Charter Fires Up Digitalsmiths’ Recommendation Engine

Digitalsmiths, the personalized video search and recommendations unit of TiVo, said Charter Communications has begun to deploy its platform on the MSO’s TV Everywhere mobile app, and plans to extend access to additional platforms in the months ahead.

Under the deal, Charter is rolling out Digitalsmiths’ Seamless Discovery platform to present personalized search and video recommendations on the Charter TV app for iOS and Android devcies, and will offer it on additional platforms and devices, presumably to include set-top boxes, “in the coming months.” Charter is testing a new cloud-based UI for set-tops in employee homes, and intends to offer it in customer homes in select markets by mid-year.

One aim of these new recommendation engines is to present viewers with relevant content on channels that they might not normally tune to. Last week, Nielsen said its latest Advertising & Audience Report found that the average U.S. TV home receives 189 channels, but that the average number of channels tuned per TV home in 2013 was 17.5 – a figure that has remained relatively constant over a six-year span.

Recent evidence shows that recommendations engines can boost that number. Cox Communications, which uses a personalized system from ThinkAnalytics on its Contour guide for set-tops and mobile devices, said it has seen the number of channels viewed per home rise from the 20 to 22 range, to 26 to 29, Steve Necessary, Cox’s vice president of product development, said in a recent interview.

“Charter continues to improve the overall entertainment experience for our customers with modern discovery features that provide relevant content recommendations,” said, Rich DiGeronimo, Charter’s senior vice president, product and strategy. “In addition to improving the customer experience, Digitalsmiths Seamless Discovery’s architecture easily integrates into Charter’s data aggregation systems to power the Charter TV App today, and additional cloud-based user interfaces in the near future,” Rich DiGeronimo, Charter’s SVP, product and strategy, said in a statement.

Ben Weinberger, co-founder of Digitalsmiths, said, “Gone are the days of consumers blindly channel surfing to find something to watch. We enable viewing personalization, where content is finding the consumer,” added Digitalsmiths co-founder Ben Weinberger.

TiVo, whose original deployment deal with Charter Communications has been in limbo, acquired Digitalsmiths earlier this year for $135 million. Digitalsmiths’ announced customers and partners include Time Warner Cable, Cisco Systems, Warner Bros., Paramount, Technicolor, Univision, Roku, Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Sharp, Turner Sports, the National Basketball Association, the PGA, NASCAR, zeebox, i.TV, and Australia’s Foxtel, among others.

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