Media Distillery to power Swisscom ad-free replay product

Thursday, April 25th, 2024 
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Swisscom Completes Double Media Distillery Rollout to Power Ad-free TV and Superior Replay UX

  • Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading diversified telecom service provider, has gone live with AI-powered Ad Break Distillery™ solution from Media Distillery to power its Replay Comfort ad-free entertainment product
  • Operator sees significantly higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from Replay Comfort subscribers, whose no-commercials experience is enabled by Media Distillery’s capacity to identify time and ad markers in broadcasts
  • User feedback for the service is extremely positive
  • Swisscom has also gone live with EPG Correction Distillery™ to enhance user experience (UX) on its 50 most popular blue TV channels for the entire TV service customer base of 1.6 million households

AMSTERDAM — Media Distillery, the leading AI technology provider in video UX optimisation, announces that Swisscom (SMI: SCMN) Switzerland’s leading diversified telecom service provider, has completed deployment of Ad Break Distillery™ to power its novel Replay Comfort ad-free product offering which enables viewers to avoid commercials in Replay.

Swisscom provides ad-free TV experience with Ad Break Distillery - PR image

The operator has also gone live with EPG Correction Distillery™ to enhance user experience (UX) on its 50 most popular channels for the entire customer base of 1.6 million households subscribing to blue TV super-aggregated service. The deployment of this market-leading Media Distillery solution supersedes a platform which Swisscom initially developed in-house.

Both award-winning solutions are part of Media Distillery’s Time Marker Suite, which harnesses AI and ML to automatically analyse broadcasts across multiple channels in real-time to identify the beginning and end of programmes, and also of the ad breaks within them. This capability allows operators of video platforms to enhance their catch-up and replay experiences across the entire lineup of content without being dependent on individual broadcaster data.

Ad Break Distillery to power no-ad experience

Ad Break Distillery powers Swisscom’s novel Replay Comfort ad-free product offering which enables viewers to avoid commercials in Replay. Priced at CHF 6.90, Replay Comfort ad-free was created to appeal to viewers who enjoy Replay TV but would rather see content uninterrupted by ads, and are willing to pay a premium for it.

Philipp Wuethrich, Head of TV and Smart Products Backend Software Development at Swisscom, says: “What we have seen from our early initiatives in providing ad-free experiences is that customers’ Net Promoter Score (NPS) for the ad-free product is significantly higher than for other products. That’s important for us and that’s what binds the customer to our platform. With Media Distillery’s Ad Break Distillery, we can be confident that this much-appreciated seamless ad-free experience can be enjoyed by more customers.”

While some broadcasters include ad markers in their transmissions, most do not, and this is where Media Distillery’s Ad Break Distillery comes in.

With Ad Break Distillery, Swisscom can identify the placement of ads, and enable skipping for the myriad channels which don’t provide ad break markers. So Swisscom can provide a consistent user experience across its Replay TV channel line-up, adding more user value to the Replay Comfort option.

Swisscom has seen significantly higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS) reported from Replay Comfort subscribers, clear testament to the value viewers bestow on the ad-free experience.

Higher NPS and more revenues

Wuethrich shares: “We see that the conversion level, in other words using the markers to skip advertisements, is extremely high for Replay Comfort users; once they take up the package, they rely on it heavily.”

“Thanks to Media Distillery technology we’re creating a proper, fully ad-free experience for our customers, enabling us to bundle a high-quality product which embraces our customers’ best-loved channels,” he said. “We want to ensure that if a customer pays us for an ad-free product that they’re getting that seamless experience, across all their favorite channels. Media Distillery is enabling us to do this.”

Ad Break Distillery automatically detects the start and stop of advertisement breaks in broadcast video, regardless of whether they are mid-programme or interstitial. Unlike other solutions in the market that use fingerprint technology and depend on ads being known in advance, Ad Break Distillery doesn’t require prior knowledge of individual ads, so also works with those previously unseen.

The resulting ad break markers are provided via an API to Swisscom, which processes them such that viewers subscribed to Replay Comfort enjoy ad-free entertainment.

Regulation came into force in Switzerland in October 2022 which brought an end to TV customers’ option to skip adverts on some channels distributed by Swisscom and other operators. The move came as the result of a newly established industry agreement and legal framework for catch-up and replay TV in the country.

EPG Correction for VOD-like User Experiences in Catch-up and Replay

EPG Correction, meanwhile, is giving Swisscom customers harmonious viewing because it ensures that EPG programme schedule information is accurate.

Linear broadcasts don’t always align with the EPG. Without correction, on replay or catch-up, the viewer might experience the end of the programme being cut off, or they might see the end of the preceding show.

Following this Media Distillery deployment, Swisscom subscribers now benefit from accurate EPG information, and can select and enjoy catch-up and replay TV without missing one moment of their desired content.

“We’ve been working with Media Distillery for a while, and recognise its technology to enhance the user experience,” said Wuethrich.

“Customer-centric focus is in our DNA; that’s what drives us,” he added. “What we are now able to do is ensure that whatever product our subscriber is enjoying, whether with ads or ad-free, they’re getting the best possible user experience.”

“We are extremely proud that our technology is enhancing Swisscom’s TV user experience,” said Roland Sars, CEO of Media Distillery. “Swisscom stands at the forefront of innovation in the European industry, and its abiding commitment to delighting customers is widely acknowledged; it’s an honor to be Swisscom’s partner.”

Links: Media Distillery; Swisscom