From Prime Video to Fire TV and Alexa, Amazon is redefining TV. Minerva is a veteran at TV on Amazon’s cloud, yet in some ways we are just getting started and we are very excited about the road ahead. This post outlines our cloud TV vision and begins a longer discussion we’d like to have about opportunities for TV entertainment.
The Amazon Web Services story started in 2004. Sixteen years later, Amazon has not only defined cloud computing but combined that with a strong record on what we might call gadget UX, including the Kindle, Echo and the Fire TV, in addition to a range of powerful AI & ML services like Alexa.
Minerva’s entire platform has been deployed on AWS for years. Our cloud solutions power services to millions of subscribers worldwide. We know how to get our customers up and running very quickly. More importantly, we know how to scale efficiently and precisely, enabling the right amount of infrastructure in direct response to the business need.
But while the nuts and bolts of AWS deployments — getting to market fast, scaling profitably — may be the most important thing we bring to the equation, it’s merely a piece of the puzzle that helps fire the passion around our core mission to make your television service the best place for your subscribers to discover and enjoy the best content (“Best Place for the Best Content”).
So, what are those possibilities?
With so many innovations coming out of Amazon Web Services, it’s useful to lay some stakes in the ground — or themes, as we’ve called them below — on what we’re focused on today and in the near-term when it comes to future of TV innovation.
Theme one: Content Discovery. Amazon’s impact on voice.
It’s difficult to talk about Amazon in any capacity without considering the broad impact of Alexa — and voice control in general — on TV. Combine that with Fire TV’s appeal as a fantastic launch platform — Android-under-the-hood, solid remote control with microphone, incredibly cost effective for consumers — and we’ve already left little room for advanced discussions about using AI, recommendations and A/B testing to drive user experience. So you’ll be hearing more from us on this topic later.
Theme two: Content Delivery
One of the most important elements of video services today has to do with how the manage the entire user experience, from presenting content choices to consumers to the way they preview and consume it. Building seamless, personalized, and bandwidth-optimized experiences means handling specialized content rights restrictions, promotions and previews that need to be locked down to geographic footprints. And at the same time provide highly responsive, performant experiences to a consumer whether they are on the go or in the living room, watching by themselves or opting for family movie night.
We enable all of this with our Policy Resource Manager (PRM). Learn more about the work we’re doing with our customers in tying our PRM together with Amazon’s CloudFront CDN.
Theme three: Social Consumption
The amount of change in society today — particularly due to Covid-19 — is simply impossible to overstate. Our customers know how passionate we feel about bringing people back together. Minerva’s recently introduced Watch Together feature brings back the social, local and communal aspects of TV but with a modern twist.
Of course, a Watch Together experience, especially around sports, is best when it takes advantage of low latency streaming which is also a part of the AWS portfolio.
Theme four: Smart Highlights
Our busy lives and a proliferation of choices are making “appointment TV” more and more rare, with the possible exception of sports. What if we could harness the power of AI to adjust how people watch sports? Turns out Minerva does just that. We call it Smart Highlights. Using machine vision tools that enable us to synchronize pictures with data streams at scale the Minerva service builds intelligent playlists so viewers can watch more, wait less. Minerva’s Smart Highlights is the first of many ways to create hyper-efficient personally customized viewing experience — whether that’s catching-up on the latest news or sports events or simply catching-up to live when you’re late to a game’s start.
Theme five: Monetization
We can’t lose sight of this final element, monetization. The core of monetization, ultimately, is also how much your subscribers and users perceive the price-to-value your experience delivers. And while qualitative surveys like NPS and CSAT scores can help you understand that at the big picture level, nothing is more important for product teams than the collection, crunching, and collating of actual data to understand exactly how your users are consuming your service. And then having the tools to apply that information to update the user experience to increase engagement and improve satisfaction.
Minerva uses AWS RedShift for our content analytics, that help you determine how your customers are using the platform. Advanced analytics and AI services can help you triage and delight customers with predictive offers and high-probability-churn-busters.
In summary, we have an active roadmap to use various elements of those services to power television services that are nothing less than the Best Place for the Best Content.