Operators are increasingly under pressure to deliver a broad array of video services to consumers across devices. Many have begun to offer OTT services packaged within their existing service bundles. However, this can create new challenges in the areas of discovery and navigation of these aggregated services.
is one such operator, and has been exploring best practices for delivering video from diverse sources including its pay-TV service Movistar, content from Canal Plus and online video from Netflix.
Executives at Telefónica are cognizant of the importance of user interface, product design and service quality in this new age of streaming media. They are experimenting with new products and iterating multiple versions before they decide on the ones they want to launch.
Fernando García Calvo, head of TV products at Telefónica, focuses on the Latin American market. He has been a part of Telefónica's team since 1995, and involved with some of the operator's earliest forays into OTT in the region. He is also a valued member of our Video Transformation Advisory Board (VTAB).
He joined Telco Transformation to share recent initiatives at Telefónica in the area of video services user experience.
Telco Transformation: How does Telefónica plan to manage the proliferation of content, especially when it involves multiple vendors? How do you plan to design the interface so that customers can conveniently find their preferred content?
Fernando García Calvo: User experience is the subject of lively discussions among members of the Telefónica management team. We like to believe that user interface design is one of our core strengths. Currently, we are investing considerable effort to analyze customer data and use design principles to define, design and prototype user interfaces. We conduct interviews with customers in their homes and draw insights, such as the cultural influences that affect their natural responses to live programs in front of the TV, about interface design.
We are crafting a new language that helps content consumers navigate a world overflowing with streaming media. Whereas the world of linear programming presented program choices in a tabular form, we are now creating navigation visuals to help discover content by categories and brands. We are working on the design of spaces conspicuously emblematic of content types and brands. The pictorial cataloging of content, including the embedded advanced TV features such as cloud recording, is expected to minimize confusion created by the diversity of options customers currently sort.
TT: What are the challenges you face in designing user interfaces for the new world of on-demand streaming content?
FGC:The key issue is to have users effortlessly acclimatize themselves to the navigation visuals. Conditioned by linear programming, users are prone to look for the familiar patterns they see in TV guides, with a patchwork of libraries of on-demand content and spaces for individual brands. We need creative ways to display multiple libraries of on-demand content and design interfaces for seamless browsing of brand choices.
TT: Telefónica, with its ultra-broadband network, can offer high-quality streaming media, yet Netflix has rated the quality of service by Telefónica as one of the poorest. How do you explain this apparent paradox?
FGC: The metrics that were used to assess the quality of service on Telefónica's network have never been audited. Similar controversies were sparked, in the past, by a comparable methodology used to quantify the quality of service on the Verizon network. It turned out that Verizon could prove that the methodology was slanted and the numbers inaccurate.
TT: How do you use data, including big data, to understand customer behavior, monitor the quality of service and improve the customer experience?
FGC: We are indeed expanding the variety of metrics we use to analyze customer experience and engagement at every step of the client journey. As the number of KPIs increase over time, we expect to be processing big data volumes. We measure, for example, the frequency of access of content, and time spent consuming content, before and after a user interface is implemented.
TT: Churn rates for customers are sensitive to the quality of service, especially with video content. How have churn rates responded to the transformation of the user interface and customer experience?
FGC: Several different variables affect the quality of customer experience. From the perspective of the product team that I led, the relevant metric is a measure of engagement. We track navigation paths, user behavior and some metrics, for example monthly active users and the frequency of usage. A measure of engagement is a composite index, estimated by factoring in all the individual variables. The impact of product quality is isolated by using an advanced model.
— Kishore Jethanandani, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation