Determining Streaming Content User Consumption
1. A method comprising:
- detecting, by a computer, a user action on a user device, wherein the detected user action is independent of one or more media objects transmitted via a computer network to the user device;
retrieving, by a computer, from a media object server, one or more media object descriptors for the one or more media objects;
correlating, by a computer, the detected user action and the one or more retrieved media descriptors;
responsive to the correlation meeting a first threshold, determining, by a computer, independent of monitoring presentation of the one or more media objects at the user device, a degree of confidence that the user is attentive to at least one of the one or more media objects; and
recording, by a computer, the user action, the one or more correlated media object descriptors, and the degree of confidence into one or more digital results in computer memory.
Confidence of attentiveness of a consumer of a media object on a media playback device is estimated by detecting a user action performed on a mobile computing device while or soon after the media objects are presented; responsive to the user action detection, retrieving descriptors for the media object; correlating the detected user action and the descriptors; if sufficiently correlated, determining a degree of confidence that the user is attentive to the media object; and recording the one user action, the media object descriptors, and the degree of confidence into digital results into computer memory.
- 1. A method comprising:
detecting, by a computer, a user action on a user device, wherein the detected user action is independent of one or more media objects transmitted via a computer network to the user device; retrieving, by a computer, from a media object server, one or more media object descriptors for the one or more media objects; correlating, by a computer, the detected user action and the one or more retrieved media descriptors; responsive to the correlation meeting a first threshold, determining, by a computer, independent of monitoring presentation of the one or more media objects at the user device, a degree of confidence that the user is attentive to at least one of the one or more media objects; and recording, by a computer, the user action, the one or more correlated media object descriptors, and the degree of confidence into one or more digital results in computer memory.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- 7. A computer program product comprising:
a tangible, computer-readable memory device which is not a propagating signal per se, accessible by a processor; program instructions embodied by the memory device to cause the processor to, when executed, perform steps comprising; detect a user action on a user device, wherein the detected user action is independent of one or more media objects transmitted via a computer network to the user device; retrieve from a media object server, one or more media object descriptors for the one or more media objects; correlate the detected user action and the one or more retrieved media descriptors; responsive to the correlation meeting a first threshold, determine, independent of monitoring presentation of the one or more media objects at the user device, a degree of confidence that the user is attentive to at least one of the one or more media objects; and record the user action, the one or more correlated media object descriptors, and the degree of confidence into one or more digital results in computer memory.
- View Dependent Claims (8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
- 13. A system comprising:
a computer processor for executing program instructions; a tangible, computer-readable memory device which is not a propagating signal per se, accessible by the processor; correlate the detected user action and the one or more retrieved media descriptors;
- View Dependent Claims (14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
This is a continuation application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/231,410, our docket END920160252US02, filed on Aug. 8, 2016, by Jeremy A. Greenberger, et al. This invention relates generally to methods and systems for determining, with a level of confidence, whether a user of a mobile device is attentive of streaming content such as a television broadcast, an online video, a radio broadcast, or an online audio channel.
It is valuable information to know if a user is actually attentive to a streaming media, such as a television station, online broadcast, or audio channel, or if the device receiving the streaming media is simply unattended. Proximity of the user to the receiving device is not entirely indicative of the user paying attention to the media, whereas the media may be being played to a window on a screen which is minimized or covered by another window, and/or the audio may be muted or played at a minimal volume.
The knowledge of what a user actually views or hears versus what he or she ignores is critical to many producers of media so that they can improve their products and services for increased consumer affinity.
The disclosed and illustrated exemplary embodiments according to the present invention estimate a confidence level of attentiveness of a consumer of a media object on a media playback device by detecting a user action performed on a mobile computing device while or soon after the media objects are presented; responsive to the user action detection, retrieving descriptors for the media object; correlating the detected user action and the descriptors; if sufficiently correlated, determining a degree of confidence that the user is attentive to the media object; and recording the one user action, the media object descriptors, and the degree of confidence into digital results into computer memory.
The figures presented herein, when considered in light of this description, form a complete disclosure of one or more embodiments of the invention, wherein like reference numbers in the figures represent similar or same elements or steps.
The inventors have recognized that, today, there are very few solutions to gain insight as to what a person is watching on a television at any given moment, or if they are watching at all. Just because a TV is on in a person'"'"'s house, does not mean they are paying attention to the content or are interested. Accurately determining a person'"'"'s viewing habits and preferences will enable development of immersive television viewing experiences. The embodiments of the present invention disclosed herein provide valuable improvements to the accuracy of several technologies used cooperatively during the determination of a consumer'"'"'s viewing and listening patterns, habits, and preferences, such that the technologies themselves are improved through embodiment of the present invention.
A First Class of Embodiments. The present inventors have realized that today'"'"'s viewers and listeners to streaming media, including content transmitted over wired networks and wireless networks, alike, often interact electronically with other users, with other digital resources, or both, while actively watching or listening to the streaming media. For example, the inventors recognized that a user may send an instant message, such as a Twitter™ Tweet™, post a comment on a social media account, such as a Facebook™ account, or access a website or perform search for information, such as using Google™ or Wikipedia™. According to the inventors'"'"' realization, the nature of these user actions may or may not be related to the content of the current or recently streamed media, but if the nature of a user action can be determined to be related to the recently streamed media, then that is a strong indication that the user is paying attention to the streaming media. Further, if location determination such as Global Positioning System (GPS) or proximity beacons (e.g., Bluetooth Low Energy beacons) are incorporated to the system, additional confidence can be obtained about whether or not the user is actually paying attention to the streaming media.
As such, the present inventors have devised a solution to meet the unsatisfied needs in the art to determine not only whether or not a user is likely attentive to a streaming media, but also a confidence factor for that determination. The following several embodiments fall within the scope of the present invention, and as such, they are illustrations of various embodiments but do not limit the scope of the invention itself.
Generally speaking, embodiments according to the present invention monitor sources of media streams such as a television stations, an on-demand video source servers, a radio stations, and audio streaming service servers. Methods of monitoring the streaming content at such sources are well known, and are hereby incorporated into this disclosure. Many embodiments according to the invention will operate solely from metadata from the sources describing the media objects they are streaming or broadcasting (now or recently).
It is also possible in some embodiments to further confirm what is being received by users'"'"' streaming players, set top TV decoder boxes, etc. For example, some set-top cable television boxes can report or be polled as to their status (on or off) and what channel they are tuned to. Similarly, digital radios, such as some in-dash car radios, are capable of reporting the same status and tuning information, and many applications for mobile devices and computers for receiving personalized play lists and on-demand video source can report what is currently playing through the application, and some extensions and helper applications for web browsers can also report such connections and receiving status information.
However, just because a particular receiver reports that it is receiving a particular media object, it is still unknown if the user is actually attentive to the media object being played or rendered at the receiving device (e.g., many cable TV customers leave their cable decoder box turned on all the time and just turn of the TV).
Embodiments of the invention may utilize these and other available methods to gain insight into what media is currently being streamed, broadcasted, received (recently and presently).
A mobile computing device, such as a smart cell phone or tablet computer, which is associated with a user of the media playback device, is monitored for time-relevant user actions, such as current actions and/or recent actions taken by the user. Actions of interest include, but are not limited to, submitting search criteria to search engine websites and applications (“apps”), creating events in a locally-stored or remotely-stored electronic calendar, launching applications on the mobile device (e.g., related games, related retail sales applications, related poll taking applications, etc.), authoring new electronic messages or responding to received electronic messages (e.g., Short Message Service “text messages”, multi-media messages, short messages such as “Tweets”™ and Instagrams™, and streaming messages such as Periscope™ and web chats), creating or responding to social media posts on social media servers or using social media apps, casting an electronic vote, visiting or navigating to a website or Uniform Resource Locator (URL), accessing another media object (e.g., video, music, app download), and initiating a telephone call.
There are a number of known mechanisms which can be employed by embodiments of the present invention to accomplish this user action monitoring, such as application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by some online servers to access user information in near real-time, similar APIs provided by mobile device operating systems that provide access to user activity, having the user add a monitoring portion of the embodiment to their “friends” list, and sharing the user'"'"'s log in credentials with the monitoring portion of the embodiment. For example, at least two of the currently most popular social media online services provide application programs with a REpresentational State Transfer (REST) API for obtaining copies in near real-time of social media posts and/or instant messages authored, responded to, forwarded and read by a user. Various embodiments of the present invention may utilize any of these methods, as well as others which may become available or are currently available, in greater or less combination to accomplish the task of detecting user actions while the streaming media is being received by the media playback device.
Next, when the embodiment of the invention detects that a user action has been performed on the mobile device, the embodiment determines from the ascertainable descriptors of the currently-received media object at the media playback device if the action was relevant to a currently or recently transmitted or broadcast media object according to the source, and, optionally, confirmed as a received media object. This can be done in the first order by comparing meta-data descriptors for the media object to the meta-data and data of the user action, such as comparing the title and the names of the actors, singers or speakers of the media object to the website URL or content of a social media posting or message created by the user (or forwarded, or responded to, etc.). In a second order, more information can be obtained about the media object by the embodiment of the invention posting a query to an API for another computer service to provide more information, such as searching an internet movie database using some known meta-data descriptors about the media object to obtain additional descriptors about the media object (e.g., date of release, producer name, studio name, genre, etc.). In a third order of relevancy determination, embodiments of the invention may also perform advanced analysis or request advanced analysis to be performed on the media object to generate more descriptors, such as text-to-speech recognition on an audio stream or audio track of a movie, image recognition of faces, buildings, and object in frames of a video stream, etc. Embodiments of the present invention may utilize any or all of these and other available methods and technologies to obtain shallow to deep descriptive data about the media object being received (or recently received) by the media playback device.
Once a threshold of relevancy has been determined by one or more orders of comparison of descriptors for the media object with the one or more monitored and detected user actions on the mobile device, it is still not known with certainty if the user is actually paying attention to the received media object, or just potentially coincidentally performing some user actions which have some commonality (keywords, favorite websites, etc.). It is therefore an improvement beyond the presently available media consumer monitoring technology to determine a degree of confidence whether or not the user is actually paying attention to the current or recent media object on the media playback device.
According to the inventors'"'"' solution, if a user action is determined to be at least minimally relevant to the currently-received or recently-received media object, the embodiment of the invention proceeds to perform analytic analysis on various available metrics to produce a degree of confidence if the device'"'"'s owner is attending to the data stream. For example, such metrics which can be employed in the analytic analysis can include but are not limited to an amount of time elapsed between when the media object (or a point within the media object) is transmitted to or received by the media playback device; the strength (strong, weak, neutral) of the relevancy of the user action to the descriptors of the media object (e.g., use of specific brand, actor or place names; use of specific movie, show, episode or song titles, etc.); a number of times a relevant user action has been performed; and how many other known associates (e.g., social media friends, the user'"'"'s messaging contact list entries, etc.) are concurrently performing relevant user actions to the media object.
This determination of relevancy and degree of confidence is then provided to one or more reports, other client devices, and/or other client application programs, thereby enabling additional improvements and enhancements such as, but not limited to creating push notifications relative to the channel a person is watching, suggesting favorite types of shows/channels a person likes to watch, calculating how much television or radio a person consumes in a day, determining when a user typically watches television or consumes media objects, generating statistics on viewer demographics for companies that are tailoring advertisements to specific groups of users; and determining if nearby users are consuming the same media objects at the same time.
It should be noted that embodiments of the present invention can operate across many data streams (channels), such as a user switching between channels (serial consumption) or having multiple channels and media objects being played simultaneously (parallel consumption). The embodiment of the invention may provide some measure of the degree of confidence as to which of the several media objects are getting any or most of the user'"'"'s attention, presuming that the media objects differentiate from each other in their descriptors.
An additional improvement to other services and technologies which are enabled by embodiments of the present invention is that the confidence degree measurement can assist other client devices and client applications to determine which position(s) within the media objects (movies, songs, lectures, discussions, advertisements, etc.) is/are most effective at generating user response and user action, which can lead to better insight as to which markets will create the best return on investment for brands, which arguments will generate the most persuasive response to users, and which scenes or chapters will become iconic of a media object.
A Second Class of Embodiments. Still further improvements in the technologies of measuring and determining viewership, readership and listener affinity and habits can be obtained in a second class of embodiments which utilize some or all of the functions and features of the foregoing first class of embodiments, but which also use location based services to further increase the confidence factor determination.
For example, if both the media playback device and the mobile device are the same physical device, then the locations of the two are known to be exactly the same. However, in many realistic scenarios, the media playback device (e.g., a cable set-top box or a digital radio) and the mobile device (e.g., a smart phone or a tablet computer) are not physically the same device, and one or both of the two devices may be relocated from time to time.
