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TV Guide Seeks to Simplify Video Discovery

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"We heard, more than two years ago, a very clear message from our users," said Brandon DiMassa, TV Guide's senior vice president of business development. "Premium content viewing, and not just on television, was getting more complicated."

DiMassa shared a number of insights with the audience at this year's Streaming Media West event, using his keynote slot to expand on new and expanded features such as Watch Lists in the newer TV Guide Mobile application.

"If our online launch in 2007 was about taking the TV Guide brand online for linear television discovery," said DiMassa, "today's approach is all about on-demand."

TVGuide.com and the accompanying TV Guide Mobile application for iOS devices allow discovery across more than just the television screen. In a model similar to CanIStream.it, which we've covered before, the TVGuide.com approach reveals where users can consume their favorite shows. But while CanIStream.it focused only on movies and television episodics after their initial runs, TV Guide offers users a list of live- and on-demand-viewing options.

"We have over two million active users," said DiMassa, "of which 750,000 users have created active watch lists. Users see their watch list shows in a grid format. So whether they want to watch it live, want to stream it, or want to know where it's available on-demand, we can provide users their answers."

TV GUide

DiMassa said they've launched the watch list integration with cable provider Comcast's Xfinity service, and hope to be able to offer even more personalized discovery in time, with the ability to drill down to specific set-top boxes and over-the-top (OTT) boxes and televisions.

"When we began to look at the way users populate their watch lists," said DiMassa," we found several interesting trends. One trends was the fact that our users were pretty good at adding shows to their watch lists that ended up being popular. Last year we saw that 8 of the 10 shows that our users added to their watch lists—many before the shows ever aired—ended up getting picked up as full-season shows. Some users were adding shows to their watch lists that sounded interesting, well before the show had even debuted."

NBC partnered with TV Guide on a promotional where they asked TVGuide users to add Revolution to their watch list.

"Within a month, the show moved from number 4 to the number one show on TV Guide's watch list," said DiMassa.

Interestingly a few days later, Revolution became the number one drama premiere since 2009.

"Part of Revolution's viewing success is the blanketing of ad spots that NBC ran," said DiMassa, "but we also think that TV Guide's users have a keen sense of what shows are going to be hits."

In a press release issued today, TV Guide also explored a number of traits that make for popular discovery tools. In a survey of 1,000 participants, Frank. N. Magid Associates performed national research at the request of TV Guide.

The study found that users value high-quality, usefulness and trustworthiness of recommendations much more than they do unique, cool products. In addition, social media doesn't play as much of a role in premium content discovery as respondents marked "a good way to connect to others" as the lowest benefit on their on the list.

According to the Magid study, TVGuide.com was listed as 88% useful and 83% high quality, ending the survey as number one among web and mobile discovery tools competitors for those two most important attributes.

Watch the full presentation below:


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