Rovi’s Fan TV Adds Voice Search

Content discovery platform capable of searching 100,000-plus sources

Users of the Rovi-owned content discovery platform Fan TV will now have the ability to search for content via voice, with the conversational voice feature the first geared exclusively toward finding entertainment, the company announced May 16.

Fan TV — an evolution of the Fanhattan service that Rovi acquired in late 2014 — is available as a free app for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices (as well as online), and works by allowing users to search for content (via title, cast and more), and then listing service providers, availability and pricing. Several service providers — including Verizon, Dish and Cablevision — currently use Fan TV as part of their content discovery services.

The new voice search further reduces the headaches consumers encounter trying to find the content they want, according to Chris Thun, VP of product and marketing for Fan TV.

“The problem we’ve been trying to solve since 2011, and it’s behind the context of everything we do, is with an ever-increasing set of options in terms of where you can discover and watch movies and shows as a consumer … it’s getting increasingly complex to know where to look,” he said.

“When you sit down on Friday night, do you begin with Netflix? Do you begin with your pay TV operator? There are a number of screens you can watch on, and an almost infinite array of services you can choose to begin with. That’s why we built the product that we did. We didn’t think you should start with the services. You should start with the shows you identify with, discover what you want to watch, and then we’ll tell you the options … in terms of where you can watch it.”

The new Fan TV voice search option draws on Rovi’s Knowledge Graph technology, which searches more than 100,000 sources of entertainment content to generate 100 million smart tags, 20 million key words, and sorts it all into 545,000 sub genres. The voice search promises to understand user context, to deliver the most relevant results, Thun added.

If a film is currently in theaters or otherwise unavailable, the Fan TV voice search will prompt users to add a film or TV series to a watch-list and will let users know when it’s available on new services.

“It takes the complexity away from the entertainment discovery process,” Thun said. “Since our inception that’s been our basic philosophy, and today’s launch is no exception. We’ve always had our eye on voice as the holy grail on where we wanted to go.”