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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 25, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Rovi Picks Up Veveo in Eight-figure Deal for Better Analytics

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

The field of analytics overall is becoming an increasingly important one, as businesses look for more information about products, services, and how to improve these in such a fashion that users will continue to pay for same. Television is no different, and perhaps even more dependent on analytics tools to capture the attention of an increasingly fickle audience with much more in the way of options than ever before. To that end, Rovi—a company that handles data licenses related to television guides—picked up Veveo, a firm that deals with search and analytics, in an impressive eight-figure deal.

Rovi, according to word from executive vice president John Moakley, offered Veveo $69 million total--$62 million in cash outright and up to $7 million more when a set of established targets are met—for the company, which in turn is set to provide Rovi with a stack of new tools to help drive its analytics efforts as well as its search functions, a natural fit for a company that works with television guides. Rovi will have plenty of room to put such technology to use, including measuring the impact of subscriber offers on company performance, and how well promotions and advertising does beyond the standard Nielsen numbers.

Rovi moved into the audience management system after dropping a content provision arm, in which it offered digital downloads of television shows and even some movies, so the company can be said to understand the audience concept in both directions. Rovi's line of offerings has already proven popular with companies putting said offerings to work; Rovi's language software is proving valuable for companies that use it to let viewers verbally request certain content, and America Movil SAB recently turned to Rovi for cloud services in search and recommendations. Even Microsoft's vaunted new Xbox One turns to Rovi for TV data, and Facebook (News - Alert) was spotted getting involved for links to movies and television shows.

Understanding an audience is a great way to provide just what it is the audience wants. When a property can provide that which an audience wants to see, it's likely to keep said audience, and be able to keep said audience interested even with the presence of comparatively intrusive advertising, the kind that television pretty much requires to operate effectively. It's becoming increasingly difficult to offer up that kind of television these days, as the various online options work against television's handicaps. Online offerings can provide users an unparalleled amount of control over the time of viewing, and in some cases like Netflix, can offer that control for one price per month and without the need to insert commercials throughout the proceedings like Hulu (News - Alert) Plus. Still, an episode of Hulu Plus television commonly turns in fewer commercials than its broadcast equivalent, so that's an advantage over the competition. In order to better protect itself, broadcast and cable channels need to provide a superior value, and discovery of new content is one of the biggest problems facing all television these days. Finding just the show to watch amid heaps of content in general is no small task, and having better search tools is a great step, one that Rovi seems to be taking with its acquisition of Veveo.

Only time will tell just how it all turns out, but it could be that broadcast television is about to get a powerful new ally in the form of Rovi and its analytics tools.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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