Below is an interview given to Michiel Willems, Senior Reporter – Europe at SNL.com. Rapid Innovation, Modular design, Social TV, and Mobile Video are the opportunities we tap there.
It is a crowded market out there, competition is killing, so how does Orange stand out? How does it generate ideas for TV innovation and new TV experiences?
It’s been some time now since competition has increased not only with new Telco competitors in our landmark, but also with companies coming from other parts of the world and from different industries like the Internet, with different product cycles. One thing which is not adding to clarity is that these competitors can be partners in some cases. This is a rapidly evolving world of coopetition.
Orange has a straigthforward strategy leveraging its assets, its ‘killer-structure’: networks, employees, customers, and improving the overall relationship between them through the cement of innovation.
How to accelerate innovation in a large company is my focus on Rapid Innovation. There are four principles I keep in mind to head creative projects:
- preserving agility and autonomy of the innovation team;
- guiding team members through a ‘creative tension’ framework, a mix of stimulating goals and proven ‘theory and practice’ skills (including ‘design thinking’ and ‘rugby approach’): innovation is a discipline.
- Aligning concepts and probes with innovation group strategy, across shared portfolio and permanent cooperation;
- Shaping deliverables in modular design mould, unleashing collaboration, letting others build value on top of your creative platform.
Where good ideas come from asks Steven Johnson? Creativity emerges in a culture of diversity, and ‘architect of the unkwown’ is a necessary profile in the innovation team.
In the field of new TV experiences, insights are relevant to capture anywhere in the planet: we have to be some kind of scouts, and connect the dots!
All countries have different challenging ways to embrace new trends and technologies: Social TV, Smart TV, 2nd screen, linear viewing versus on-demand, multiscreen roaming, TV commerce and ad, OTT and cutting the cord offerings,… Orange international footprint provides precious feedback in this matter.
Blended TV is a social buzz platform scrolling social conversations related to specific entertainement topics: TV programmes, Catch-up TV, Movies in theater, VoD, sports competitions.
Social buzz is a familiar data-flow faciliitating content discovery: it helps the viewer finding and choosing faster an entertainment content, and then simply interacting with it and with other viewers.
Blended TV makes available in real-time 3 types of information to consumer-facing applications: 1)buzz level 2)social comments and Tweets with personalized filters 3)sentiment analysis, tags keywords, ratings.
We used ‘modular design‘ approach to create Blended TV, and it comes with a cloud API: applications can display social buzz in their environment on any connected screen, TV, mobile, tablet.
‘Modular design‘ truely accelerated the innovation path: launched at Paris Bercy tennis tournament, a competition broadcasted by Orange Sports TV in November 2011, Blended TV was further roll-out many times in 2012-2013: ‘Programme TV d’Orange’, Orange second-screen ap; ‘Orange CinéBuzz’; ‘Orange VodBuzz’; ‘Roland-Garros’, official tournament app; ‘UEFA live player ratings’ on Orange Buzz; ‘Orange Buzz TV’ on IPTV Live Box Play; ‘Augmented TV’, 2nd screen app for TV Serie ‘Plus Belle La Vie’.
How do Orange subscribers benefit from the social buzz around TV shows and content?
While we watch, we Tweet! Last Super Bowl just beat a new record. Besides, even more users find value in ‘listening’ to the social conversation. But Live Tweet is not always easy to read, and social networks can be quite noisy.
Orange Blended TV makes comprehensible social buzz, turning content discovery to a quick and pleasurable experience, and providing ‘a ticket to talk’ to viewers through tags and ratings, enhancing their engagement.
Designed as a platform accessible to others, Blended TV managed to be embedded in a dozen of Social TV and second screen services in less than a year. Thus, Blended TV brings social buzz at your door, in the end-user familiar environement without installing a new app, and over multiple screens: mobile, TV, tablet, PC.
How does Orange stand out in terms of social TV? What innovative new models has it come up with?
Our DNA is made up of helping everyone to communicate, interact and entertain more! Therefore, TV and Social media encounters made spark fly at Orange, resulting in exciting innovation initiatives in three complementary directions – the TV Guide, Social gaming, and Social TV intelligence that we mentioned with Blended TV.
‘Programme TV d’Orange’ is the next-generation TV Guide, used to discover what’s on TV, view all of the available channels listings, get plenty of real-time information on programmes, and share on Twitter and Facebook. The viewer can play a video-on-demand title, and connect to the Orange TV mobile app to watch Live TV
‘TV Check’ is the French leader for check-in experience and social gaming around TV content : it enables TV viewers to check in to the shows that they are watching, and earn points and badges as a reward. The application encourages users to discover new content that their community shares and also to share their favourite programmes with their friends and community.
My goal in 2013 is to design a compelling multiscreen TV experience for Orange mobile customers, bridging the gap between out of home and in home.
As Smart Phones have become the center of our media use, I wish to turn mobile and tablet into a pivotal presence for the consumer, over any screen, leveraging our high-speed networks assets like 4G-LTE. Looking for making life easier for our customers, we will involve additional technologies like NFC.
When it comes to social TV and viewer experience, I have a dream-app in mind which would enable viewers to discover, watch, control, listen to social buzz and interact in one single place, on his favourite mobile/tablet screen.
I have another expectation for 2013, which is to commit into Social and Frugale Innovation in Africa, by mean of ‘modular design’ and collaborative platform through API, and give an hand to the Orange African Social Venture Prize.