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Video: What Does Personalization Mean in OTT Video?
Sea Change International VP Marketing Kurt W. Michel discusses analytics- and AI-driven personalization in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media East.

Learn more about OTT personalization at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete video of this panel, DT105A: The Video Personalization Pipeline, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Kurt W. Michel: Now here's the $10,000,000 question: What does personalization mean? Now, if I ask anybody in this room, I'm going to get the same answer. It's going to be whatever I want, but that means something different to every individual.

I made up a couple of cases that would at least allow us to start thinking about this in interesting ways. Here's a really simple case. I start watching a show on TV, then my daughter comes in, interrupts me, and says I have to take her to her dance class. So I hop in the car and I drive down to the dance class, and the funny thing about dance class is that I have to stay outside or something while this whole thing's going on. So I brought my phone with me and I want to start watching it again. When I start watching, it starts up right where I left off. That's a personalized experience because it understands where I was in the session and understands what I was watching and, even better, when I pulled up the same app from which I was watching the content on my television, if the app is smart enough, the app says, “Do you want to start watching the same thing that you were watching before? And at the same place where you were?”

Now, my preference would be that it starts off about maybe a minute beforehand because it always seems like I forget that last minute before I left. But anyway, that would be a personalization issue. Where do we go from there? Well, there's more.

Let’s say you're a millennial, and your friends are binging on a particular show. They're discussing a particular show and you want to make sure that you're not left out of that conversation tomorrow. If my daughter was left out of the conversation tomorrow in high school, that would be a big problem. If the system could tell her, “The friends you’re connected to on Facebook are all watching this and chatting about it.” I know this strains credibility because she would be on Facebook and she would already know that they're chatting about it, but go with me on this. The platform comes up and it says, “Hey, your friends are watching this show. Maybe you want to watch it too. And by the way, they're on episode three, so you'd better hurry up.”

Next one: relevant advertising in a nonintrusive way. What nonintrusive means to you is another one of those personalized choices, but I do find that, if advertising is relevant, if it's something that I'm interested in right now, like car shopping is about every five or six years. Then, car ads for cars that I'm interested in are very relevant and I want to watch them. The system has to know that, and my ultimate view on personalization is, I walk into my living room or I pull out my phone wherever I am, and I say, "Put something good on," and something good comes on. The something that comes on might be different if I'm sitting in my living room and it might even be different if my wife is sitting there with me, because now it has to worry about something that we're both going to think is good.

We really need to start thinking about how AI is going to have to work into these problems. Look at some of the things we heard about in keynotes. I was here yesterday for the Content Delivery Summit and Amazon talked about some of their capabilities in AI. But those capabilities are really at the functional level, at the block level. It says, “Take this video and then give me back some key words for the things that are in it--horse, car, person riding bike.” That's interesting and that's really cool, but someone has to take that and build it and put it together into something that's useful. A real service, a real part of the application that somebody can actually use.

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