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Zone TV Uses A.I. to Program 14 Linear-Style OTT Channels

Zone TV working to bring ‘digital-first’ fare to MVPD set-tops 10/02/2017 11:56 AM Eastern

Zone TV said it has developed and launched 14 linear-style genre-focused channels that can be delivered OTT to set-top boxes and programmed using A.I. techniques.

The new offering fits into Zone TV’s new mix of what it calls “Dynamic Channels” that are curated by real people but augmented with A.I.-based programming that aims to provide a level of personalization.

Zone TV, which has acquired and licensed about 70,000 shows, said a dozen of its first 14 dynamic channels are segmented by age group and genre to “super-serve” consumers interested in topics such as food, gaming, specialty sports and kids content.

The initial slate of dynamic channel from Zone TV include Mancave; Great Outdoors; Motors: Level Up (eSports); Game On (specialty sports); Inform (interviews and documentaries); Brainiac; Expression (dance, comedy, music); Foodies; Styler; Hangout; Playground; My·zone (personalized based on a user’s favorite shows from all Zone TV channels); Zone·tv (a programming sampler of Zone TV’s dynamic channel package).

Zone TV’s plan is to offer those channels within the electronic program guide of MVPD partners.

Zone TV hasn’t announced any launches for its dynamc channels, but it has previously done work with MVPDs such as AT&T/DirecTV, Comcast, CenturyLink, Telus, Bell Canada, and Frontier Communications.

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Last week, Zone TV introduced an array of 28 subscription VOD channels that will sell for $4 to $6 per month and complement its strategy around dynamic, linear-style channels.

Integrating OTT services at the set-top level is rapidly becoming table stakes for MVPDs, as they look to shore up their role as a primary content aggregator, because it’s being driven by a mix of competitive forces, including the emergence of virtual MVPDs, Jeff Weber, Zone TV’s CEO, said in a recent interview.

Those forces are “pressuring the satellite and cable operators to move quicker than they might have moved in the past,” he said. “I see it [the integration of OTT services] very clearly as a must-have. If they don’t do anything, they do find themselves in very deep trouble.”

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