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How HBO Max Drives Engagement with Personalization

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Learn more about premium OTT and personalization at Streaming Media East Connect 2021.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

CJ Harvey: We have a massive catalog. It is the entirety of Warner Brothers and HBO and TNT and TBS and so much more beyond that. We are fortunate to have a lot of headlines, like Wonder Woman and The Little Things that people come for, but then the question becomes, how do we get you engaged in something else? There's end cards and there's heroes and there's editorial carousels galore. But if you approach it with a one-size-fits-all model, you're only gonna fit some vast subset of your audience. So really looking at the signals that we can grab in-app, not even just what a single individual has watched, but thinking about collaborative filtering, what other people in the platform are watching--how do we find similarities and lookalikes between your profile and others?

So we can bubble up something that might be an undiscovered gem for you. Aspirationally, I want to get beyond just helping you find that next thing you'll love. In the hierarchy of our homepage right now, we have a massive hero, and that's our tentpole, or Wonder Woman or Little Things, it's probably broad appeal. Immediately after that, we have continued watch it and continue watching to make sure you can get right back into that thing you've already told us you love. So whether you're in the middle of Sex and the City, whether you finished John Oliver last season and forgot that he's coming back next weekend--shameless plug for one of my favorites--that title will be there from the center for you on the homepage.

When you come in, now go a little bit further and start to think about ourfor-you experience and recommendations. I won't say it's a no-brainer, but most folks could assume someone who likes South Park or Rick and Morty is also going to like Close Enough. Our goal is to go beyond that and get you that next thing you probably would have gotten to anyway and remind you that we have Newsroom on the platform, really going deep and going obscure. There's so much from Turner Classic Movies and even some selections of new criteria that we have. It's really about figuring out that right time and that right moment to give you something you might not have known you were looking for. But again, hopefully it's delightful.

If I could just wax ecstatic for another minute, our brand promise at HBO Max is that it's handcrafted by humans, but then powered by technology. We realize that there is nothing we can do in any UI, any recommendation engine--no snipe, no badge, no sizzle--that'll be as powerful as someone you trust saying, "Hey, check this thing out." For that reason, we started with user profiles on the platform over time. You're going to see that user profile feature becoming more robust. You will see elements of humans curating content, not just for everyone. Like if you jump on the platform right now, you'll probably see a guest curation by Selena Gomez and a few other stars that we have imagined playing that out and finding a space where, because video is inherently a social experience, HBO Max will start to reflect that more and both the UX as well as the recommendations. That's where we think it'll start to get magical.

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