The entertainment landscape is not what it used to be – and with the industry, the challenges for broadcasters and operators are changing. While linear TV viewership numbers continue to drop especially for younger audiences, VOD, OTT and other forms of digital only content are taking over. Global and local streaming services alike are competing to earn and keep subscribers in a world of increasing fragmentation of sources and devices. To make sure that audiences watch shows, movies and short-form titles on their platform rather than the competition’s, offering and showcasing an extensive content library is not enough anymore. Entertainment service providers need to be proactive in shaping the viewing options for their customers and shorten the evaluation stage for audiences. Not only should user interfaces enable consumers to find what they are looking for with ease, they also need to present engaging new content.
In recent years, more and more focus has been put on refining search and recommendation engines to achieve this goal: by ensuring that viewers automatically receive personalized recommendations for relevant content, providers can increase viewership for their library, overall viewing time on the platform as well as subscriber retention. A successful content discovery ecosystem directly impacts the value subscribers attribute to a service and impacts their decision to remain a subscriber.
The social component of content discovery
Traditionally, recommendation engines would base their suggestions on metadata such as keywords, genres, mood, language and contributors tied to a movie or show. Nowadays, contextual information in conjunction with objective metadata is becoming more important as well. A consumer might want to see different recommendations based on the day, the season, their location or the device they are watching on. Finally, with the majority of relevant audiences being connected through the Internet, one of the most important factors coming into play is the social component. Viewers share their favorite content on Facebook or Twitter, watch trailers or record review videos on YouTube, discuss fan theories on Reddit and rate movies and shows on IMDb. Especially the integration of structured and branded user generated ratings into an entertainment platform gives consumers another avenue to easily discover and choose content they like. At the same time, user ratings improve the credibility of recommendations by representing an additional layer of data to filter available content by.
IMDb: the user opinion
With more than 83 million registered users and above 10 million social followers, audiences rely on IMDb as an authority in the field of ratings and rankings. Launched in 1990, the now Amazon-owned Internet Movie Database is at the forefront of providing relevant ratings – from users for users. While similar websites such as Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes rely solely on an average score out of 100 based on reviews by professional critics, IMDb enables every user to share their opinion. Registered IMDb accounts can rate every released title in the database once and assign a rating between 1 and 10. All individual user votes are then aggregated into a single IMDb rating, the so-called “weighted average” of votes, which takes various filters into account to eliminate attempts of vote stuffing. This ensures that all overall ratings on the IMDb website represent an unbiased average.
Integrating IMDb ratings, trending data and ranking lists based on votes from regular users to the set of rich TV metadata brings an extra layer of content to the metadata set. Thanks to IMDb’s high brand recognition, their ratings are engaging and easy to understand for viewers across the globe and they can strengthen the entertainment service of operator and broadcasters by offering consumers better visibility on content popularity and helping them make the right viewing decisions.
At the end, it is all about finding the right content to watch at every moment. Recommendations are difficult to validate but the audience will stay with the platform that offer the best content and make their life easier.
Franziska Scholz, Strategic Product Manager Content Discovery
Red Bee Media and IMDb
Since 2017, Red Bee Media exclusively offers IMDb ratings as well as trending data connected to our editorially maintained and enriched metadata for TV and movie titles from over 14,000 sources globally. In addition to user-based ratings, this includes IMDb ranking lists based on votes from regular users – be it for the 250 most popular movies, the 250 most popular TV shows or the most popular celebrities. Thanks to IMDb’s high brand recognition, their ratings are engaging and easy to understand for viewers across the globe. Together with IMDb as our partner, we have strengthened the entertainment service of operators and broadcasters in both Europe and the US by offering consumers better visibility on content popularity and helping them make the right viewing decisions.