So, if the two devices are determined to be outside of proximity to each other, such as the user is away from home with his or her smart phone but left his or her cable box on and tuned to a particular channel back at their home, then the degree of confidence that the user is actually paying attention to the received media content on the cable TV receiver is lessened. Conversely, if the two devices are determined to be within a certain proximity, physical or geographical, of each other, then the confidence factor can be suitably increased accordingly.
A number of available technologies can be incorporated into embodiments of the invention in this second class to achieve this proximity determination and additional adjustment to the rendered confidence factor. For example, a global positioning position (GPS) reading for the user'"'"'s mobile device can be compared to the geographical address known to be associated with user'"'"'s cable television account where the cable TV receive set-top box is likely located. Or, internet protocol (IP) addresses and subnet addresses on a home, office, public or hotel network can be compared for both devices to see if they are connected to the same local area network or the same intranet. Other location based services technologies, such as proximity to a Bluetooth Low Energy beacon (BLE), can be utilized to see if both devices are within physical proximity of each other.
Using these location determination technologies, and optionally others, embodiments of the present invent may determine if the two devices are within a maximum proximity to each other, and if so, increase the degree of confidence value such as incrementing it or multiplying it by a location factor. Conversely, if the locations of the two devices are determined to be outside a minimal physical distance to each other, the embodiment of the invention may decrease the degree of confidence value such as decrementing it or dividing it by a location factor.
A Third Class of Embodiments. In still another group of embodiments according to the present invention, aggregation of actions across multiple users and comparison of those actions in real-time to known broadcast and streaming media metadata can yield viewership certainty on a group basis. For example, if a group of users who are demographically of an age group “young teens” are detected making one or more user actions (texting, posting, commenting, etc.) regarding a particular television show, then an embodiment of the invention may search metadata describing currently (and/or recently) broadcast and streamed media objects to find a correlation between the aggregation of the user actions and the metadata. In this class of embodiments, again, no actual data connections to the users'"'"' streaming players or broadcast receivers are necessary because additional certainty regarding the estimation of viewership is obtained by using a sufficiently large sample of users (e.g., a threshold of group size taking relevant user actions).
Referring now to
When a user action such as these is detected during or soon after reception of a media object, the user action correlator (501) determines the relevancy of the user actions to the received media object as previously described, and if minimally relevant, then additional analytics (502) are performed as previously described using one or more additional metrics (503) to increase or decrease a confidence factor that the user is (or was recently) actually paying attention to the media object being played or rendered by the user'"'"'s media playback device (102).
The results of the analytics are then posted by a confidence server (503) as one or more reports (505), such as machine-readable and/or human-readable outputs to printers, files, and displays. And, embodiments of the invention may provide electronic information via messages, database entries, or API responses to one or more client application programs (504) and/or one or more client devices (506) for further enhanced analysis as previously described.
Referring now to
Now referring to
Finally, reports (505) and/or output data structures such as messages, database entries, and push notifications to client devices (506) and/or application programs (504) are generated (606), including one or more pairs of correlated user actions and media objects with an associated degree of confidence for each pair.
It should be noted that data communications shown in
Hardware Product Embodiments. Embodiments according to the present invention may be realized in part or whole through electronic hardware circuitry, such as microprocessor-based circuitry, microcontroller-based circuitry, programmable logic arrays, custom circuits, and combinations thereof. Additionally, in the several figures, references to a “server” are to a hardware computer running one or more application programs which, together, perform the functions of a server computer. The several servers may be several distinctly separate computers running separate server application programs, or they may be combined into fewer hardware computer(s) which are capable of executing the functionality of multiple server application programs.
Computer Program Product Embodiments. The present invention may be a system, a method, and/or a computer program product at any possible technical detail level of integration. The computer program product may include a computer readable storage medium (or media) having computer readable program instructions thereon for causing a processor to carry out aspects of the present invention.
The computer readable storage medium can be a tangible device that can retain and store instructions for use by an instruction execution device. The computer readable storage medium may be, for example, but is not limited to, an electronic storage device, a magnetic storage device, an optical storage device, an electromagnetic storage device, a semiconductor storage device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing. A non-exhaustive list of more specific examples of the computer readable storage medium includes the following: a portable computer diskette, a hard disk, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory), a static random access memory (SRAM), a portable compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM), a digital versatile disk (DVD), a memory stick, a floppy disk, a mechanically encoded device such as punch-cards or raised structures in a groove having instructions recorded thereon, and any suitable combination of the foregoing. A computer readable storage medium, as used herein, is not to be construed as being transitory signals per se, such as radio waves or other freely propagating electromagnetic waves, electromagnetic waves propagating through a waveguide or other transmission media (e.g., light pulses passing through a fiber-optic cable), or electrical signals transmitted through a wire.
