Reimagining the way we experience TV for Freeview.


Customer Experience Transformation


The way we watch TV has changed since Freeview launched its On Demand platform in 2015. Viewers expect instant access to content, when and where they want it, not when broadcasters decide they should have it. To keep up with with the ever-changing needs of the modern TV viewer, we helped Freeview reinvent the Smart TV experience for all New Zealanders.

The Challenge

On Demand and streaming services allow viewers to binge on their favourite shows, watch new episodes as soon as they come out, and watch on any device, wherever they happen to be. In New Zealand, the number of people using streaming services rose by a whopping 57% between 2016 and 2017.

Yet Live TV remains popular here. Some viewers haven’t switched on to the advantages of On Demand, or they perceive it as being technologically challenging. Many watch a mixture of Live and On Demand - and they do so without consciously thinking of it as either.

This presented a big challenge – and opportunity – for Freeview: How to balance the demands of different audiences and improve the experience across the board, while also helping our viewers to discover a whole new range of shows.

The Solution

To understand what Kiwi viewers wanted from their TV experience, we interviewed a variety Freeview and non-Freeview customers, and ran user testing sessions on fully interactive prototype – to to find out how Live TV viewers felt about On Demand content; how people used the features on the current interface; and whether those features supported the tasks they wanted to achieve.

Our research and early testing gave us invaluable insight into how TV fit into viewers’ lives and we found some interesting patterns. TV is a communal and social experience, so earlier in the evening, Kiwis like to watch together, usually on a TV. They’re watching while they eat dinner, or the kids are still awake, or as a group in a flat-share situation, where TV creates conversations, or blends into the background. Later in the evening, groups tend to split off into individual rooms, or separate devices – and the tone of the content changes to more serious or important shows that require more concentration.

The user research also helped us understand how people dealt with a plethora of choice and interpreted and navigated through the different types of content - Live TV, Catch Up, Recorded and On Demand - which was a new concept for many viewers.

We identified the design solution needed to be a modern and intuitive experience, but one that showcased the wealth of content available on Freeview in simple and usable terms for a broad range of users.

> Bringing the design to life: After several rounds of user testing, it because obvious that viewers really struggled to navigate through a hierarchical layer of categories and genres - they just needed to quickly access their favourite shows. So we worked with Freeview to identify the best way to surface customer-driven programming and put it at the centre of the viewing experience.

> Implementing a content-led approach to navigation: The redesign also allowed the content to really shine. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so we kept copy, menus and labelling to a minimum.

By focusing on the show imagery, we were able to improve accessibility and scannability for all users, and actually increase the amount of programs presented without cluttering the interface.

> All the content you love, in one place: With several broadcasters having a stake in Freeview, the paired back, content-led aesthetic also supported another design objective: to present a relatively brand-agnostic interface, while still supporting some low-key brand association.

The Result

Understanding viewer needs, social and usage patterns allowed to design a solution that was both incredibly easy to use and would keep audiences coming back to Freeview.

Over 175,000 devices connected in first two months. Of those, 73% were actively accessing the platform, with over 400,000 streams accessed by users.

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