ZoneTV, Ooyala Partner on Artificial Intelligence TV Venture

Tech partners intent on ‘reshaping TV for tomorrow’ as they build customizable suite of linear channels

Interactive television outfit ZoneTV is partnering with software company Ooyala to tap artificial intelligence to make television viewing more customizable. With an assist from Microsoft Cognitive Services’ Video Indexer, the pair will “automate the curation of content of a first-of-its-kind, customizable suite of linear TV channels.”

It debuts this fall.

ZoneTV has licensed digital content, which it will curate into specialized channels delivered to pay-TV subscribers. These channels will initially appear like any traditional linear channel, but ZoneTV will combine linear, on-demand and customized choices into a new offering called ZoneTV Dynamic Channels. The company’s ability to curate 6,000 hours of videos on the fly creates a “unique and personalized experience for the consumer,” said ZoneTV.

“We’re building the next generation of pay-TV services, so we need next-generation tools. With the combination of Ooyala’s platform and Microsoft Cognitive Services, the ZoneTV Programming Studio delivers an unmatched capability to enhance the TV ecosystem and translates into a one-of-a-kind viewer experience,” said Jeff Weber, CEO of ZoneTV.

The platform automatically extracts and analyzes metadata to identify video genre and content sentiment, pulls topics from speech and text, translates captions into multiple languages and integrates subscriber analytics.

Ooyala’s suite of products includes a premium video platform, a media logistics solution for video production workflows, and an advertising platform for direct and programmatic trading.

“Ooyala puts a premium on collaboration, which is what our Integrated Video Platform solutions are all about,” said Jonathan Huberman, CEO of Ooyala. “To be the bridge bringing Microsoft A.I. innovation to ZoneTV, an exciting North American programmer, is putting us at the center of reshaping TV for tomorrow.”

ZoneTV will utilize Ooyala’s Flex Platform, the company’s customizable solution for video production and distribution workflows, for its end-to-end video workflow for both new specialized channels and VOD assets.

“ZoneTV shows what Microsoft Cognitive Services can do for TV programming. By integrating their content with Microsoft Azure, they can leverage Azure Media Analytics and Ooyala Flex for automated content indexing potentially driving more value for ZoneTV affiliates and subscribers,” said Sudheer Sirivara, general manager of enterprise video at Microsoft Corp.