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How OTT Discovery and Recommendation Changed in 2020

Learn more about OTT recommendation and discovery at Streaming Media East.

See complete videos and other highlights from Streaming Media West Connect on Streaming Media's YouTube channel.

Read the complete transcript of this video:

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Obviously HBO Max doesn't really have the problem of alerting people that they exist. People know HBO exists. It's one of the most recognizable brands in the world. But Jon, let's turn to you and talk about how consumers find OTT services. As I said on Roku alone, there's 14,000. Do you think we're entering the era of super-aggregators, or at least services that will help us find the content that we have either subscribed to, or that is available to us on various services? How do you see search, discovery, and recommendation happening now--different, perhaps, than what it was six months ago?

Jon Giegengack: I think that the need for aggregation among consumers is growing. We talked about how the average person now is using almost five different providers, and because that's the average across everyone, that means that there are lots of people using that many who aren't necessarily early adopters of technology in general, or really comfortable with using lots of different inputs or lots of different menus. We ask people, "What makes you choose one provider over another?" One of the things we find has the biggest impact is simplicity. So, simplicity in finding new shows, simplicity in finding the next thing to watch when I'm done. I do think that aggregators like Amazon and Roku, but even traditional cable companies have the ability to take content in lots of different sources and put it in one place where people can find it.

We find that consumers who, for example, have integrated Netflix or Hulu with their cable TV on-demand menus even once then tend to log into Netflix or Hulu or whatever it is through their set-top box most often thereafter. And they're also more likely to be satisfied with their cable service and less likely to cut the cord in the future. So there really is the ability for platforms that can offer that aggregation to make the whole TV experience a lot easier to manage for people. Consumers are really excited about all the options that they have, but it's created a first-world problem for many of trying to get the most out of all of them in a succinct way.

Peter Wharton: Jon, can I ask you a question about that, though? Do you think those aggregators, when they do that, are trusted? Because I know like when I see this and I see all the things I aggregated, I don't always feel that they're actually giving me a good recommendation engine versus promoting something they want me to watch over top of the other things they're aggregating. I think that the bigger challenge is, who is your trusted curation, you know? I would rather trust a really good reviewer on a newspaper perhaps than a recommendation engine sometimes.

Jon Giegengack: Yeah, people don't put a lot of trust in recommendation engines. Word of mouth is the biggest way that people say they find out about new shows. But it makes a huge difference if that word of mouth comes from someone that they know versus something that could be perceived as an ad or actually is an ad. And you're right that people are pretty jaded about that. We've seen Netflix originals when we first started tracking this stuff back when Lilyhammer (which mostly people don't remember), and when House of Cards was the first big one that really drew people's attention, and there weren't that many Netflix originals. Then, recommending a Netflix original really had a big impact on people. And people still think that Netflix is one of the best sources for original programming. But now that there's a whole row of Netflix originals, when you log in, the idea that somehow this is being recommended, especially for me, because there's been some thought put into it, is fading. And people are noticing that they get served Netflix originals first, regardless of whether those might fall into their very specific niche preference for the kinds of shows they like.

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