How Research Intern Gang Wu Enhanced Our Video Recommendations Solution

Research intern Gang Wu in front of his office at Adobe

With Adobe Primetime Recommendations, we’ve pioneered an experience where OTT and TV Everywhere viewers can look at the screen, see something they want to watch, and immediately start watching it.

To make this experience a reality, we leveraged the talents of people all throughout our organization, including Gang Wu, a research intern. Wu has worked at Adobe every summer for the past four years while he pursues a Ph.D focused on matrix completion.

This week, published an interview with Wu about his work in enhancing the ability of Adobe Primetime Recommendations to predict which shows a viewer is going to enjoy watching the most. The interview covered how the initial idea came about, the testing of the idea, and what Wu will be working on next.

Here are the key highlights:

    • While cleaning and structuring data for Adobe Primetime Recommendations, Wu came up with the idea that more information could be brought to bear in deciding which videos to recommend. Wu modified an algorithm to leverage information like the user’s device, the content, the language of the video, and more. In tests, Wu found that using the context versus not using the context could improve prediction accuracy by up to 20%.
    • After positive results with an Adobe Marketing Cloud customer, the Adobe Primetime team implemented Wu’s contextual improvements into the core product.
    • Now, Wu is working on a way for Adobe Primetime Recommendations to automatically identify other signals among the detailed session information collected by Adobe Analytics. Wu says, “In the future, we want to make our algorithm capable of automatically picking the information that gets used.”

Be sure to check out the full interview at To learn more about Adobe Primetime TVSDK and the additional benefits that it has beyond personalization, check out the product page.

Hurdles to a 5-Star TV Everywhere App Review

Millions of people use TV Everywhere apps on iOS devices every day. Yet no TV Everywhere app has cracked the code to a 5-star rating in Apple’s App Store. For instance, the top 10 TV Everywhere iOS apps have ratings that range between 2 and 4.5 on a 5-point scale.

To identify how to get these ratings up, Adobe conducted an informal qualitative review of iOS TV Everywhere apps powered by Adobe authentication. The review was based on over 4,000 user reviews posted to Apple’s App Store between January 2015 and August 2016. It identified common pain points that users have with respect to ads, performance, usability, and login.

The infographic below shows how 80% of reviews mentioned a problem with ads. This research aligns with new survey data from Adobe, which reveals the most disliked attributes of online video ads and how to improve the video ad experience.

% of App Store Reviews Referencing Each Type of Pain Point
User reviews express dissatisfaction with ads, performance, usability, and login

The infographic also shows that 70% mentioned a problem with performance, 40% mentioned a problem with usability, and 25% mentioned a problem with login. If a TV Everywhere app provider can optimize the ad experience while minimizing these other pain points, it can significantly increase the likelihood that new reviews will be 5-star reviews.

Ads, performance, usability, and login are just the broad categories of pain points. You can get detailed insights into the specific complaints that users have within these categories in Adobe Primetime’s online report, “Insights into TVE Apps.”

Here’s a short sampling of the user reviews included in the report:

One episode, which I watched in four slices, required me to go through roughly 22 ads.”

Every time a commercial comes on it plays perfectly. When the show comes back on it skips, lags, fast forwards, reverses, buffers just in time for the next commercial.”

No way to resume if you have to stop?!?!?!”

I have to login after every time I open the app and after every crash. I’ve logged in more than I’ve been able to watch.”

Overall, the “Insights into TVE Apps” report highlights the need for further research into the user experience across all TVE apps as well as within each app individually. It also empowers TVE app providers with the knowledge they need to begin to address these pain points and receive better reviews from users.

To learn more about how to provide a seamless login experience, visit the product page for Adobe Primetime authentication.

Survey Reveals How to Optimize the Video Ad Experience

Adobe has released a new report about consumer perceptions of advertising based on survey responses from over 1,000 US consumers titled “Advertising Demand Report 2016 – North America.” It reports a wealth of insights into video advertising and how publishers can optimize the video ad experience. Among the findings:

  • 34% of US consumers prefer seeing ads over paying for content
  • 25% of US consumers don’t worry about video ads because their adblocker removes them
  • Consumers are annoyed by video ads that they can’t control and that play for too long
  • The amount of online video advertising that consumers are willing to accept is lower than traditional TV standards at 3.5 minutes of ads per 30 minutes of content in the US
  • Publishers can make the ad experience better in a number of ways

There is bad news and good news in this data for publishers.

