Microsoft’s AI technology is helping pay-TV companies learn how you love to watch

A UK company that helps digital media firms such as ITV and BT to attract subscribers in the fiercely competitive pay-TV market is developing a revolutionary new platform using Microsoft technology.

Paywizard is building the “next-generation” version of its Decision Moments platform, Paywizard Singula, which allows its pay-TV customers to understand their subscribers and deliver a service that makes them happy and keeps them loyal.

The company will use Microsoft’s Azure artificial intelligence platform and Databricks analytics service to create a platform that brings together information about subscribers from many sources. It then recommends what the next best action should be for each subscriber. By identifying when people are looking to subscribe or watch and upgrade packages, more households could sign up for pay-TV services and revenues would increase.

“Building on our Decision Moments framework through the Microsoft Azure AI platform is a strategic move that empowers Paywizard to massively bolster our analytics power and incorporate AI going forward,” said Bhavesh Vaghela, Paywizard’s Chief Executive. “Azure AI is perfect for that and provides the infrastructure no other platform can, while offering flexibility, scalability and security.”

For pay-TV companies, the need to attract and retain subscribers is becoming critical as the sector comes under increasing pressure from online streaming services. In July, Ofcom revealed that the take-up of superfast broadband and internet-connected televisions is changing how people watch television programmes. The number of UK subscriptions to television streaming services had overtaken those to traditional pay-TV for the first time, the communications regulator added.

Paywizard, which has offices in London, Kirkcaldy in Scotland and Singapore, will also use work with the University of Edinburgh to develop services that use Microsoft’s AI technology to predict customer behaviour such as purchases. Vaghela added that his company is “keen to explore how expanding into cognitive services and bot tools could improve the offering to our customers even further”.

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Mark Smith, Senior Director of Azure and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft, said: “Paywizard is demonstrating the real-world impact that AI, combined with intelligent data analytics, can have on an established industry.

“While the pay-TV market has enjoyed substantial success over the past three decades, advances in other technologies has given rise to innovative organisations that are disrupting this model. By utilising AI, Paywizard can help pay-TV firms address this threat by enhancing customer engagement and deliver communications and marketing campaigns that are better suited to their needs. Having companies that understand what the Azure AI platform can deliver and take full advantage of its capabilities demonstrates that we continue to develop tools and functions that modern, forward-looking businesses need.”