Freesat has revealed the latest version of Showcase, the curated recommendations service available to users of Freetime set-tops and IDTVs. It can also be found on the platform’s supporting apps for mobile and tablet.
Showcase is one of the most popular parts of the Freetime service and is the fastest growing element within the Freesat mobile app. Freesat says one in six programmes that viewers watch or record on the mobile app come from editorial recommendations in Showcase.
Matthew Huntingdon, chief technology officer, Freesat told Broadband TV News that having begun by increasing the number of pictures, this became overwhelming, so categories were introduced so people could move between individual genres. Freesat has taken the UI concept previously seen on tablets and applied it to the TV versions.
“Originally the way Showcase worked was to have six pics for the day from a channel when you went into it, then you could either go into the future by going right, and if you wanted to see on demand you’d go to the left,” said Huntingdon. “What we’ve done now is to bring out the user pics far more based on what’s been done on iOS, where as soon as you go in you see pics from both on demand and linear and we’ve also got a halo pick to show it’s our top pick of the day.”
The categories are dynamic, but it’s possible to introduce occasional categories for events like sports, Christmas, etc.
Individual picks are chosen by Freesat’s own editorial team.
“We know that Showcase users are hyper-users of television,” said Freesat’s managing director Emma Scott. “The suggestibility that we provide here, particularly if it’s a wildcard or left-field pick does drive viewing. We’re currently comparing that to algorithmic.”
While linear viewing to Freesat has remained constant, on demand traffic has changed in character, 20% coming in through the backwards TV guide rather than direct to the player.
As of Q1 2014 Freetime accounted for 41% of all Freesat set-top box sales with Freesat as a whole on 1.84 million households.