Time Warner Cable Smartens Up TV Search With Digitalsmiths

Trying to make it easier for subscribers to find stuff to watch across a range of devices, Time Warner Cable is using Digitalsmiths’ personalized search and recommendations in its TWC TV apps and plans to extend the capabilities to its set-top boxes as well.

Also Thursday, Digitalsmiths announced that app developer i.TV selected the Digitalsmiths Seamless Discovery system as its primary video-search solution, including for the recently launched Nintendo Wii U game console.

Time Warner Cable has been working with Digitalsmiths for more than a year. The search and discovery engine spans live TV, on-demand, DVR and TV Everywhere content, according to Digitalsmiths CEO Ben Weinberger.

“You can do any sort of search you can imagine,” Weinberger said. That includes searching by actor, director, genre or description -- or even a snippet of dialogue in a movie.

Digitalsmiths offers individualized search and recommendations and incorporates dozens of data sources. The company will expand its database for Time Warner Cable to include additional data sets over time.

"We are committed to providing our subscribers new and improved ways to discover content, and our partnership with Digitalsmiths will help us create better experiences for our customers," Mike Angus, Time Warner Cable senior vice president and general manager of video, said in a statement.

The operator’s TWC TV service, which delivers up to 300 live channels over in-home Wi-Fi to Apple iOS and select Android devices, computers and soon Roku set-tops, already incorporates the Digitalsmiths-powered search and recommendation functions. The MSO today uses an internally developed search engine for its set-top guides, which it will enhance with the Digitalsmiths platform.

Separately, Digitalsmiths has partnered with i.TV, developer of TV guide apps for iPhone and iPad and other social TV and second-screen apps. Last year i.TV announced a partnership with Nintendo to co-develop Nintendo TVii, a built-in service with the new Wii U game console that lets users find programming in pay TV listings and online video sources, and control their cable or satellite set-top box.

Digitalsmiths didn’t disclose the financial terms of the two deals.

Weinberger declined to provide revenue figures or say whether the customer wins have made privately held Digitalsmiths profitable. However, he said, in 2012 the company more than doubled revenue year-over-year and has already prebooked revenue for 2013 that is twice last year’s tally, he said.

Digitalsmiths investors include Cisco Systems, Technicolor, .406 Ventures, Aurora Funds and Chrysalis Ventures. The Durham, N.C.-based company has about 100 employees,

Other Digitalsmiths customers include Cisco, Warner Bros., Paramount, Technicolor, Univision, Turner Sports, the NBA, the PGA and NASCAR.