Fox Upgrades Video App to Add Personalized Show Recommendations

Broadcaster licenses technology from U.K.-based ThinkAnalytics for new Apple iOS app

Fox Upgrades Video App

Fox Broadcasting has released a new version of its Fox Now video app for Apple devices that suggests shows users might want to watch based on their preferences and viewing history — a feature designed to keep people watching more video.

The 2.0 release of the broadcaster’s iOS app, published last week, lets anyone watch recent episodes of series including “24: Live Another Day,” “Cosmos” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the day after they air. The new user interface, aimed at letting users find and watch shows faster, is based on the iOS 7 design.

For the recommendations feature, Fox licensed technology from U.K.-based ThinkAnalytics, which heretofore has focused on pay-TV operators. Using the ThinkAnalytics engine, the Fox Now app determines that if you, say, have watched a lot of episodes of “The Simpsons,” you’re likely a big animation fan and it will then suggest recent eps of shows like “American Dad” or “Bob’s Burgers.”

“We’re personalizing multiple aspects of the experience,” said Neel Ketkar, Fox Broadcasting’s senior director of platform products.

Sony Pictures Television’s Crackle also employs the ThinkAnalytics recommendations system.

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With the upgrade, Fox is touting expanded “TV Everywhere” access available with Fox Now, providing even more current and past programming. In the past year, the number of subscribers able to access additional episodes and content via the service has more than doubled with the addition of Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision and Bright House Networks; those are in addition to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Suddenlink and several smaller operators.

DirecTV and Charter are the biggest providers still absent from Fox’s TVE lineup. Dish Network lets subs access Fox content on the web but not on the broadcaster’s mobile apps.

In addition, Fox Now 2.0 for iOS has added a continuous-playback feature, which starts the next episode in a series automatically after a user has watched the previous episode. The app also now allows third-party ad network integration, a capability requested by marketers that want to dynamically control their creative.

Fox has not disclosed how many users it has for Fox Now. In addition to iPad and iPhone, Fox Now is available on devices include Android phones and tablets, Roku set-tops, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles and Samsung Smart TVs.

According to Fox, show preferences have vared greatly by platform. For example, over the past month, “24” and “Cosmos” were the most popular shows on mobile. But on Microsoft’s Xbox One, animated comedies “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” held the top positions.