The pandemic underscored the idea that there should be more different ways to drive engagement and improve the viewing experience that aren’t reliant on new content. One solution at the heart of this idea is AI, which holds the potential to boost the user experience in new ways, while also helping with production workflows, pandemic or not.
Having a clear, narrow purpose for your AI investment is important. For example, AI can do many things, but what benefits are you specifically trying to achieve for your streaming service and your viewers?
The cost involved combines with great amounts of money spent to build streaming services. At the same time the profitability is years away. That is why the idea that further investments need to be made into something like AI may not look very appealing, especially considering that the outcome can be difficult to define or quantify.
For today, enhancing the customer experience is the main purpose. Along with the goal of generating new and exciting content, the ultimate aim of streaming services is to offer an experience that keeps viewers engaged, and reduces the risk of them canceling a subscription or turning to another service.
In a PwC survey, viewers noted that some of the top characteristics of a strong user experience were favorite shows being easily accessible (56%), having the ability to watch something at all times (50%), and quickly finding something to watch when users don’t have anything already in mind (42%).
AI can help with achieving these traits if managed correctly, particularly helping to reduce that feeling of emptiness we all get when we finally finish a great show, but no longer have anything new to consume. For example, an algorithm with accurate data can easily identify which person in a household is interested in watching crime dramas based on their previous viewing habits and suggest programming. With this approach, the content the viewer is being directed to doesn’t need to be newly released, as long as it’s new and of interest to that viewer specifically.
For many companies and industries, AI is difficult to measure and estimate whether it’s has an effect. However, despite the fact that it is still a very fresh technology and we have just formed an idea of what it can do for us, there are some ways that streaming services can see if their AI is doing what it’s designed to do.
There are some questions to be answered: when an algorithm suggests to a user a piece of content , are they watching the programming? And more importantly, are they actually sticking with it, or are they quickly giving up on the content to find something else? Are users spending more time with the service and do they more consistently using it?
At the end of the day, if AI systems are supporting the ultimate goal of creating better user experiences, whether that’s through suggested programming for subscribers or streamlining production to get new and exciting content to viewers quickly, then it is clear that a streaming service’s AI investment is paying off.