While still one of the biggest smartphone players in China and beyond, Xiaomi is positioning itself not as a hardware vendor, but an internet service company.
It is accomplishing that task through the MIUI operating system. With a reach of more than 224 million active users globally, MIUI, fast evolving to become an integrated cross-platform, enables Xiaomi to push its own over-the-top (OTT) content, and is a crucial part of the company’s Mi Ecosystem Companies strategy.
Mi TV: the centre of the home
The android-based 4K large screen smart Mi TV is powered by Xiaomi’s own Patchwall user interface, allowing users to see all available programmes without having to switch to another interface. The home screen can accommodate thumbnails of a rich variety of digital content sourced from different OTT platforms, along with content from direct-to-home (DTH) set-top box providers.
Like what the company has done with Mi Home, the Mi TV doubles up as an OTT platform that power the MIOT ecosystem. Aside from perusing creative media content, users can control other Xiaomi smart devices including speakers, Wi-Fi routers, appliances, lighting, air and water purifiers, via the Mi TV.
For brands and advertisers, the OTT platform not only allows them to tap into the hundreds of millions of MIUI users, but gain insight into what users are interested in at special moments in time.
In a world of information overload, it is crucial for businesses to understand what users are looking for in real time and to provide them the relevant information at the right time.
"With the OTT platform, consumers receive content via an internet-connected screen or a TV set, allowing them to benefit from more personalised content and targeted advertising experiences,” says Q Chen, GM of Advertising & Sales Department, Xiaomi Inc.
The Patchwall interface leverages Xiaomi’s AI analytical tools to identity users’ interest from the programme they are tuned into, enabling brands to target them with relevant advertising content.
"The Patchwall interface highlights content relevant to our customers' interests. The home screen is also broken into several sections, allowing users to look for whatever suits their fancy,” notes Chen.
This also allows businesses and brands who want to leverage Xiaomi's user base to gain a better understanding of the needs of Xiaomi users and fans. Advertisers can benefit from a more effective exposure, while content providers could better tap into new traffic entrances for diversification. Interactive OTT also opens up opportunities to go direct-to-consumer with everything from mass entertainment to special interest offerings.
"The best time to engage an audience is when they are enjoying well-crafted storytelling. OTT delivers exceptional user experience that not only deliver the right content at the right time, but also present it in the most engaging way.”
Chen is confident that brands and advertisers will continue to benefit from the growing OTT market.
"As OTT entertainment delivery becomes increasingly popular, traditional direct TV advertising will be replaced by interactive OTT experience and individually targeted advertising."