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Jinni’s Swisscom win pushes content discovery to a different level

Content discovery, whether for linear TV, VOD or other OTT content, is a very hot button topic among operators looking to maximize the incremental revenue they can earn from broad subscriber adoption of the products. But the problem, as anyone who regularly scrolls through the less-than enthralling gridlocked EPGs many operators still use, is that, well, it’s a hassle. One-line descriptions, a hackneyed paragraph of information and a couple of cast members and, if you’re lucky, a brief preview roll. (A personal aside, I’m on the road for the next five weeks… if there’s a market out there in desperate need of improvement its content discovery in hotel rooms.)

There are a number of solutions, some of them very good, from a handful of vendors in the space.

Swisscom this week tapped an Israeli company, Jinni, to supply its 670,000 IPTV subscribers with a guide that allows them to self-select multiple channels on the telco’s IPTV offering based on their mood.

Enjoy dark comedies with a romantic twist? Jinni will supply you with a list of channels and content you’re likely to enjoy. Feeling a little blue? Tell Jinni that you’re a tad down and are looking for a “dark romantic comedy,” maybe mixed in with some “action adventure” and a “surprise ending,” and that’s what Jinni will deliver, CEO Yosi Glick told me last month.

“We are creating a lingua franca for TV,” he said. “We reverse engineer the intentions of the script writer and director,” giving users an easier tool with which to discover content.

The Jinni solution will take your likes and dislikes and build a grid of recommended channels for you to scan, and it can be social, too, tying you into your friends’ recommendations and personal tastes (which may be worrisome, knowing some of my friends’ tastes). It uses meta date, like most other services, but also looks to select movie review sites for more general terms. Where traditional meta data may contain “Tom Cruise rides a motorcycle,” as part of the meta data for “Top Gun,” it might not deliver on “conflicted hero.” Glick says that’s what Jinni specializes in.

But Jinni, and others like it, still has a ways to go.

Glick acknowledges that OTT discovery is a tough nut to crack… for everyone. But, crack it will, and that’ll further complicate the competitive landscape for operators… and likely heat up the discussion about a la carte. After all, as a customer, if I know I want ONLY these channels, and I’ll pay a premium for them, isn’t there a market for that?

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