New to You: How Old Content Can Be New Again With Discovery Amid the Hollywood Strikes

August 28, 2023 Xperi Geir Skaaden
Chief Products and Services Officer

In today’s entertainment landscape, consumers have no shortage of movies and TV shows. From never-ending catalogs on streaming platforms to new shows and movies releasing each week, the trove of content has only become larger and more challenging to dig through.

This “content discovery” problem has become a major issue and pain point for consumers. The upcoming TiVo Q2 2023 Video Trends Report found that 82% of people surveyed are prone to browsing before landing on a show or movie during a viewing session. With 51% of people finding it moderately to very annoying when they’re forced to browse multiple apps before settling on something to watch. And we’re not the only ones observing the struggle, Variety VIP+ dubbed content discovery as the streaming industry’s biggest issue.

This content discovery conundrum will only be amplified amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes. Without new scripted content pushed to viewers’ favorite streaming platforms – and even network TV – consumers will be faced with a bigger viewing dilemma. Consumers will have to re-watch old content or dig through their services to find older content that is relevant to them.

This is happening while consumers are already looking for ways to cut costs on the services they use. According to the upcoming TiVo Video Trends Report, people were spending nearly $20 less per month on video services in Q2 2023 compared to Q4 2022 – signaling that they want to cut back on the amount they are investing in streaming services. So, if they aren’t getting new and interesting shows and movies, they will be more likely to end subscriptions to the streaming platforms that aren’t serving their interests during this content quiet period.

That said, the lack of new content shouldn’t be cause for concern for either the streaming platforms looking to keep a loyal customer base or the consumers looking for their next binge-watch or Friday night movie. Streaming services have an opportunity to keep their customers happy during this content lull and show them “new to you” content — or shows and movies they’ve yet to watch.

“New to you” content
While there’s a vast variety of content available, so much hasn’t been used to its full potential. With consumers frequently gravitating toward the same content, whether it be multi-generational shows like “Friends” and “Seinfeld” that platforms push to the forefront, or trending new hits like “Bridgerton” and “Succession,” the majority of provider’s catalogs are untouched by viewers.

But what most people don’t realize is that within movie and TV catalogues, themes are frequently recycled and reproduced by studios and production companies with a slight twist and different cast. Take for example medical dramas. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER” are two of the most popular medical shows of all time, but they both focus on the inner workings of hospitals and the relationships of the medical professionals who work there. A rinse and repeat of themes.

An opportunity arises here for platforms to introduce the less popular or lesser-known pieces of content that are historically pushed to the back where viewers rarely see them as recommendations. It’s time to dig into the catalog and give these other shows their time to shine. The way to do so: better tailor recommendations.

AI’s impact on content discovery
Streaming services can capitalize on the content they already have in their vast catalogs and adopt a “re-run” mentality, serving up content that may be older but still relevant and of interest to each viewer. Streaming services can improve their content discovery and recommendation solutions with AI.

With a long history of leveraging AI’s potential, TiVo customizes recommendations beyond genres, actors and themes. By merging the company’s data-rich catalog and contextual metadata into its AI engines, along with insights from 30+ million households globally, TiVo employs its AI content knowledge graph. This tailors a viewer’s discovery experience using regional social sentiment, time of day and individual viewing patterns, shaping a truly personal experience.

Using the example of identifying recommendations based on viewers’ sentiment, providers can then find patterns in viewing behavior around certain shows and movies that allow them to understand the viewer even better. In turn, this allows them to provide even better, more personalized recommendations. If a viewer loved watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” their streaming provider may suggest to them “The Resident” or “Hawthorne” based on these viewing habits and their sentiment around network medical dramas.

The recent spike in popularity of “Suits” – the USA Network show – on Netflix this summer is another example of this coming to life. What historically was a deep catalogue item for the streaming provider is now one of their top shows. This signals how platforms are reconsidering their strategies to push pre-existing and older content to the forefront, and clearly seeing initial success in doing so.

Through these smart recommendations, streaming providers will be able to keep consumers engaged and happy, no matter what the state of entertainment is. And in turn, these advancements will make content discovery easier in the long run – improving how streaming services make recommendations for shows and movies across platforms.

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