The bad news is that there are attributes of online video ads that upset users to the point of blocking video ads completely. Consumers don’t like the inability to skip video ads, or video ads on webpages that start automatically, or video ads that run too long. Long ad breaks especially annoy younger Millennials in the US, ages 18–24, among whom 58% say that ad length is a problem.

Survey data shows the most annoying attributes of online video adsThe good news is that publishers have a great amount of control over the ad experience including the control to improve it. In particular, consumers want shorter and more relevant ads that are delivered less frequently.

Survey data shows 5 ways to make video ads better

Ad technology absolutely can enable the ad experience that consumers want. To make ad breaks shorter, publishers can adjust the length of ad breaks and the number of ads within each break for different audience segments. For instance, publishers can deliver shorter ad breaks to younger users and longer ad breaks for everyone else. Publishers can use frequency capping to ensure that viewers see each video ad just once or twice. Publishers can also empower relevant advertising with precise targeting technology and dynamic ad insertion.

Technology empowers such great flexibility in the ad experience that it really pushes the question of what to do back to executive teams. There are revenue implications to delivering the optimal user experience. And, there are churn implications to achieving optimal revenue. This is one of those times where a metric like lifetime value of a subscriber could be very useful.

To learn more about how Adobe Primetime empowers an optimal ad experience, read our product page on dynamic ad insertion.

TV Everywhere is Coming Back to the Living Room

A couple watches TV Everywhere in their living room

When our favorite shows began migrating off of TV sets and onto screens like our smartphones, much of the initial reaction focused around consumption on-the-go. Mobile formed the basis of the “TV Everywhere” (TVE) term, as we envisioned a world where people watched TV on the train to work.

Despite the fact that television is embracing multiscreen, the living room TV set is how most viewers watch today. Adobe’s TV Everywhere report for Q2 2016 showed that TV connected devices (TVCDs) have become staples within households for TVE consumption. When we looked at TVE viewing and the change in time spent by device for instance, TVCDs grew 149% year-over-year (YoY), topping browsers, Android and iOS.

Online sales for TVCDs also grew 143% YoY, where we see strong demand for subscription services helping contribute to the growth. The findings in this report showed that through the large number of consumers embracing connected devices within their homes, TVE has returned to the living room.

In an environment where consumers demand reliable, high-quality video experiences across screens, connected devices present a major opportunity for media companies to deliver premium viewing that’s personalized to the individual. The technology should remain invisible to the user, but the experience should aim to delight.

Today at IBC, we announced new capabilities in Adobe Primetime that will help deliver on these points. Media companies will now be able to deliver premium experiences across connected devices that are personalized and buffer-free.

Content also needs to be effectively monetized while ensuring that playback does not suffer. As an industry-first, Adobe is introducing live-linear ad replacement across every screen. As the scale and demands for streaming become increasingly larger, media companies can now seamlessly replace broadcast TV commercials with dynamically targeted ads. Data points ranging from device type and audience behavioral characteristics to Nielsen segments and psychographic data can all be leveraged so audiences get relevant, personalized ads.

The new dynamic ad insertion capabilities deliver on a hybrid approach of both server-side (in the cloud) and client-side (across devices) ad insertion for live and on-demand streaming. When there are millions of people tuning in to an event, ad insertion becomes a huge technological hurdle; this approach helps to prevent hiccups. The new capabilities in Adobe Primetime assist in delivering a consistently high quality and personalized user experience designed to generate higher CPMs.

To read up on all the latest capabilities of Adobe Primetime, visit our website.

Watch: Video Shows How to Improve Online TV with Relevant Recommendations

A familiar refrain from my childhood was, “I’m bored. There’s nothing on TV.”

Of course, there were shows on TV, shows that didn’t fit my tastes in that moment. And that was a bad viewer experience.

The ideal experience is one where a viewer can look at the screen, see something to watch, and start watching.

Adobe Primetime Recommendations makes this ideal experience possible for over-the-top (OTT) and TV Everywhere (TVE) video services.

Get to know the ins and outs of our recommendations solution in this video:

OTT and TVE providers have a number of reasons to be excited about Adobe Primetime Recommendations.

  1. It recommends content to new users, who don’t yet have a viewing history. This is achieved by using other existing contextual data sources to inform recommendations.
  2. The recommendations get even better as users establish a viewing history. As new data builds on existing data, the solution uses built-in A/B testing to keep video recommendations current to viewers’ latest preferences.
  3. Recommended videos play instantly. The solution caches recommended videos in advance so that when they’re selected for playback, viewers don’t experience a delay.

Through features like these, Adobe Primetime Recommendations can increase viewer engagement with an OTT or TVE service by up to 30%.