Computer readable program instructions described herein can be downloaded to respective computing/processing devices from a computer readable storage medium or to an external computer or external storage device via a network, for example, the Internet, a local area network, a wide area network and/or a wireless network. The network may comprise copper transmission cables, optical transmission fibers, wireless transmission, routers, firewalls, switches, gateway computers and/or edge servers. A network adapter card or network interface in each computing/processing device receives computer readable program instructions from the network and forwards the computer readable program instructions for storage in a computer readable storage medium within the respective computing/processing device.
Computer readable program instructions for carrying out operations of the present invention may be assembler instructions, instruction-set-architecture (ISA) instructions, machine instructions, machine dependent instructions, microcode, firmware instructions, state-setting data, configuration data for integrated circuitry, or either source code or object code written in any combination of one or more programming languages, including an object oriented programming language such as Smalltalk, C++, or the like, and procedural programming languages, such as the “C” programming language or similar programming languages. The computer readable program instructions may execute entirely on the user'"'"'s computer, partly on the user'"'"'s computer, as a stand-alone software package, partly on the user'"'"'s computer and partly on a remote computer or entirely on the remote computer or server. In the latter scenario, the remote computer may be connected to the user'"'"'s computer through any type of network, including a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN), or the connection may be made to an external computer (for example, through the Internet using an Internet Service Provider). In some embodiments, electronic circuitry including, for example, programmable logic circuitry, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), or programmable logic arrays (PLA) may execute the computer readable program instructions by utilizing state information of the computer readable program instructions to personalize the electronic circuitry, in order to perform aspects of the present invention.
Aspects of the present invention are described herein with reference to flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams of methods, apparatus (systems), and computer program products according to embodiments of the invention. It will be understood that each block of the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, and combinations of blocks in the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, can be implemented by computer readable program instructions.
These computer readable program instructions may be provided to a processor of a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions, which execute via the processor of the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus, create means for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks. These computer readable program instructions may also be stored in a computer readable storage medium that can direct a computer, a programmable data processing apparatus, and/or other devices to function in a particular manner, such that the computer readable storage medium having instructions stored therein comprises an article of manufacture including instructions which implement aspects of the function/act specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.
The computer readable program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other device to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer, other programmable apparatus or other device to produce a computer implemented process, such that the instructions which execute on the computer, other programmable apparatus, or other device implement the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.
The flowchart and block diagrams in the Figures illustrate the architecture, functionality, and operation of possible implementations of systems, methods, and computer program products according to various embodiments of the present invention. In this regard, each block in the flowchart or block diagrams may represent a module, segment, or portion of instructions, which comprises one or more executable instructions for implementing the specified logical function(s). In some alternative implementations, the functions noted in the blocks may occur out of the order noted in the Figures. For example, two blocks shown in succession may, in fact, be executed substantially concurrently, or the blocks may sometimes be executed in the reverse order, depending upon the functionality involved. It will also be noted that each block of the block diagrams and/or flowchart illustration, and combinations of blocks in the block diagrams and/or flowchart illustration, can be implemented by special purpose hardware-based systems that perform the specified functions or acts or carry out combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions.
Conclusion. The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used herein, the singular forms “a”, “an” and “the” are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms “comprises” and/or “comprising,” when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof, unless specifically stated otherwise.
The corresponding structures, materials, acts, and equivalents of all means or step plus function elements in the claims below are intended to include any structure, material, or act for performing the function in combination with other claimed elements as specifically claimed. The description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, but is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the invention in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.
It should also be recognized by those skilled in the art that certain embodiments utilizing a microprocessor executing a logical process may also be realized through customized electronic circuitry performing the same logical process or processes.
It will be readily recognized by those skilled in the art that the foregoing example embodiments do not define the extent or scope of the present invention, but instead are provided as illustrations of how to make and use at least one embodiment of the invention. The following claims define the extent and scope of at least one invention disclosed herein.