Spideo Sets Sights on U.S.

The U.S. market is brimming with vendors that specialize in video recommendation and discovery engines, but a Paris-based company says there’s room for one more that can generate great results by blending a viewer’s mood with hard-core data analytics.

That company, Spideo, has put its feelers into the U.S. market and plans to open up a presence here later this year. It will target its tech at traditional pay TV operators as well as increasingly popular over-the-top video service providers.

Its platform, the company said, is capable of pumping out recommendations using a mix of analytics and statistics (an area of focus for ThinkAnalytics) with more semantic, tastebased components for which Jinni is best known.


Its goal is simple and much-needed — help consumers find that needle in a video haystack that seems to grow bigger by the day (see Cover Story). That mountain of content is also becoming accessible via a multitude of devices, from the old set-top box, video-streaming devices and dongles, smartphones and tablets.

But it’s got plenty of competitive company. Also going after this opportunity hard include the likes of Rovi, Jinni, ThinkAnalytics, ContentWise and DigitalSmiths (now part of TiVo), to name but just a few.

How does Spideo intend to set itself apart?

While each of the existing market players do well in their own way, Spideo believes its system bridges the best of both worlds, Thibault d’Orso, Spideo’s chief operating officer, said.

To help these “undecided users” find something desirable, Spideo’s system guides users through a “mood board” (select ions include “beautiful,” “twisty,” “suspense,” “strange,” “creepy” and so on), and matches those with its own algorithms to create a “semantic fingerprint” that aims to mix the user’s emotional level with factual themes.

Spideo tries to take it a step further by providing a brief reason why a particular set of movies or TV shows were selected.

Recommendations that rely solely on analytics and metadata make it harder for users to put trust in those selections, d’Orso said.


Despite a crowded market and the fact that many OTT and pay TV providers have developed their own recommendation systems or are already working with thirdparties, many are still keeping their eyes peeled for new options, Gabriel Mandelbaum, Spideo’s CEO, insisted, noting that the company has had some success displacing existing solutions.

“We see it as a market that is full of opportunity,” he said.

Spideo’s early success has come primarily from outside the U.S., with customers that include Canal Plus, Bouygues Telecom, and Jook Video. Its first U.S. customer is M-GO, the Technicolor/DreamWorks Animation venture that competes with the likes of iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video and Target Ticket. Spideo has also developed a free app for the iPad that helps users find content through their iTunes accounts.

Spideo, founded five years ago, is self-funded and has a team of 25. It generated its first $1 million in revenues in 2014, according to Mandelbaum.