The key thing is helping [viewers] discover content in ways they didn't think of before.Sandeep Gupta VP and General Manager, Amazon Fire TV
Gupta said the uptick in streaming video access during the pandemic has “accentuated that kind of decision-making. We saw very different patterns.” Online program navigation is not a “one size fits all” process. “They’re starting to recognize that they can get (whatever they want to see) in a way that meets what they’re looking for,” Gupta explained. “People recognize there are different ways to interact and personalize,” he added.
Other CES panelists agreed the streaming video deluge has catered to viewers’ desires “to watch shows, not just watch TV.”
On another panel, Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president, product strategy & thought leadership at Nielsen Global Media, said his data found a “fundamental shift” during the pandemic as the new multi-platform audiences wanted to find shows their friends mentioned or to summon favorite old movies or TV shows. Fuhrer cited kids shows and movies as “key considerations” in the video program search process. He also suggested the navigation/discovery process may get more complex as media and platform companies continue to make “big bets” in their streaming ventures.
Sarah Lyons, senior vice president, product experience at WarnerMedia, estimated that two-thirds of the time viewers know what they want to watch and can find it. But, one-third of the time, they are “looking for something new. We believe in a blend of human curation with underlying data to facilitate that curation,” Lyons explained. “You need to make sure data is targeted to the individual user at the time it is most appropriate. The blend is the magic.”
Stefanie Meyers, senior vice president of distribution at Starz, emphasized a common goal of program suppliers. “We are all in this battle to make sure our customers can find our content as easily as possible on whatever platform,” Meyers said. She said Starz is identifying “microtrends around usage,” observing that “savvier customers” are choosing what they want to see “with more discrimination.”
Scott Reich, senior vice president, programming at Pluto TV (owned by ViacomCBS), noted Pluto’s platform is “optimized to get people into new categories,” including CBS and Viacom content such as “bringing classic TV shows to a younger demographic.” Reich added, “This is not a winner take-all marketplace.” He also expects “more experiments” as the industry determines how many Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) services the market will support.
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