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The 90-second dilemma - How to win TV customers with localised images

Localised metadata images, EPG and metadata services displaying Disney's Lion King


TV Operators are facing complex challenges in their attempt to understand user cues, to respond and react accordingly. Due to an overwhelming diversity in user demands, scoring an easy win can seem unattainable, especially accentuated by a lack of insights into the viewers’ pains and desires. On the one hand, TV platforms are aggregating and displaying staggering numbers of movies and shows in their attempt to best unveil their content and resonate with an extensive audience, while on the other hand, the paradox of choice is driving users who are coming up against an abundance of options to the bridge of exhaustion and frustration. What you probably hope to hear is - “yes, there is a segment-size solution that inherently responds to individual needs”. Guess what? That is just about right, and we are here to show you how, and why.

The strategy to lay down the groundwork needed for your platform’s success is obtainable. It all comes down to Your-Visual-Universe, just as simple as that. Experts in this field agree: “If the platform doesn’t capture a viewer’s attention within 90 seconds, that person will lose interest and move on to another activity,” says Nick Nelson, Netflix’s global manager of creative services in an interview with Fast Company‘s Elizabeth Segran. It can sound dramatic, but this is in fact great news as you have it in your own hands. “Artwork is not only the biggest influencer for a user’s decision about what to watch, but it also maintained a rate of 82% of their focus while continuing browsing”. Impactful change, effortless implementation - Simply.TV can help you as a streaming service or a TV platform to get all of that and more.

When looking at the users’ visual experience, there are several contributing factors to viewership decision making. In about 90 seconds, your platform has to deliver recognisable, meaningful and emotion-triggering content displayed via impeccable artwork. Defining impeccable artwork is debatably subjective, but we learned that just as few insights as the operating market and overall targeted audience (e.g. grown-ups vs kids) can already lead the way into answering easily predictable visual expectations. To sum up, your visual focus should be on:

  1. Content recognisability - Avoid getting your users confused, prime your audience by giving them a sense of familiarity

  2. Content meaningfulness - how is your audience benefiting from your content? Is it a sense of growth by watching something they can learn from, or a sense of community by diving deep into local content?

  3. Emotional triggers - connect your users to the content they love, get their hearts racing with excitement when scrolling through your visual universe

There is one element that will instantly cross-check all of the above-mentioned points: language. When is English as a global language seizing to satisfy user needs in the TV landscape, and why is it important? The answer is: as soon as your non-native English-speaking user is opening their browser. According to Common Sense Advisory, 65% prefer content in their native language - even if it’s of poor quality and 73% are more likely to choose products and services in their native language. Better yet, with Simply.TV you get localised content, without compromising on quality. To conclude, localised language visuals ensure that:

  • The content is instantly recognised, there is a language point of reference;

  • The more localised the content, the more meaningful it gets: from childhood nostalgia to recognisable celebrities, your users interact with meaning-rich content in an instant;

  • Inevitably, should the above-mentioned points be checked, your audience will instantly feel emotionally triggered by the established connection with the content at hand.

Metadata support for TV platform decision making model

So here you have it, our gift to you is wrapped and ready to be delivered. But can it really be that easy?

Success leaves clues - Netflix is the number one streaming platform used worldwide for a reason. What Netflix excels at is understanding and predicting user demands and expectations, and their strategy is no longer a secret. “We also saw that users spend an average of 1.8 seconds considering each title they were presented with while on Netflix,” Nelson wrote. “We were surprised how much impact an image had on a member finding great content, and how little time we had to capture their interest.” The key element to your strategy is now understanding the following elements:

  • Visual quality is king and it consists of rule-of-thumb elements such as aspect ratio, image quality, logo size, aesthetic composition, but is most importantly focused on the capacity to ignite interest (streamlined via content localisation)

  • Some markets are more sensitive to localised content than others. A good example is the contrast between German content vs Finnish content. While on the Finnish market, most US content will maintain their original English title treatment, the Germans prefer adding a localised logo adjustment.

  • Age segmentation is key in setting your priorities straight. Younger viewers will take priority in terms of content localisation - and this is happening across all different non-English native territories, without exception.

Localised images metadata, advanced discovery for kids metadata in Finnish, German and English compared to adult metadata

Is the shift towards localised images the only element to a successful user experience? No, but it is definitely setting you up for a solid start. Passing the 90 seconds milestone is an important accomplishment - no kidding: we know it, Netflix knows it, and now you know it too. What can we do for you? Simply.TV can help you get through your initial challenge, and from there onwards, our wide range of metadata products and services can support you in designing a platform that will keep your users on the edge of their seats. From grouping your to-be-implemented beautiful localised images into content carousels (collections or content universes) to linking unlimited data assets for smooth navigation, our team is prepared to start building with you the best interface the TV industry has yet seen.


Just like Netflix, we fell in love with our customers, not our product. Over time, our product will change as we are constantly improving and innovating, but our obsession to over-deliver and meet our customers’ needs never will. Join us today and learn how we can take your platform’s visual universe to the next level.

Get in touch today,


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