News by
Jamie Lamberski

Is Music Television Actually Making a Comeback?!

One broadcast and technology company believes they have discovered the future of music television. Founded in Amsterdam, XITE is attempting the ambitious feat to reinvent music television. Programming and Music Director Diederik Van Zessen and Technical Program Manager Nikita Kovalchuk presented their interactive, personalized music video platform to a group of curious music and tech industry professionals at the recent SXSWi conference.

Music videos account for 40 percent of all online video consumption, and 27 of the 30 most-viewed videos on YouTube are music videos. In 2015, YouTube reported over 600 billion music video views.

What's the biggest music video-watching demographic? Millenials. Those between 16 and 35 years old watch more music videos than any other generation. Millenials spend an average of 40 hours per month watching video content on their phone, 40 percent of which are music videos.

Despite the fact that 75 percent of millenials have paid TV subscriptions, music videos seem forever doomed to live only on computer and mobile screens. As we all know, popular channels like MTV slowly transformed into lifestyle and reality brands as music video consumption fade in the TV environment. XITE is looking to change all of that...

"It seems music television is falling between two stools... is there a future for music television? The answer is yes and the answer is quite simple," Van Zessen said during their presentation.

For over seven years, XITE has provided music videos to more than 15 million homes and devices through their several networks a full catalog of on-demand services. They have revolutionized the way people consumed music videos.

"The goal is simple: dramatically increase viewing time by improving the user experience with minimal input from the user. In other words, build a personalized music video channel without users having to select the music videos themselves."

What XITE promises is a heavily curated music video catalog, territory-specific music programming intelligence and an algorithm that produces dynamic playlists based on very basic user inputs: skipping and liking music videos.

"From the moment you start XITE, you are prompted to like or skip what you see. Every time you do this, XITE learns about what you like and what you don't like."

XITE combines the constant flow of user data with its music programming technology to compile dynamic, personalized playlists that deliver music videos you love in the perfect order. The "Hear, See, Feel" system allows even deeper personalization as you tell XITE what genres you want to hear, what type of videos you want to see and how you feel.

How did they do it? XITE believes they have found the future of music television by leveraging the power of video and making channels interactive while still "lean back." 50 percent of the time Americans spend with media is with television, and distribution plays a key role, which is why XITE has partnered with 7 major cable companies. By combining interactivity and personalization with distribution, XITE has quadrupled the average music video viewing time.

XITE compares their model to a three-stage rocket: Curation, algorithm and channel flow. For the best music curation, they find the best curators. Their catalog of over 100,000 music videos and music-related content have been enriched with enormous amounts of metadeta from music video experts and music editors. The videos are then tagged by their spotting team on over 100 different audio and video parameters including genres, seasonality, styles and moods. XITE believes this has resulted in the most extensive and rich music video database in the world.

The algorithm is designed around simple likes and skips - what XITE likes to call, the secret sauce of achieving the most accurate taste profile of the user. As the algorithm learns about the user, it then uses the tagging and metadata to constantly calculate which videos to play. Without channel flow,

User input helps to create a playlist but without channel flow, it's just a playlist. To create a truly personalized music experience, XITE curators hand-pick the perfect channel flow through specific clocks and rotation schemes to avoid repeats and create the most natural feel. A really great music channel is considered an art and a science, completing the 3-stage rocket.

Now with an office in New York, XITE plans to launch in the United States this year. Tell us... would you sign up for XITE?

Check it out over at XITE.

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Jamie Lamberski Senior Editor

I'm a storyteller at heart, but music makes my world go round.