Today, Discovery Inc. is bringing some much-needed culinary camaraderie into kitchens around the world through Food Network Kitchen. The subscription-based app offers home-bound foodies the chance to cook alongside celebrity chefs.
Food Network Kitchen offers a hands-free cooking experience via Amazon’s voice technology and access to a large selection of live and on-demand cooking classes, hosted by Food Network culinary experts and world-renowned chefs. The app also includes additional features, such as recipe selection tools and ingredient home delivery.
Innovating the television experience is a priority for Discovery Inc., which is why the company is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to go beyond traditional, lean-back TV to create new experiences for viewers.
“At Discovery, we have two categories of streaming products – pure video streaming and view-and-do products,” explains Discovery’s Avi Saxena, CTO of Direct-to-Consumer. “Our pure video streaming products, like dplay and Discovery+ in India, engage our customers by enabling them to quickly find the content they already love and watch it on a variety of devices. The view-and-do products, like Food Network Kitchen and Eurosport, provide additional experiences, like ordering ingredients for a recipe or pulling up an athlete’s statistics when watching a live sporting event.”
Discovery Inc. and AWS partnered in developing the Eurosport Player, an app that allows customized live and on-demand access to all of the sporting events covered by Eurosport, the number one sports destination is Europe. The Eurosport Player app, built on AWS, laid the technological groundwork for being able to quickly deploy Food Network Kitchen.
“We extensively use AWS to build out our global direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform to power products and brands worldwide,” says Saxena. “Our core back-end platform is built on AWS and our global video platform leverages AWS Media Services to power the live events and linear over-the-top channels across Eurosport, which recently streamed the Australian Open and is the home of the Olympics across Europe.” Discovery Inc. leverages AWS Media Services for live streaming football leagues, such as Danish Superliga and Swedish Allsvenskan. The same platform also powers VOD workflows for Discovery+ in India and MotorTrend. Discovery Inc. uses Amazon CloudFront as part of its CDN strategy. For data streaming, Discovery Inc. uses AWS Kinesis and MSK, a hosted version of Apache Kafka.
“AWS gives us instant, global access to virtually unlimited computing resources. It’s flexible, reliable, scalable, and enables us to focus our time on assembling those pieces that serve our consumers, such as building applications,” explains Saxena. “It allows us to move fast. We can deploy a service or compute resources almost instantly, so the speed of deployment and innovation is in our hands.” With every product launch, Discovery Inc. has learned more about its consumers, striving to get them content with as little overhead as possible in downloading, searching, and browsing. Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) has meant the company can personalize customer experiences and generate relevant recommendations, as well as provide better ways of engaging with content.
Discovery Inc. is building its recommendation and personalization service on top of AWS Amazon Elastic MapReduce (AWS EMR) and uses Amazon Personalize to help with machine learning-generated recommendation strategies. The company is also using Amazon Rekognition to extract metadata from within videos, such as transcripts, objects, faces, and brands that can be used for deep search to further enhance the discovery of content.
“Listening and responding to feedback from consumers is critical to our success,” says Saxena. “We receive feedback via consumers contacting us via customer support, feedback in various app stores, as well as talking directly to consumers. For each product, we have teams regularly reviewing all feedback and responding to it – sometimes by contacting consumers directly, other times improving our products in response to consumer feedback.”
This attention to the customer experience has resulted in the development of a variety of products for different geographies with further opportunities for integrating apps and content. “Content aggregation in direct-to-consumer products is becoming a norm. We aspire to aggregate the content from our passion verticals to make it more accessible and help consumers enjoy content across the Discovery networks. At the end of the day, we want to reduce the friction of requiring consumers to get different apps. We want to make it easy for them to engage with Discovery,” concludes Saxena.
Learn more about how AWS customers, including FOX, Riot Games, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, use the cloud to create innovative and engaging services for their viewers, while also improving the scalability and reliability of their business operations in me. Magazine Issue 2.