Rethinking recommendations: Synamedia looks at taking back control over content streaming models
By Nick Thexton, CTO, Synamedia and Simon Brydon, senior director, security business development – sports, Synamedia
In the seminal ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ we found an answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. However, fans will recall that the enigmatic answer (’42’) wasn’t quite what we were expecting or needed. Frequently, this is exactly how recommendations in TV work today. While a deeper intelligence is at work, we present page after page of ‘42’ type answers.
A prerequisite for any TV or video service – as super aggregation takes off – are recommendations, which are not reaching their full potential. If a typical viewer watches a thousand titles over their lifetime out of a library of 50,000 shows and movies, why do they still gravitate towards the easiest option: what is new or popular? Part of the answer relates to the viewer’s investment in time, and the risk of selection fatigue or failure.
In 2022, we need to empower artificial intelligence (AI) with human reinforcement. What works well in other media platforms doesn’t automatically work for TV. Thankfully, there are many workable models in social media where curation of content is the norm and the work of many human influencers. By combining the two, we can better improve navigation, increase consumer satisfaction, and deliver a better ROI on content investments.
Taking back control
It’s not surprising that content owners are feeling side-lined and over-charged for prominence on aggregated services such as GoogleTV and Samsung TV Plus. We believe that in 2022 this growing frustration will force many content owners and broadcasters to act. As a result, we expect to see the emergence of new streaming models that give content owners more control of their output and an opportunity to re-assert their brand, not just their programme titles.
Another area where content owners are likely to take back control in 2022 is through monetising their vast long tail content libraries. The emergence of new tools will allow content owners to sell remnant content with improved value for use on short-form social media platforms such as TikTok.
Part of the TV viewing experience
Synthetic media is already mainstream in the game industry, but the hype around Deep Fakes is masking some more subtle applications where synthetic content is already improving rapidly. Media avatars are already becoming hard to distinguish from their human counterparts and are way more productive.
It may not yet replace your favourite celebrity or be used to clone their presence in multiple settings, but it can do a very convincing job of relaying standard ‘talking heads’ content. Thanks to developments in AI powered natural language processing, the avatars can now engage each other with an understanding of idioms and irony. Presenters can still use ad-hoc wry humour or banter in real time without it coming across as robotic or fake.
Out of the box synthetic media is not waiting for professional media creators to drive their progress. These tools are already used in low cost corporate training video communications and to augment support helplines. They can seamlessly offer a choice of regional accents and languages, which would exceed the ability of any human. Eventually, the appeal of the savings in both time and cost will be hard to ignore, and it is on the rise.
Fighting piracy as a service
In 2022 the single biggest threat to the media, entertainment and sports broadcasting industry is piracy. The reason for this is the emergence piracy as a service (PaaS); pirates using off-the-shelf white label technology which makes it easy to steal, aggregate, sell and deliver content.
Virtual hosting providers are starting to offer PaaS and even have the nerve to flaunt their lack of compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Almost anyone can set up a working pirate service with the click of a button and then automatically scale to support live events with heavy traffic.
Social media channels are fast becoming a hot bed for streaming pirates. To deal with this, it’s vital that the industry works closely with social media companies in 2022 to provide them with new technologies and services to detect, disrupt and deter pirates. This requires an intelligence-led approach, combining the latest technologies and round the clock monitoring to gather the evidence needed to orchestrate technical and legal take-downs.