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Personalized TV: The Linear TV Experience Is Evolving Harmonic

Personalized TV: The Linear TV Experience Is Evolving

How to transform the linear TV experience with personalization & create new business opportunities.

Personalized TV: The Linear TV Experience Is Evolving

A Quick Look at Linear TV Evolution

The linear TV experience has evolved many times over the past several years, from videotape to file, from analog to digital, from SD to HD to UHD, and from SDI to IP. As today's media landscape sees significant growth in video streaming, questions naturally arise about the future of linear TV: "Is linear TV dead"?, "Is linear TV dying"?, or "What's next for linear TV"?

Recent data shows that the linear TV experience continues to satisfy subscribers. Although streaming is gaining ground, in the US, around 64% of the average American's screen time is currently dedicated to network and cable TV. Over the years, linear TV has proved to have a certain staying power, staying in line with the video industry’s overall cloud transformation.

What's Next for the Lean Back Linear TV Experience?

Let’s dig a little deeper into the evolution of linear TV. Linear TV is more frequently referred to as a lean-back experience. You sit back, you turn on the TV and try to find something to watch. Traditionally, a linear channel provides content that doesn't really take into the viewer's personal preference.

The reality is that one-size-fits-all content commonly delivered in a traditional linear channel may not resonate with the target audience. For example, let’s say you deliver content to a group of people in a target area. In that group, you have different ages, cultural backgrounds, interests, educational backgrounds, and so many more differentiating factors.

Even in the same household, you have different people living together, like families with parents and children of different ages, but also retired couples, singles, or even people living with roommates. The demographics and preferences vary significantly not only from one group to the next but even in the same household.

Being able to create a personal connection with the content you deliver could impact overall engagement, time on screen, and the perception of a brand. With that in mind, what are the next steps in this continuous transformation for linear channels to satisfy consumer demand? It's all about delivering the lean-back experience and incorporating content personalization.

 

What Is Personalized TV?

Personalized TV involves delivering TV content to the viewer in relation to the viewers' own personal tastes. As the streaming and subscription video on demand (SVOD) market grows, Netflix and YouTube have changed consumer expectations with highly personalized video.

Subscribers want to watch content that matches their previous viewing history, relates to their region, age group, and interests. Yet, they still want to consume this content in a “lean back and watch” way. Simultaneously, advertisers want to be able to better target those consumers.

With advances in AI and machine learning for broadcast and streaming applications, new ways to personalize content with greater precision have emerged. Continuous data collection and faster processing capabilities allow content providers to better analyze viewer behaviors and provide more targeted content, tailored to specific groups. We're at the start of a new video era, and it's customized to viewer preferences, based on data.

Three Key Levels of Personalization

Content personalization has multiple layers. Today, thanks to the advances in video processing and data collection, you can more accurately predict viewer preferences and automate content personalization capabilities to bring the power of personalization to a whole new level.

Here is how you can use personalize the Linear TV experience:

1) Regionalize content – You can provide content for different regions based on local interest, customs, content rights, etc.

2) Customize for different demographics – you can deliver content related to viewing preferences based on age, content genre, and the viewing devices being used.

3) Targeted advertising – You can insert ads that target each audiences' personal interests or local businesses to foster greater engagement.

When you achieve personalization on these essential levels, you can create a fully customized experience that can add value to your content, to your channel, and to brands that pay for advertising space.

 

How Personalization Creates New Business Opportunities for Linear TV

Personalizing linear TV channels creates opportunities not only to meet viewer expectations for relevant and regional content but also to gain new revenues from targeted ads. Advertising is an important source of potential revenue and with ads based on personal preferences you can produce: 

1) Higher engagement - Personalized channels improve viewer engagement to maximize total viewership and fully monetize your content library.

2) Better experiences - Content personalization gives a competitive advantage by focusing on an improved user experience. User experience helps to not only retain customers in a time of cord-cutting, but it enables you to meet shifting consumer demand more easily with minimal business model disruption.

3) More ad revenues – With targeted advertising powered by dynamic and programmatic ad insertion you can add value to your content and services to drive new streams of advertising revenues.

The linear and broadcast TV industry already benefits today from a mature targeted advertising ecosystem to personalize channels and content streams. Using targeted advertising, you can leverage your premium content to potentially reach the 66 USD mark in terms of cost per mille for your premium content.

Personalized TV Is Not the Future of TV, It's Today's TV

Being able to customize your linear channel with more localized content for a personalized feel is becoming the new normal in today's fast-evolving media landscape. The ability to deliver personalized TV channels enhances the viewing experience, fosters engagement, and ultimately wins more eyeballs for longer periods of time. Let's look at how content providers are delivering a personalized linear TV experience today.

