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This Time It’s Personal: Where Publishers Should Take the Online Viewing Experience

In the video excerpts below, IRIS.TV COO Richie Hyden discusses the opportunities ahead for publishers to connect with audiences by giving them the chance to return to a linear, “lean-back” video-viewing experience, instead of constantly having to skate around looking for the next video to watch.

It’s TV for the new age, online video on demand or by subscription, automatically programmed by or for the publisher in ways that give each viewer the shows they’re most likely to enjoy from the available library of material. The key, as Hyden points out, is to keep ‘em watching, and coming back for more.

IRIS.TV, if you don’t know them, bills itself as a “Video Personalization and Programming Platform,” using machine-learning tools to help publishers optimize views of their video libraries. Given the rapid growth in views outside the Duopoly’s walled gardens, publishers can create unique experiences for audiences while generating significant returns on video investments.

Richie Hyden, Co-Founder/COO of IRIS.TV: 

[00:05] I think what publishers should really be focusing on at the moment is connecting with the individuals in their audience by creating personalized linear viewing experiences, mimicking that TV viewing experience. That’s where we’re seeing the largest amount of engagement, and that could be in terms of video views per session, per click, or hopefully retention rates and how often they’re returning.

[00:28] It’s also interesting to see on the publisher’s side some of those major networks like Avivo making a migration back into the linear experience. Those are the major publishers that have kind of dominated in terms of size and scale in digital today, and where a lot of that advertising dollars have been moving. It’s exciting to also see them taking the step back into television, but really what we believe is the future of television is online video. It’s viewing on demand in real time your favorite program, shows, movies, whatever they may be, and making those available to you across all connected devices, so it really is that next step forward where users now want to be able to consume that whenever they would like to, rather than sitting and following a programming guide that is the way television’s operating.

[01:17] IRIS.TV, we’re a programmatic content delivery system, and we’re working with video publishers to help them to increase content consumption while engaging with their audience. It’s really about content programming for us, and controlling that content distribution across all devices. How our technology works working with publishers is we create a continuous stream of personalized videos, so a user will come to a publisher’s website, they’ll click that first video and start what we call an “experience.” That can be an ad-supported experience. It can be a VOD experience. What we will then create is that personalization, so when that video ends, we will programmatically determine what the next most appropriate video is for that user in real time.

[02:02] The second component that we’re working with now is then giving the control back to that publisher and saying, “How do you want that content to be delivered? Do you want to stay in the same category? Do you want to promote your recent content?” And we’re seeing some really interesting adaptations with different types of publishers where they’re now more effectively controlling that distribution and perhaps doing it differently on a tablet or a mobile device compared to desktop.

[02:26] We believe that the viewing experience for a user is really important. It’s the core of the way that digital video can grow. Television is reliable. It’s programmed. As a user you understand that you can turn it on and it’s always there for you. We want to mimic that same viewing experience in the digital space. We want to take it one step further, utilize the wealth of knowledge and data that we have based on different devices, times of day, geo-locations, and make sure that we’re able to then surface relevant pieces of content to them. The user experience is very important. What’s also just as important is surfacing the abundance of content that publishers are creating. You’ve got networks like the NFL that have millions and millions of different types of content. Everything is relevant to someone on the other end, and I think what’s important is that we can use the full value of those archives by distributing them effectively on a one-to-one level.

[03:20] Yeah, so I mean it kind of covers all different types of content categories, so we work with everyone from major sports publishers to entertainment. It really doesn’t make a difference on the huge vertical. What’s important to us is connecting and engaging with the individual on the other end in a one-to-one fashion, and we’ve seen that over the last couple of years if you’re able to engage with that individual on the other end, that’s when you’re able to maximize content consumption and increase retention. That’s really the key here is keeping those users coming back and engaging with your brand.

[03:51] Obviously, there’s a range when you’re dealing with lots of different types of publishers. The range that we’re seeing for an increase in content consumption using our tools is somewhere between the 50 to 60% range, and that’s in a video views per session metric. We’re also seeing improvements in retention by about 70 to 80%, so users are coming back engaging with those brands once they understand that they’re going to get a viewing experience for them.