To learn more about Adobe Primetime and the additional benefits that it has beyond personalization, visit our website.

Comcast’s Commitment to TV Everywhere on the Comcast Voices Blog

You’ve already heard from us that “serious attention is required to grow TV Everywhere adoption from 17% to 70%.”

A headline on the Comcast Voices blog about instant, seamless TV EverywhereOne company that’s giving it serious attention is Comcast.

The Comcast Voices blog recently published an insightful update about Comcast’s commitment to TV Everywhere by Matt Strauss. Strauss is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Video Services for Comcast Cable and serves as a co-chair on CTAM’s TV Everywhere steering committee.

Here are a few highlights from the update:

  • More than 40% of Comcast’s double-play customers are using TV Everywhere every month.
  • Comcast is working with industry partners, including Adobe, to support “a new, universal, scalable solution” for TV Everywhere that’s facilitated by home based authentication and single sign on.
  • This enhancement will “bring TV Everywhere to the next level.”

Be sure to read the whole article on the Comcast Voices blog.

Why VR Was a Hot Topic at the SEAT 2016 Conference

When a friend of mine watched basketball in virtual reality (VR) for the first time, it made him cry. It immersed him into the sport he’s loved since boyhood.

A screenshot of an article in Adweek about Adobe Primetime's virtual cinema capabilities

So, it’s not surprising that VR would be a hot topic at SEAT 2016, a conference that’s attended by leaders in professional and collegiate sports who are in the position to distribute VR content and make more guys like my friend shed tears of joy.

If you’re exploring how to distribute your premium sports content to VR users, get in touch with Adobe Primetime for a demo of our virtual cinema capabilities.

As reported in Adweek, we are “extending features for digital rights management playback and ad-insertion capabilities into virtual reality environments while also introducing virtual reality analytics to help media companies better understand what people are looking at and engaging with in VR.”

Feeling new to VR video?

Get a detailed overview of video viewing on VR and AR headsets in our white paper titled “Capitalizing on Viewer’s Hunger for Virtual and Augmented Reality.” And, read about the 5 hurdles to creating and distributing content in VR.

Growing TV Everywhere Adoption to 70%, Part 4: Enhancing Content Discovery

A hand reaches for a screen to discover content available via TV Everywhere.

Has anyone ever asked you “What’s on TV Everywhere tonight?” Probably not, because it’s a hard question to answer. There are simply not enough easy ways for pay-TV subscribers to explore and be alerted to what they can access via TV Everywhere.

As a result, further innovation in the area of content discovery would be welcome within and across TV Everywhere sites and apps. In fact, TV Everywhere can grow to reach 70% of pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2017 if pay-TV providers improve content discovery, increase consumer awareness and reduce sign-in friction for TV Everywhere viewers.

The current state of content discovery for TV Everywhere viewers

Most of the current methods for discovering TV Everywhere content leave room for improvement. Here’s a few of the most popular methods and their limitations.

  1. Browsing or searching TV Everywhere apps and sites
    Consumers can browse or search within the apps and sites provided by their MVPD or by TV programmers. Often, this method of content discovery doesn’t surface as much of the TVE catalog as the subscriber has access to. For example, a TV programmer’s app will only surface its own content. This isn’t optimal because it forces TV Everywhere viewers to go from app to app and site to site until they find something to watch.
  2. Using third-party services like Yahoo Video Guide, Yidio, or Molotov
    Consumers can create an account with services like Yahoo Video Guide or Yidio in order to get customized recommendations and email alerts about all their favorite TV programming across OTT and TV Everywhere services. Consumers in France will have a third option with Molotov, which begins service on July 11. These content discovery services could eventually provide the ideal experience for consumers. However, they’re currently falling short of the ideal because they’re asking consumers to install another app just for recommendations. The ideal consumer experience would be one app for both recommendations and playback.
  3. Using the interfaces of connected TV devices
    Makers of connected TV devices are also providing innovative content discovery experiences that put TV Everywhere content side-by-side with OTT content. For instance, Apple TV lets users search across multiple apps at the same time with Siri and will soon allow users to access any TV Everywhere app in the search results after providing pay-TV credentials just once. The only downside for consumers with these experiences is that they each only work on one device, a connected TV device. And connected TV devices only make up 23% of TV Everywhere authentications, which means these devices can’t provide a ubiquitous solution to content discovery.

The content discovery obstacles for TV Everywhere

Bottom line, every interface to TV Everywhere needs improvement. This includes all the “pull interfaces” where viewers go to search and browse for content. It also includes all the “push interfaces” where viewers passively receive recommendations.

