Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): ContentWise, ITV, "Emmerdale," Maria Menounos, AfterBuzz TV

--New Version of ContentWise Recommendation Engine Offers A/B Testing, Social Component
--ITV Launches Facebook Pages for "Emmerdale" Characters
--Actress Maria Menounos Launches Social-TV Site, AfterBuzz TV

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • Milan-based ContentWise, which offers an eponymous cross-media, multiscreen content discovery engine for IPTV, OTT, VOD, and linear TV, contacted [itvt] Wednesday to let us know that it will launch a new version (4.2) of the engine at the IP&TV World Forum later this month. According to the company, the new version will add A/B testing for operators and a social-network data-processing and presentation component. "ContentWise provides operators with a robust, scalable content discovery solution that incorporates detailed analytics," the company states in its press materials. "The software is designed for easy integration with IPTV services and, because of its cross-media and metadata processing capabilities, is ideally suited to providers that want to add recommendations to media stores that aggregate multiple media domains--such as digital TV, ebooks, games, music, and apps--even with low-quality metadata input. A/B testing is a new capability designed to help digital media operators test which approaches are successful with users by comparing a control group with a test group. Operators use A/B testing to measure the actual impact of each ContentWise business rule or combination of rules on any specific user segments or demographic in a real-life environment. With this method, operators can measure average revenue per user (ARPU), views per user, average time using the service, how much 'lift' in consumption or revenue a specific recommendation or set of recommendations or business rule produces, and other performance indicators that would be impossible to measure without comparing a control group with a test group. The new social component is a social network connector that enables the recommendation system to map and match operator content intelligently with external data sources, like Facebook. The external data source, Facebook or other networks, can be used both to improve the contextual information presented to the user and to enrich the catalog with additional metadata. It also ingests the 'likes' of a user's Facebook friends to show what content that user's friends like--recommendations that appear as an overlay/enhancement to the programming guide, music store, or app catalog. In addition, the information is used to provide quickly and seamlessly 'cold-start' recommendations to new users who have not previously rated any catalog content."
  • UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, has set up Facebook pages for four characters on its long-running soap opera, "Emmerdale." "Wouldn't it be great if you could have access to your favorite characters' innermost thoughts and private conversations?" the broadcaster asks in its promotional materials. "Well now you can! Amy, Alex, Victoria and Aaron's new flame Ed have just opened their own Facebook pages. You can follow their shenanigans here: Amy's Facebook page, Alex's Facebook page, Victoria's Facebook page, Ed's Facebook page. See what they're up to, share their stories and join in their conversations. And if you think that's good, you've seen nothing yet--this is just the tip of the iceberg! Stay tuned as we introduce more characters, more stories and more new and exciting ways to get involved in the world of 'Emmerdale.'"
  • Actress and TV host Maria Menounos has launched--and apparently bootstrapped--a social-TV Web site called AfterBuzz TV, that invites viewers of various popular TV shows to interact with "after-show" webcasts either via chatrooms or by calling in. "The AfterBuzz TV Network is a new media platform, created by 'Extra' host Maria Menounos and filmmaker Keven Undergaro, designated to producing live and recorded 'after-show' webcast and podcast content for TV series of all kinds," Afterbuzz TV explains on its Web site. "A veritable 'post-game' show for television shows, when TV fans finish watching episodes from select series, they can go to to watch or listen to an after-show where hosts, an eclectic and knowledgeable mix of celebrities, personalities and industry professionals, break down that night's episode, take calls from fans and interview guests. The platform is open to all TV series from 'American Horror Story' to 'American Idol' to 'Vampire Diaries' to 'Mad Men' to the 'Jersey Shore.' For decades, sports fans have been treated to post-game wrap up shows after watching games. Thanks to AfterBuzz TV, at long last, TV fans can do the same--and they have." Variety's Andrew Wallenstein has more.
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