How have you attempted to become more interactive with your viewers?
We’ve previously talked to focus groups and done surveys that indicate people were looking for guidance on a website. We’d ask the five things people would like from a website: ‘Do you want movie highlights, personalization…?’ They said they’re interested in movie information – as much as you can give – and a schedule.
To understand our consumers better and have more interactivity with them, we decided to do something more personalized, and partially to make it easier for them [to find programs]. With the interactive programming guide on a regular TV set, you only get a week in advance, so we’re finding people are turning more and more to websites to give them a really easy reference to plan their viewing. For quite some time we’ve had the ‘My Schedule’ section on the site, which sends email reminders, but it was a little buried so we’ve brought it up to the top and integrated it with some personalization. Even though we’re not heavily promoting it, our subscribers have figured it out very quickly. It’s close interaction with our customers, but is also something unique we can offer as a premium tool for a premium service.
What are some of the benefits of offering a customized online service?
It’s another tool to help audiences not miss anything, whether they’re viewing it or planning with their PVR. All of us lead increasingly busy lives; it’s like ‘Oh, I missed that show last week,’ or ‘I didn’t know that was on.’ We’re finding an easy way to build something where viewers can go and they know it’s there and they’re not going to miss anything.
There are so many TV channels – viewers want a quick hit of something, but half an hour later they’re still skating around. Our feature gives them more time back out of their day to watch a program rather than look for something to watch.
After roughly a week, what are the results of the redesign so far?
There’s been a 20% increase in the use of the ‘My Schedule’ section, which is a pretty good early indication. This is just phase one: we plan to launch an expanded ‘My Schedule’ soon, and do a more personalized newsletter option where people will have their schedules sent to them.