Minerva touts sports highlight app for operators

Minerva Networks offers a white-label, cloud pay TV service – YourTV Now — for network operators who provide video. YourTV Now does video encoding and transcoding as well as time-shifting for restart, catch-up and pause, along with video recommendations and other streaming services. YourTV Now can be integrated with back office support systems as part of a video operator’s user interface.

Today, Minerva announced a new feature of YourTV Now, called Smart Highlights.

The new service creates sports highlight reels, which viewers can customize for themselves to a certain degree.

Matt Cuson, VP of marketing for Minerva, said video recognition technology generates metadata from games. “We pull that metadata with timestamps on it, then we take our recording of the game with time-stamps and we blend them,” said Cuson. “We prioritize which plays are most interesting.”

Users can then request highlights to play based on criteria such as what type of play it was, player name, or just simply the top highlights of a game in a summary based on how much time the viewer wants to watch.

“The metadata is indexed by all those parameters,” said Cuson. “We present a UI and there are menu selections. When you open the Highlights, it gives you options of things you want to watch. We build the customized play lists.”

Cuson added, “For the pro teams that have for years been collecting statistics and have metadata on plays – there’s a lot of money to support that.”

RELATED: YouTube passes Facebook as go-to for sports highlights: survey

A new report from Ring Digital finds that social media is still king for sports videos highlights. But the popular destinations have shifted dramatically. YouTube and Instagram have risen, while Facebook has declined. Ring Digital’s survey also suggests that social media has grown in popularity as the primary destination selected by 44% of respondents for sports highlights, a gain of 10 percentage points over 2017. 

Since Ring Digital’s previous survey, TV network apps gained four percentage points, with 28% of respondents calling them a go-to source.

Asked if Minerva considered YouTube its competitor, Cuson said, “Any source of video is a potential reason to cut the cord. In that sense, yes, it is a competitor. One of the things operators need is to keep their subscribers inside their app. This is about adding more value to the app so it’s less compelling to leave the operator’s on-demand or live environment.”

Non-sports highlights

In addition to its Smart Highlights app, Minerva is also experimenting with highlights of non-sports content. It recently worked with another technology company, Metaliquid, to create a highlight reel of the vice presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence.

Minerva and Metaliquid trained algorithms to parse dialog, use facial recognition and look for keywords in order to tag elements of the debate video. It produced a highlight reel. But it doesn’t yet have a commercial product for non-sports highlights.