Media Distillery, understanding everything inside video with unique AI-based technology

Read the full interview with our CEO, Roland Sars, on Media Distillery's history

How would you describe Media Distillery in a single tweet?

Understand everything inside video with the unique Media Distillery’s AI-based technology. It will help you, media companies, brands and users, to discover relevant video content faster with an ultimate user experience.

How did it all start and why?

Founded in the Netherlands and headquartered in Amsterdam, it all started while Joost de Wit, one of the founders, was still working at TNO. He investigated in a business case, contacted potential customers and participated in start-up program New Venture. When Geert Vos joined by the end of 2013, they started building the initial version of the product until the creation in 2014 of Media Distillery and the successful launch of the product with multiple media monitoring companies. While the first round of investment was closed, I join Media Distillery in 2016 to help the growth of the company and concentrate on sales, marketing, strategy.

Then we explored new opportunities, especially within the TV industry and understood that there was huge need from the TV operators to improve the user experiences. We have started to build up a team of passionate and brilliant minds: a blend of academic scientists, geeky developers and experienced entrepreneurs. All of them share the urge to work with exciting, new technologies, and deliver value to our customers. Now more than 30 distillers work hard every day to revolutionize the video and media industry. Why distillers? Our co-founders, both fans of Whisky, decided to name their new company Media Distillery because we are taking all the nice elements from Media (video) and making a very tasty product, such as Whisky.

What have you achieved so far?

In the initial years the company was focused solely on media monitoring; that is providing companies, brands and organisations with information about when they have been mentioned on radio and TV, and send a real-time alert to them. About three years ago when I joined Media Distillery, we also started to look at other areas, and the broadcast and TV area seemed quite relevant for our technology.

There is a lot of video content created and distributed on a daily basis in this industry, and we can add the most value when we process a lot of data. At the moment we do more than 20,000 hours of video on a daily basis. These companies, mostly TV operators, have limited understanding of the content they distribute such as: when the programme starts, when commercial breaks start, what topics are being talked about, and which people are actually visible in TV programmes. With personalisation, recommendation and search being more and more important, these metadata are quite relevant.

So far we have been able to create solutions such as EPG Correction and Snackable Content to enable the traditional TV operators to innovate and change the way that they see content and what they do with it, while the media industry is changing drastically with new OTT players entering the market, including Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. Since then, Media Distillery works with customers around the globe including Telenet, VTR and LexisNexis successfully enriching their user experiences. This also means that we needed to increase our resources, and the team has grown tremendously in the past three years. When I joined, we were with 3 people and we did not have any employees yet. Now the team is about 30 people. We hired a lot, mostly on the technology side, but we also grew the team in terms of sales and marketing. It has been an exciting time for Media Distillery, and hopefully many more to go!

What do you plan to achieve in the next 2-3 years?

We are planning to expand partnership with international TV players. As well as this, we will be focusing on in-video search and consumer profiling capabilities.

In-video search solution enables TV operators to enhance the consumer experience in their replay environments and provide the perfect VOD user experience. TV operators need to be able to attract (potential) consumers to their video content. Linear television is losing ground to VoD, but the replay environments of TV operators have not yet been optimised and are not user-friendly. As a result, software companies, which have a strong focus on UI and consumer experience, are taking away consumers from traditional TV operators. For example, Netflix already provides for a smooth transition between episodes. It is time for TV operators to follow their lead. By offering an optimal consumer experience in their inline replay environment, our aim is to provide an entire suite of products for the Next Generation Replay Experience which will enable TV operators to compete with the software companies that are conquering the media industry.

Our technology can also be used for advanced advertising, with the advertising ecosystem now moving from broadcasters to TV operators. The TV operator is dynamically inserting ads based on their demographic knowledge about the user, but they don’t know what exact content is watched by their audience. So when you match these two data types – demographics and rich metadata – you have all the information to create a great personal profile of a user or household. With this advertising profile, advertisers have the opportunity to better target their audience, which makes advertising more relevant and means brands are willing to pay more. It is a new revenue-generating business for TV operators, so we are investing a lot of effort into this development. It’s a way in which we can help them make these business cases more useful.

Through scalable AI-driven insights generated through millions of metadata, TV service providers who build the user profiles of tomorrow will lead the way in reshaping what valuable consumer behaviour actually means.

For more information 

Read the interview also here

January 29, 2020

January 29, 2020