IRIS.TV CEO Highlights NAB Show Panel Discussion
Ahead of this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, a special day was set aside to focus on an emerging industry within the television ecosystem. That day was deemed 2nd Screen Sunday. As part of the day-long festivities, panel sessions were held to shine light on different companies and their viewers within the evolving landscape. One such session was entitled Next Gen Living Room: Finding and Viewing Your Content on the Big Screen. The panel consisted of six high level executives, including Field Garthwaite, CEO of IRIS.TV, a big data solutions company focused on delivering personalized recommendation videos. Here, Garthwaite highlights some of the big discussion points and takeaways from the panel …
Tell us about the Next Gen Living Room panel…
Field Garthwaite: The primary focus was content discovery. Ben Weinberger, the CEO of Digitalsmiths, was on the panel. They were just acquired by TiVo and focus on recommendations for the MSO. It was great being next to them because they are the long format version of what IRIS.TV does for short format content. We were also able to further advance our connections in the Roku platform, as well as the Akamai ecosystem. Will Law, Chief Architect of Media at Akamai, was there and we are becoming very well entrenched with Akamai. Then Doug Craig, Vice President of Programing for Roku, was also on the panel, which kicked off some great conversations. We were also on the panel with one of our customers—Thomas Dodson of OVGuide.com. We were able to highlight the results of our technology and Tom really did a lot of the talking for us.
What was the reception from the audience?
FG: We were greatly received by the audience. A lot of the questions were directed at IRIS.TV around what level of increase we often see. For an average publisher out of the box we see a 30% increase in video views, but across the board the average increase is around 50%. I explained that our technology is just like Pandora for video, except we provide our technology to media companies and enable them to input their own editorial, business and sales rules for the recommendations. Then IRIS.TV handles all of the logic and computing to create personalized stream for every viewer.
This audience was primarily a B2B crowd and in it, there are two types of buyers of our technology. There are folks on the business development or sales side, and there are folks on the editorial or technical side. We were positively received when people understood that we provide the tools and enable the publisher to have control, allowing them to prioritize videos that are new, more relevant or that have the highest completion rates. So that was incredibly well received and it is why I think a lot of the discussion following the panel was dedicated to our technology.
Why do you think the moderator, Chuck Parker, put IRIS.TV on the same panel as its customer OVGuide.com?
FG: The reason is we are seeing a shift happening where our technology partners are starting to sell us. This has always been a part of our go-to-market strategy, but we’re just starting to see our technology partners actually sell us directly into their customers. For the rest of the conference I was with many members of Chuck’s team (at Brightcove) training them on how IRIS.TV works, how it increases video views, how that puts more money in their pocket and ultimately, incentivizes them to sell us directly. For us, we’re really starting to see who our primary reseller vendors are going to be and where we will focus our energy from a product standpoint.
What was an interesting topic of conversation on the panel and how did it relate back to IRIS.TV?
FG: Mobile video is growing 70% year-over-year, whereas TV consumption has flat-lined. But if you look at the total hours, viewers and money spent on TV consumption, it’s exponentially larger than mobile. So although mobile is growing, TV is still the behemoth. For IRIS.TV to be successful, our goal is to bolster and be supplementary to the TV model. We are helping it in such a way that we are growing the web and mobile audience for the biggest media companies in the world, while not competing with their traditional TV model.
The other key point is that consumption as we know it has dramatically moved toward these new devices. For example, over 50% of homes now have DVRs. That’s the one piece of TV that’s growing like crazy. Everyone is time-shifting their content on TV, and we know a lot of people are watching web and mobile video, but monetization still isn’t there yet. Our whole play as a company is simply to accelerate the growth of web and mobile video consumption, while cleaning up the data so it’s easier to monetize. That’s going to enable monetization to catch up with consumption, whereas right now consumption is really massive and monetization is trickling in. A key opportunity for us as a company is to be the catalyst that turns the industry from being emerging, to being a real growing market with real money behind it.
What were some of the good takeaways for the panel?
FG: Our partnership with Akamai is becoming much more deeply entrenched. Doug Craig wants to get IRIS.TV embedded in Roku’s system to help all their publishers increase video views. We are much more deeply embedded in the industry than we were six months ago, and things are accelerating rapidly. We are doing a great job in terms of market penetration, having people understand where we fit, what we do and how unique we are in the space. All of this ties back to us becoming the global leaders in video recommendations. We’re well on our way to achieving that market presence and awareness in addition to capturing the sales and building our business.