ThinkAnalytics' Peter DochertyThink recommendation engineers are a fairly recent phenomena? Think again. London-based ThinkAnalytics first deployed its multi-platform personalized recommendation engine in 2006, and today it announced that it has surpassed 70 million licensed viewers across 16 countries, in eight languages.

ThinkAnalytics CTO and founder Peter Docherty said his company uses multiple algorithms to proactively collect personalized viewing information across a range of devices, including set-top boxes, smartphones and tablets. ThinkAnalytics unifies this information across a cable operator’s user interface to provide each family member his or her own viewing recommendations.

In order to recommend video content, you have to understand it across, linear, VOD, over-the-top and mobile platforms, Docherty said. The amount of video content that is available is growing exponentially, which may seem like a good thing until a subscriber has to wade through all of that clutter.

“The users just don’t see the value of the subscription, and adding into that, there are more and more screens available,” Docherty said. “In theory, there’s more content available, but the operators are not able to really show the subscribers the value in the programming that they have to offer. That’s the situation that ThinkAnalytics is solving and helping to solve for the operators. It’s really showing the users that they are getting value for their money, and it drives even more value, as well.”

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While having personalized searches across various platforms and services is a boon to the subscribers, cable operators and other service providers can upsell premium channels, VOD and pay-per-view opportunities based on recommendations. Satisfied customers are more likely to increase their purchases, Docherty said.

Customers are also less likely to churn away into the arms of another service provider if they are happy with their current service.

ThinkAnalytics' recommendation engine can be located in a cable operator’s data center, in a hosted cloud or in its own cloud. It’s integrated with middleware providers such as Nagra and NDS.

Currently, 20 service providers, with three located in North America, are using ThinkAnalytics’ recommendation engine, including BSkyB, Virgin Media, ITV, Telenet and UnityMedia. Recommendations are made in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Turkish and other languages.

“Operators recognize the need to provide a personalized roadmap to highlight the programming value for their subscribers,” said Eddie Young, chairman of ThinkAnalytics. “We deliver more than 70 million viewers with recommendations that bring together metadata, moods and personal viewing habits. Then we integrate it with the user interfaces and deliver those personal recommendations in real time. We do this every day on a massive scale, transacting billions of recommendations on an ongoing basis. This is not a PowerPoint presentation, but real, live production software.”