Here’s some minimum requirements for pull interfaces:

  • Every site and app needs search and browse functionality.
  • Every site and app should personalize the browse functionality for logged-in viewers.
  • Viewers should be able to easily tell the difference between full-episodes and short-form content.
  • Viewers should be able to filter out all the results that they don’t have access to.
  • Viewers should easily be able to see metadata about each movie or program.

Here’s some minimum requirements for push interfaces:

  • Viewers should be able to sign up for personalized email recommendations.
  • Viewers should have access to other ways, besides email, to receive notifications of new content. For instance, the social media accounts of MVPDs, networks, programmers, shows, actors, and actresses could all be used to alert fans to shows they’re likely to be interested in.

One way to quickly enhance your content discovery capabilities is with Adobe Primetime Recommendations. This solution uses machine learning to intelligently surface data-driven, personalized video recommendations to your viewers, which they can play back instantly.

A bright future for content discovery

Competition and innovation in the area of content discovery will eventually correct for today’s limitations. Every player in the pay-TV industry will be a part of making the deep catalog of TV Everywhere content available to viewers. In addition, social networks will play a larger role in content discovery.

Moving seamlessly from awareness to content discovery to sign in

This information about content discovery completes my series on the three critical stages in the consumer’s TV Everywhere journey. Specifically, the ideal TV Everywhere journey is one where viewers:

  1. Know about TV Everywhere and the fact that it gives them access to premium content across hundreds of sites and apps.
  2. Discover content across these hundreds of sites and apps.
  3. Play the TV Everywhere content they’ve found without being slowed down by cumbersome sign in requirements.

The pay-TV industry has a lot to gain by optimizing these stages. They can increase the amount of time that viewers spend with their content, increase the loyalty that pay-TV subscribers feel toward the pay-TV brands that they engage with, and decrease churn.

New TVE Video Viewing Patterns Emerge in Q1 2016 Digital Video Benchmark Report

Adobe Digital Index’s latest Digital Video Benchmark Report shows new TV Everywhere (TVE) consumption trends, including a remarkable similarity between video viewing patterns from Q1 2016 and previous quarters.

For instance, in past quarters we’ve seen that:

  • TVE video viewing continues to rise

In Q1 2016, TVE video viewing grew 58% QoQ and 107% YoY. In the prior quarter, video viewing grew 29% QoQ and 102% YoY.



  • Authentications on TV connected devices continues to rise

In Q1 2016, TV connected devices (i.e. Apple TV, Roku, gaming consoles) accounted for 23% of all TVE authentications, representing a 15% growth YoY. In the prior quarter, TV connected devices accounted for 21% of all TVE authentications, representing a 31% growth YoY.


As of Q1 2016, we now see solid evidence that:

  • TVE viewers are not as “on-the-go” as originally thought

71% of all TVE viewers watched from one location in March 2016. And, this trend is nearly the same on mobile devices where 72% of mobile TVE viewers watched from one location.



  • Multiple devices are used when content is watched from only one location

In aggregate, single-location viewers watched 43% of their content on smartphones, 38% from desktops, and 19% from TV connected devices or gaming consoles in March 2016.


For more insights like these, access a full copy of the Q1 2016 Digital Video Benchmark Report.

Adobe and Apple Working Together to Advance the TV Everywhere User Experience

We’re pleased to announce today that we’re working closely with Apple to improve consumer adoption of TV Everywhere (TVE) and address key issues preventing TV Everywhere from reaching its full potential.

Apple announced today at its Worldwide Developers Conference a set of new authentication APIs in iOS and tvOS that enable Single Sign On (SSO) for TVE on Apple devices. Apple’s new authentication APIs will allow users to sign in using their pay-TV credentials, and once signed in, they will not have to sign in again as they’re moving from one TVE app to another.

Apple has also enhanced the user experience on Apple TV by moving to a single screen authentication process. Instead of seeing a registration code and using a laptop to authenticate, users will now be able to enter their username and passwords directly on the Apple TV screen.

Adobe is working to incorporate these new APIs into all Adobe Primetime authentication SDKs, ensuring efficient adoption by programmers. Adobe Primetime is the market leader in TV Everywhere, powering authentication for 95% of broadcaster and cable network sites and apps in North America today.

Adobe will continue to work with programmers, MVPDs, device manufacturers and other partners to make TV Everywhere a seamless, enjoyable user experience, and let consumers access content just as easily as they do today on TVs.