Vizio enhances home screen performance, marks engagement for interactive activations

Vizio smart TV home screens are getting a performance enhancement, alongside new custom holiday-themed programming activations meant to drive engagement.

On Wednesday the smart TV maker said it introduced a revamped Vizio Home software update across all current models in its TV lineup.

Speed is part of the equation, with Vizio promising a 2X faster power-on experience as well as quicker navigation when switching between and loading apps. The company said a new left-side navigation and hierarchy sorting makes browsing for content quicker, including more responsive controls. It also touted improved content discovery with faster recommendations and search results for both voice and text.

"Vizio is synonymous with innovation. We are leveraging more than 20 years of TV experience to provide users with value, beyond the initial point of purchase, creating an ever-evolving home entertainment experience," said Steve Yum, VP of Product Management at Vizio, in a statement. "Our commitment to delivering the latest and greatest technology remains unwavering as we introduce the new Vizio Home to users, and we look forward to them experiencing a faster and more responsive platform in the comforts of their homes.”

New custom home screen activations

Vizio is also leveraging recent updates to its home screen for more engaging programming and content discovery opportunities through custom, interactive activations. The latest involves a collection of seasonal programming with a Holiday Greeting Cards activation.

It features expandable greeting cards that have auto-play video links to curated movies, shows, music playlists, DIY projects and cooking specials among others.  The display organizes collections within greeting card categories including, Romance: Under the Mistletoe, Comedy: Laughing all the Way, Free: ‘Tis the Season for Free, Kids & Family: Home for the Holidays, Movies: Snowed in Marathon, and Shows: Bing-mas.

The interactive activations are helping to drive engagement on the smart TV platform, with Vizio citing 2x higher engagement on the Season’s Greeting carousel in its first week than an average carousel.

It’s not Vizio’s first custom home screen execution, as four earlier activations saw an average engagement lift of 5x. That includes a holiday initiative for Halloween, with an October collection that featured 3D-like tombstones encouraging users to discover genres such as kids and families, horror and comedy. Similarly, Vizio said this yielded 5x higher engagement than the same placement average.

Vizio has been leveraging its home screen for advertising revenue, including content marketing opportunities. The executions detailed in last week’s announcement are part of Vizio’s Home Screen Editorial’s programming decisions, which factor in overall relationships with content partners. A spokesperson confirmed to StreamTV Insider these features are available for Vizio clients that purchase home screen units and placements from its M&E teams. All of Vizio’s home screen activations are done in house. 

Work on a home screen effort with a content partner could be seen through an activation with Fox Now.  There, Vizio built a custom home screen campaign with floating LEGO bricks that invited viewers to free episodes of LEGO Masters on its WatchFree+ free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service.  According to Vizio, this generated a 52% higher click-through rate than the average benchmark. It also happened ahead of the Season Four finale of Lego Masters which aired on Fox and was available the next day on Hulu.

“We’re excited to offer Home Screen opportunities that make content search and discovery more enjoyable on Vizio Smart TVs,” said Liz Buhn, VP of Platform & Content Marketing at Vizio, in a statement. “Through close collaboration with our media and entertainment partners, we enhance and elevate the viewing experience for millions. By fostering creativity and innovation, we can create engaging experiences that captivate audiences in new ways.”

Vizio’s worked on other content discovery efforts with partners, including NBCUniversal’s Peacock. It’s also pursued branded content home screen initiatives such as a shoppable holiday-themed series in partnership with Home Depot.

In Q3 the smart TV maker generated $156 million in Platform Plus revenue on the back of 27% year over year quarterly growth in advertising revenue. It’s platform business includes revenue from the WatchFree+ service, sponsorships and other advertising, including on the home screen and distribution. The latest home screen performance enhancements and activations also come as Vizio is exploring the potential to license its TVOS to third-party OEMs.