Voice-enabled TV
Feb 23, 2022
5 MIN READ

5 Ways Voice AI Creates New Possibilities for Media Companies

Voice assistants are already making users’ lives easier, more efficient, and faster. Searches that would otherwise take several steps to complete or require users to switch between devices can be completed seamlessly through a single voice command. The ease of use and improved functionality with voice crafts exceptional user experiences that foster increased brand loyalty, evangelism, reviews, and even revenue. 

The ubiquity of voice assistants and the benefits to users and companies have made their way to the media industry where a variety of companies, including Netflix, are realizing the many possibilities for increased functionality and even monetization through voice AI.

According to a study by the National Research Group, the top media-related uses for voice assistants are: 

  • Listening to music 
  • Controlling the TV 
  • Opening a channel or streaming service
  • Playing a TV show or movie
  • Getting a TV show or movie recommendation 

Voice assistants excel at finding and bringing up content quickly and easily and extend the functionality of the device by allowing users to do more, faster than they could through typing, swiping, and searching manually. 

Voice assistants particularly shine when the user is far away from the device, their hands are occupied, or it would be otherwise inconvenient to make selections manually, such as having to use small arrow keys to type. From media apps on smartphones to voice-enabled televisions, voice assistants create many new possibilities for how users can interact with their devices and how brands can offer superior customer service. 

Here are 5 ways voice assistants improve functionality for media devices by creating new use cases: 

  1. TV operations
  2. Voice ads and monetization
  3. Content discovery and search
  4. Eliminating context switching
  5. Integrating with smart home technology

1. TV use cases expand with voice

TV manufacturers are continuously updating set and remote designs to create the most seamless, efficient, and accessible experience possible for their viewers. First, there were remotes and improved settings, then smart TVs with personalized settings, and now, voice assistants are delivering the best, frictionless TV watching experiences. 

While many people still use voice assistants for only the most basic commands, the current voice AI technology available can already provide conversational experiences. A prime example is the query, “What did they say?” Without a voice interface, the only way to determine what was said would be to pause, rewind, and turn on closed captions. The process is so frustrating and tedious that some platform vendors have even added automatic captions when you rewind because they’re so difficult to find. Instead, with voice, it can be achieved in a single step.

Without a voice interface, the only way to determine what was said would be to pause, rewind, and turn on closed captions.

Other queries possible with conversational voice assistants include: 

  • What’s on at 8 pm tonight? 
  • Record tomorrow’s episode of The Tonight Show. 
  • Add Stranger Things to my watch list.
  • Go to minute 22. 

If a consumer uses a basic remote for these commands, it would require multiple types, swipes, or buttons to reach the desired outcome. Voice assistants reduce irritation by expanding what is possible for users to achieve quickly, easily, and hands-free. With the improved functionality, brands will see an increase in positive reviews, brand loyalty, and even revenue. 

Want to learn more about how voice assistants improve TV’s functionality? Check out the following video: 

2. Voice ads and monetization

Voice ads and voice commerce opportunities that bring value to the user, also open up possibilities for television manufacturers. Without a conversational voice interface, a TV doesn’t have the capabilities to monetize the user experience. If a user wants to order a pizza or have popcorn and snacks delivered from the store while watching a movie, they would have to use a completely different device, which they may or may not do, depending on the proximity of the device. More importantly, they may not think of ordering food without a prompt reminding them that it’s a possibility.

A TV without a conversational voice interface doesn’t have the capabilities to monetize the user experience.

With a voice-enabled TV, viewers can receive suggestions and recommendations and make a purchase in a seamless, friction-free environment. Monetization and voice ads create more opportunities for media companies and TV manufacturers to drive real revenue while delivering value to users through helpful suggestions.

3. Content discovery and search through voice

Search and filtering are common pain points for users of media devices, from voice-enabled TVs to entertainment apps. Often, there is a large, complex catalog of content that users need to navigate through. Voice assistants reduce pain points by eliminating the multiple taps, types, or swipes required to find the desired content. 

Voice assistants reduce pain points by eliminating the multiple taps, types, or swipes required to find the desired content. 

Voice AI’s advanced filtering capabilities make searching through large volumes of content easy and fast. Instead of having to select multiple filters, scroll through irrelevant searches, or enter in text via tiny arrow keys, users can simply say something like, 

  • “Show me LGBTQ shows.” 
  • “Play a workout playlist.”

Voice assistants reduce the tediousness of searching through a vast amount of content on either a small screen or with minuscule buttons. Content that could get buried in a sea of unrelated results can be easily and quickly be found through a conversational interface, and users can search for what they want—even if their hands are otherwise occupied.

4. Eliminating context switching with voice assistants

When consumers use media devices, whether a TV or an app, their goal is to be immersed in the experience and entertained. While listening to music or watching TV, users are otherwise engaged and don’t want to context switch to search for a new song or movie. 

Context switching, or changing your mental control settings, happens when you quickly switch from one task to the next. For example, watching TV and then having to use a remote, listening to music, then having to navigate a screen, or posing for a picture, then having to scroll through filters. It removes the user from the experience and divides their focus. If they’re actively doing another activity while enjoying the content, such as cooking, cleaning, or dancing, then that’s an additional level of context switching and interruption that occurs. 

With a voice assistant, users can simply speak naturally and conversationally what they want while still keeping their attention on enjoying the content. 

A query as simple as “Play the next song” would otherwise require users to unlock their phone, navigate to the app, and press the next button. With a voice assistant, users can simply speak naturally and conversationally what they want while still keeping their attention on enjoying the content, which will result in users interacting with the device longer and with less frustration.

5. Integrating with smart home technology

While traditional TVs are limited to streaming content, TVs enabled with voice AI can go beyond simply delivering content by integrating with smart home technology to become the central hub. Users wouldn’t have to switch devices or go to different apps to access their thermostat, blinds, lights, sprinklers, or home appliances. Using an AI-enabled smart TV, consumers would be able to achieve control over all their smart home devices by simply using their voice. 

TVs are often positioned in a main focal point of the house that is frequented most often, making them the perfect one-stop location to access smart home technology around the house. Users could easily close the blinds and turn down the lights when watching a show without having to get up or switch devices. Voice-enabled TVs open the door for many possibilities of what users can access and control. 

Users could easily close the blinds and turn down the lights when watching a show without having to get up or switch devices. 

Voice assistants create many opportunities for what users can achieve through media devices, including improved TV functionalities, voice ads and monetization, content discovery and search, eliminating context switching, and integrating with smart home technology. Many leading media companies are already voice-enabling their devices for superior customer experiences. Don’t get left behind the competition and consider all the benefits of voice AI technology. 

At SoundHound Inc., we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

Kristen is a content writer with a passion for storytelling and marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephew.

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