Cox reports that a recent study of consumer preferences found Cox video subs spent nearly 60% of their viewing time on "convenience" TV content rather than live TV. Over half of respondents said they use streaming video players, and usage is both increasing and extending beyond the primary TV set. Perhaps that’s why the MSO has launched new personalized video service "Contour" s the "first in the U.S. to suggest shows, movies for individuals across TV, tablet, DVR."

The MSO seeks to integrate personal recommendations into a guide that allows up to 8 different user profiles. Initially available on the iPad through the Contour app, users can create a personal playlist with their favorite shows, set DVR recordings from their iPad and start viewing content on the iPad and continue watching on TV with a touch. The app allows access to more than 90 cable channels of live TV and VOD content. In addition, the "my library" feature includes a watch list of selected content and access to individual TV network apps. An Android version of the app is expected by year-end, Steve Necessary, vp, video product development and support, told us. From an MSO’s perspective, the key to a personalized, 2nd-screen experience includes "unique and personal recommendations," "device flexibility," "content breadth," and "location utility," Necessary said. "Consumers want access to content both inside and outside the home… While programming rights play a part in this, we’ve focused on providing as much capability in all locations as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, Cox is working with its brand agencies to launch a campaign on Contour, of which he said consumer education is a critical component. In addition to an overview video about the service, Cox has videos walking customers through recommendation set-up, profile management and app instructions. While Cox worked withThinkAnalytics on the recommendation engine, it partnered with Cisco on the app and guide. Meanwhile, Cox is exploring broadband TV services by trialing flareWatch in Orange County, CA, offering 97 live channels and 30 hours of network DVR storage for $35 a month. The service uses Fanhattan‘s Fan TV set-top. The startup initially launched as a guide solution for streaming services. It later developed its own set-top device, Fan TV, which provides access to streaming services in conjunction with cable or satellite programming. Cox is Fanhattan’s first cable MSO client.

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