Charles Dawes: „Rovi re-defines media consumption and offers personalized services“
ROVI was long known for its DivX Codec, but now enters new paths offering more personalized services for consumers of moving images and media content. Sounds interesting? Definitly. So I contacted ROVI and Charles Dawes, Senior Director Product Marketing, replied. He answered my questions concerning Big Data, modern recommendation engines and social integration. Here’s what he told me:
Wolfgang: You offer personalized media content. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Charles: Rovi offers services that help consumers discover and enjoy the entertainment that is important to them. Our cloud based services and unique entertainment-focused Rovi Knowledge Graph allow us to provide next generation search and recommendations to our customers and their consumers. The Rovi Knowledge Graph allows us to link the outstanding hand crafted metadata that our 300 person editorial staff creates and curates with our advanced machine learning technologies. This creates an information source that is dynamic and relevant to what’s happening in the world, at any moment in time, and is related specifically to how individuals interact with their own view of the media landscape.
Wolfgang: Most of your services are based on „big data“. How does it work?
Charles: ‘Big data’ has many meanings but we leverage data from multiple systems and sources to enhance our services and to build the Rovi Knowledge Graph that I mentioned before. This information can come from the traditional places people have always taken information from to power recommendations, like purchase history for VOD, or from the click-stream data that’s produced when using a particular device for instance.
At Rovi, we then go one step further and blend this traditional information with much more expansive data that we get from our Knowledge Graph. Collected from public sources on the web, this allows us to bring more real world relevance to our services when combined with traditional data.
Wolfgang: I learned that Rovi re-defined „recommendation“ services. In which ways?
Charles: Indeed, Rovi has been re-defining recommendation services in the entertainment space and is helping our customers to launch services that are based around the way we think and interact with other humans rather than with machines. Our Knowledge Graph is built upon more than one and a half million hours of R&D, and gives us an understanding of what customers mean when they are searching for content. For example, we understand the nuances of a search for ‘Chicago’, and whether they are talking about the film, the stage show, the city, or one of the sports teams.
By blending the power of our machine algorithms and our Natural Language Understanding technologies we are able to provide a much more comprehensive experience for the end consumer that is in sync with the real world. We’re also taking things to the next level with our Conversation Services. No longer is voice interaction limited to a set of strict commands or someone requesting a specific title or actor. They can have a conversation, like they would with their partner on the couch or colleague at work, and we’ll help them find the content they will like.
Wolfgang: How can customers and brands benefit from your services?
Charles: We already work with many of the leading brands around the world to deploy our services, such as our Rich Editorial Metadata and discovery services like Search, Recommendation, and Conversation. Other customers rely upon our award winning full service discovery products like Fan TV to discover content or utilise our Analytics products to help understand their businesses. Everything we do is driven by the underlying thought that we want to help consumers to find and enjoy entertainment content.
Wolfgang: In times of multiple screen usage, how do media companies need to adapt their content in the future?
Charles: The times of ‘multiple screen usage’ are upon us. This can be expressed in a couple of different ways. We have consumers who are using more than one screen at once, be that to interact with content that they are viewing, or to do something entirely different like catch up on their email. We also have consumers who are using multiple screens to catch the entertainment they want at a time and place that is convenient to them. For instance, they might start watching a programme on their phone or tablet while commuting to or from work and then finish watching that show on their living room TV when they get home.
We’re also seeing an increasing amount of mobile device usage inside the home to consume entertainment, be this with the kids watching something different from their parents or the growth of the use of tablets in bed to catch that latest episode of your favourite box set before you doze off.
We’re helping people to consume content where and when they want in the format they want by driving our services from the ‘cloud’, enabling consumers to find and discover content across multiple screens.
Wolfgang: Is social integration the key to modern media consumption?
Charles: The world of media consumption has always been ‘social’. We can all relate to that water cooler or coffee machine moment at work where we discussed last night’s TV programming. What’s changed recently is that social has gone online, so our discussions are no longer confined to a specific geography or number of contacts. We can now literally interact with people all over the globe on services like Twitter and Facebook and we don’t even need to have met them before.
Rovi also uses ‘social’ inputs within its services as one of many factors that help us offer personalised recommendations. What’s trending in the ‘social’ world can give important insights into what’s happening right now, whilst crucially taking into account the individual’s own online actions.
The amount of social interaction does vary by both demographic and geography, but one thing is for certain, online social activity is here to stay alongside the good old interpersonal conversations in which we all already engage.
Wolfgang: Thanks for those interesting insights!