21 APR 2023

Haymi Behar: "The lean-back, traditional TV viewing experience is a valuable asset”

The CMO & CDO at SPI International describes the fundaments and business opportunities behind the company’s latest digital launch, Smart Channels, which performs similarly to traditional linear channels.

21 APR 2023
Haymi Behar

Haymi Behar

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SPI International’s streaming service FilmBox+ launched Smart Channels last February. Smart Channels are specially curated playlists of on-demand content that similarly play back-to-back to traditional linear channels, fully digital and exclusive to the FilmBox+ platform. To describe that development, Señal News spoke with Haymi Behar, CMO & CDO at SPI International.

What business opportunity have you recognized for the launch of SPI's Smart Channels?
“Our analysis of customer behavior data for FilmBox+ indicates that live, linear channels are always among the top 5 most consumed content on the platform, which means that the lean-back, traditional TV viewing experience that the audiences are accustomed to is a valuable asset in the digital landscape. Our findings showed that audiences still value the serendipity of stumbling onto a good movie while channel surfing and linear feeds can be made more accessible and tailored to audiences' preferences when provided through digital platforms.“

What is the strategy behind this new service?
“Smart Channels are specially curated playlists of on-demand content that play back-to-back in a similar fashion to traditional linear channels. These channels are fully digital and exclusive to the FilmBox+ platform. They enable a smooth transition within the app between video-on-demand and live-streaming linear channels. Smart Channels aim to reduce what we call ‘choice fatigue.’ We developed live channels that are cost-effective for the provider, intuitive for the user, enabling them to discover content they enjoy with minimal effort, and attractive for our operator partners to enhance B2B integration with FilmBox+.”

How does this new project revamp the global offer of the FilmBox+ platform?
“Smart Channels enable viewers to discover content that they might otherwise miss by scrolling through a vast library of programming. Now, in addition to our rich catalog of on-demand content, we offer audiences around the world over 200 Smart Channels with curated content across all genres. The offering includes genre-specific channels like FilmBox Kids, FilmBox Comedy, FilmBox Crime, FilmBox Horror, FilmBox Romance, FilmBox Documentary, and more vertical movie channels that broadcast cinema classics by the masters of cinema or from the 1940s and 1950s. Viewers can also access thematic channels dedicated to various lifestyle programming, including water sports and mixed martial arts.

How is SPI integrating AI into its workflow?
“AI has the potential to be a game-changer in the media industry soon, enabling us to work more efficiently and complete our projects faster than ever before. With AI-based dubbing and subtitling, we have been able to streamline our workflow and deliver high-quality content to our viewers in record time. We recently completed an AI-based subtitling project for 309 hours of TV series in under 24 hours. Our product team uses ChatGPT and Notion AI for AI-related tasks. ChatGPT is effective for technical topics, especially in SQL and Python. With ChatGPT, we were able to automate certain tasks that previously took hours, reducing it to just five minutes. Notion AI turns problem descriptions into clear tasks or bug reports, saving time on task writing.”

How do Smart Channels combine curated playlists of on-demand content that display as back-to-back to traditional linear channels?
“Unlike traditional live channels that require a large workload and time to create and maintain, Smart Channels allow content managers to curate lists of available on-demand videos and deploy them as linear channels within minutes from the Content Management System, eliminating the time and resources required for creating a traditional live channel. Once a user selects a Smart Channel, the movie from the automatic EPG resumes playing from where it left off, just like a regular linear channel. Additionally, since all the videos on a Smart Channel are available on-demand within the platform, users can interact with the program through the EPG to add it to their watchlist or start from the beginning. The channels also offer dubbing and subtitling options.”

By Diego Alfagemez