How Bally Sports Personalizes Linear TV channels

Bally Sports aggregates professional sports content from the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball League (NBA) as well as college sports. It streams this content to about 20 states around the United States.

Bally Sports has taken their main channel, which is a continuous linear TV channel, and they make hundreds and hundreds of variants of the same content which are targeted to different regions around the US. Viewers in different regions are watching the same feed, but getting different content, tailored to their region.

To give you a concrete example, imagine a Bally Sports viewer in San Antonio, Texas that’s watching their local baseball team play against another team, while a viewer in Dallas is watching a local college team play. Even though it's the same linear channel from Bally Sports, the content being consumed is different and tailored to the viewers' location.

This is a great example of how a content provider can take the first step to greater personalization of the linear stream. Although Bally Sports is not yet delivering a fully personalized experience, per household, it is providing a regionalized experience for its premium content, with hundreds of channel variants delivered to millions of viewers every week.

This regionalization opens the door to more advanced personalization and targeted advertising for different groups of viewers as the industry continues to move towards more enhanced content personalization.

How TF1 Personalizes the Lean Back Experience

TF1 is a French content provider with audiences all around France, and abroad. With more advanced data on viewers, it realized that there are different viewer behaviors in Paris compared to other cities and regions in France.

A retired person living outside of Paris may want to watch a longer more detailed newsreel from TF1 on different topics, versus a younger person working in the city that may only want a short, 5-minute news recap while they commute to and from work on the subway or the bus.

TF1 is currently delivering different types of news content, with varying durations, based on specific viewer profile data. This is another example of how traditional broadcast companies are taking the first, very important steps towards providing a more personalized, lean-back linear TV experience.

Use Existing Technology to Personalize the Linear TV Experience

The technology you need to create a personalized linear TV experience is likely already in place, using a combination of  “content stitching”  and  “ad stitching” capabilities.

Content stitching is the ability to change a base channel on the fly using a manifest file for different audiences. Ad stitching uses the same manifest file to insert ads based on profiles.

Server-side ad insertion (SSAI) and cloud technology, in particular, enables dynamic ad insertion of ad content into a continual stream, created seamlessly. Viewers can then receive different ads even if they’re watching the same linear channel at the same time.

Today, many operators now combine SSAI with channel variant creation using a cloud-based solution like Harmonic's VOS®360 Cloud Streaming Platform to create multiple streams stitched together with specific content for a group of viewers.

Primary Distribution Is Also Getting Personalized

The techniques we see used in the streaming space, to create a personalized, lean-back experience on platforms like YouTube, can also be applied to broadcast TV. Content distributors have already started to move away from satellite distribution and toward IP-based video delivery.

IP-based video delivery enables robust and flexible options for content personalization, which in turn can apply to the primary distribution of linear TV channels. The same cloud-based solutions for personalization in the streaming space can be used to deliver channel variants, and personalized content streams directly to affiliates, instead of the end-user.

More broadcasters are looking to personalize content and take the first steps to benefit from the new business opportunities that come from customized content delivery. Over the next decade, the cloud-based approach for personalization could very well become the dominant distribution system architecture.

Monetize Your Linear Channels with Greater Personalization

As the industry evolves, many operators are adapting their content delivery to enable greater monetization. Cloud and software-based solutions with powerful media processing and delivery capabilities enable operators to take the necessary first steps.

There is a proven path to evolve in the age of highly personalized, regionalized and localized content distribution, without extensive investment in hardware or new technology.

If you are looking to deliver customized channels and give viewers the content they can relate to, all with the advantage of a lean-back experience contact Harmonic. Let us know how we can help you foster and best benefit from monetization opportunities with personalized content delivery.

Regionalize content – You can provide content for different regions based on local interest, customs, content rights, etc.
Customize for different demographics – you can deliver content related to viewing preferences based on age, content genre, and the viewing devices being used.
Targeted advertising – You can insert ads that target each audiences' personal interests or local businesses to foster greater engagement.
When you achieve personalization on these essential levels, you can create a fully customized experience that can add value to your content, to your channel, and to brands that pay for advertising space.

How personalization creates new business opportunities for linear TV
Personalizing linear TV channels creates opportunities not only to meet viewer expectations for relevant and regional content, but also to gain new revenues from targeted ads. Advertising is an important source of potential revenue and with ads based on personal preferences you can produce:

Higher engagement - Personalized channels improve viewer engagement to maximize total viewership and fully monetize your content library.
Better experiences - Content personalization gives a competitive advantage by focusing on an improved user experience. User experience helps to not only retain customers in a time of cord cutting, but it enables you to meet shifting consumer demand more easily with minimal business model disruption.
More ad revenues – With targeted advertising powered by dynamic and programmatic ad insertion you can add value to your content and services to drive new streams of advertising revenues.
The linear and broadcast TV industry already benefits today from a mature targeted advertising ecosystem to personalize channels and content streams. Using targeted advertising, you can leverage your premium content to potentially reach the 66 USD mark in terms of cost per mille for your premium content.

Personalized TV is Not the Future of TV, It's Today's TV
Being able to customize your linear channel with more localized content for a personalized feel is becoming the new normal in today's fast-evolving media landscape. The ability to deliver personalized TV channels enhances the viewing experience, fosters engagement, and ultimately wins more eyeballs for longer periods of time. Let's look at how content providers are delivering a personalized linear TV experience today.

How Bally Sports personalizes linear TV channels
Bally Sports aggregates professional sports content from the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball League (NBA) as well as college sports. It streams this content to about 20 states around the United States.

Bally Sports has taken their main channel, which is a continuous linear TV channel, and they make hundreds and hundreds of variants of the same content which are targeted to different regions around the US. Viewers in different regions, are watching a same feed, but getting different content, tailored to their region.

To give you a concrete example, imagine a Bally Sports viewer in San Antonio, Texas that’s watching their local baseball team play against another team, while a viewer in Dallas is watching a local college team play. Even though it's the same linear channel from Bally Sports, the content being consumed is different, and tailored to the viewers location.

This is a great example of how a content provider can take a first step to greater personalization of the linear stream. Although Bally Sports is not yet delivering a fully personalized experience, per household, it is providing a regionalized experience for its premium content, with hundreds of channel variants delivered to millions of viewers every week.

This regionalization opens the door to more advanced personalization and targeted advertising for different groups of viewers as the industry continues to move towards more enhanced content personalization.

How TF1 personalizes the lean back experience
TF1 is a French content provider with audiences all around France, and abroad. With more advanced data on viewers, it realized that there are different viewer behaviors in Paris compared to other cities and regions in France.

A retired person living outside of Paris may want to watch a longer more detailed news reel from TF1 on different topics, versus a younger person working in the city that may only want a short, 5-minute news recap while they commute to and from work on the subway or the bus.

TF1 is currently delivering different types of news content, with varying durations, based on specific viewer profile data. This is another example how traditional broadcast companies are taking the first, very important steps towards providing a more personalized, lean back linear TV experience.

Use Existing Technology to Personalize the Linear TV Experience
The technology you need to create a personalized linear TV experience is likely already in place, using a combination of “content stitching” and “ad stitching” capabilities.

Content stitching is the ability to change a base channel on the fly using a manifest file for different audiences. Ad stitching uses the same manifest file to insert ads based on profiles.

Server side ad insertion (SSAI) and cloud technology in particular enables dynamic ad insertion of ad content into a continual stream, created seamlessly. Viewers can then receive different ads even if they’re watching the same linear channel at the same time.

Today, many operators now combine SSAI with channel variant creation using a cloud-based solution like Harmonic's VOS®360 Cloud Streaming Platform to create multiple streams stitched together with specific content for a group of viewers.

Primary Distribution Is Also Getting Personalized
The techniques we see used in the streaming space, to create a personalized, lean back experience on platforms like YouTube, can also be applied to broadcast TV. Content distributors have already started to move away from satellite distribution and toward IP-based video delivery.

IP-based video delivery enables robust and flexible options for content personalization, which in turn can apply to the primary distribution of linear TV channels. The same cloud-based solutions for personalization in the streaming space can be used to deliver channel variants, and personalized content streams directly to affiliates, instead of the end user.

More broadcasters are looking to personalize content and take the first steps to benefit from the new business opportunities that come from customized content delivery. Over the next decade, the cloud-based approach for personalization could very well become the dominate distribution system architecture.

Monetize Your Linear Channels with Greater Personalization
As the industry evolves, many operators are adapting their content delivery to enable greater monetization. Cloud and software-based solutions with powerful media processing and delivery capabilities enable operators to take the necessary first steps.

There is a proven path to evolve in the age of highly personalized, regionalized and localized content distribution, without extensive investment in hardware or new technology.

If you are looking to deliver customized channels and give viewers content they can relate to, all with the advantage of a lean back experience contact Harmonic. Let us know how we can help you foster and best benefit from monetization opportunities with personalized content delivery.