Allente ID) smoothing the process.

Nergård explained how Allente is also experimenting with what he called ‘content worlds’, which can be categorised by genre or other properties. ‘Action’ is one example. “We gather everything [content] that is classified as ‘Action’ into one area. We could take that further: sport is a big part of our offer and a sports content world is where users could access the next matches, and matches that have already been played. It would be where you can follow your teams. There can be related content, like football documentaries, including from third-party applications. You can gather everything inside one area.”

Allente 1 is not just a consumer product – it is also the hardware for Allente’s impressive B2B offer, which numbers more than 8,000 customers, including pubs and clubs. The company is exploiting the obvious opportunity to upgrade the hospitality entertainment experience in hotels [where most in-room systems are way behind the advanced content centric UX, super-aggregation and personalisation seen in the consumer market]. The new B2B offer was unveiled in July 2021. “We are modernising how you deliver a TV service in hotel rooms across the Nordics, making it cheaper and more efficient for hotels to onboard, while delivering the same UX you see at home,” the Allente executive confirmed.

A key principle throughout the development of Allente 1 and the new streaming hub was that Nergård’s team should focus on value-add development like the UX, with the use of Android TV and Google TV making lower-level middleware and hardware functions less of a burden.

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