Seven Upfront - Databricks AI deal to drive contextual, relevant advertising

By AdNews | 18 October 2023

The Seven Network announced a partnership with Databricks, a leading cloud, data and AI compan, that uses AI to drive contextual, relevant advertising experiences for its audiences.

The alliance with Databricks, announced at Seven's upfront 2024, comes after the launch of Seven’s personalisation engine – built with Amazon Web Services (AWS) – which is delivering customised recommendations and enhanced content discovery to 7plus users.

 “AI has been embedded in our business for the past 18 months. It’s at the heart of our entire user experience on 7plus, powering the personalisation engine we have implemented with AWS," says Seven West Media chief digital officer Gereurd Roberts.

“AI-driven personalisation is live across the entire 7plus ecosystem on every device and every screen. It has redefined the AVOD experience in Australia, putting us on a different level to our competitors and on par with the best global SVOD platforms

“For our viewers, it means a dynamic interface and real-time shelf ordering that serves the most relevant content recommendations, based on their individual viewing behaviour, and importantly, the AI model’s prediction of their future viewing behaviour."

With 13.5 million registered users, 7plus saw its live streaming soar 40% during the 2022-23 financial year and VOD viewing increase 15%.

“We are moving 7plus from being one product for all, with everyone seeing the same thing, to truly being one-to-one," says Roberts.

"Audiences today expect personalised, relevant experiences. When you get this right, they reward you.”

Thanks to Seven’s work with AWS, the personalised content shelves on 7plus have seen a 48% increase in minutes watched over, while the personalised "Trending now" shelf has seen viewer interactions jump three times versus the previous human curation.

“With Databricks, we are extending our ground-breaking implementation of AI beyond the user experience to include the advertiser experience,” says Roberts.

The first phase of Seven’s work with Databricks has been completed, enabling Seven to predict what the audience on 7plus will be over the next seven days, to a level of accuracy of over 91%.

“Through this work, we can tell you today what the next week of audience on 7plus will look like, all the way down to a show level. For our clients, that translates into buying with confidence," says Roberts.

“Phase two of our work with Databricks, which is underway right now, will allow us to not only predict the audience across the next seven days and beyond, but we will also be able to break it down by segment and demographic. You can not only see the audience you want to find, but also the scale with which we can deliver it.”

Phase three will use AI to identify acceptance of ad load by audience segment and dynamically change the size of the ad breaks accordingly.

Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette says Seven wants to be meticulous about the right ad load, and the right type of ad, for the right audience.

“There’s a lot more in play, like using AI not only to serve the ads but to find the most meaningful moment in any show to integrate brands inside the content, in real-time," he says.

“That is how we are using AI: to drive engagement in our content, and to drive engagement with advertising. It’s that combination of user experience and ad experience that we call the customer experience – and we have an absolute focus on both.

“Seven has long been a leader in Australian media and its continued investment in gamechanging technology like AI only reinforces this leadership position,” said Adam Beavis, Vice President and Country Manager for Databricks in ANZ.

“Australian enterprises are doing some phenomenal things with AI, which is only going to strengthen their market positions. Databricks’ lakehouse unifies data, analytics, and AI on a single platform, and it always excites us when we get to help market leaders build AI solutions and derive the insights they need to continue evolving their businesses.”

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