Cox exec: Contour UI has increased TV show watching by 40%, channel watching by 20%

CHICAGO--A top executive from Cox Communications said the operator's "Contour" user interface has motivated its customers to watch 40 percent more TV shows and 20 percent more channels. The results are notable considering a wide range of cable operators and set-top box makers are working to improve their user interfaces to help customers more easily find and watch content.

"It's about consumer engagement," said Colleen Langer, SVP of marketing operations for Cox, during a panel discussion here at the INTX trade show.

Langer said that around 25 percent to 30 percent of Cox's Contour users actively use the operator's Contour iPad app. She said around 25 percent of those iPad users also have accessed the company's TV Everywhere app for the iPad.

She said that fully 95 percent of Cox's Contour users are aware of the service's recommendation system, and around two-thirds of Contour users make use of that recommendation system. Finally, she said that two-thirds of the operator's Contour users access the profile portion of the service, which allows users to create personalized preferences different from those of other users in their home.

Cox announced Contour in 2013. The service delivers personalized content to users' TV and tablets and supports up to eight individual profiles, a DVR that lets users record six shows at once, storage for up to 1,000 hours of recorded programming, and the ability to move shows from the iPad app to the TV.

Early last year, Cox said it is deploying Contour to about 40,000 subscriber homes every month. Langer declined to provide the current number of Cox's Contour users.

Langer said Contour was designed based on the results of surveys Cox conducted with its subscribers. The surveys found that the carrier's customers wanted an intuitive and "hip" UI, a powerful DVR, the ability to move content to different screens, and content recommendations.

Of course, Cox isn't the only company working to improve its user interface. Indeed, Comcast during the INTX show here announced the availability of its highly anticipated Xfinity voice remote. Available for free to Comcast subscribers, the device allows users to search tens of thousands of shows and movies on the X1 platform with their voice. Viewers can search for networks, shows and movies; set DVR recordings; get recommendations; navigate Xfinity On Demand and more.

Show coverage: INTX Live 2015

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