Verizon Eyes Usage-Based OTT Video Billing

Consumers using a cloud-based DVR on Verizon’s upcoming over-the-top video service might pay fees based on how soon they watch a recorded program following its scheduled broadcast, according to a patent  the telecom giant won on Tuesday.

Tampa, Fla.-based Verizon engineers Bhaskar Gudlavenkatasiva and and Nityanand Sharma are named as inventors on the patent, titled, “Usage based billing for video programs.”

Abstract: A method includes identifying a current time that at least one video program is viewed by at least one device associated with at least one user account. An initial billing time that the at least one video program is to be billed associated with the at least one user account may be identified. The method may include determining whether the current time is equal to the initial billing time. At least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program at the current time may be identified in response to a determination that the current time is equal to the initial billing time. The method may include determining a usage based billing for the at least one user account based on the current time that the at least one video program is viewed and the at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program.

Patent

Claims:

  1. A computer-implemented method comprising: identifying a current time during which at least one video program is viewed by at least one device associated with at least one user account, wherein the current time that the at least one video program is viewed is a span of time from a start of viewing the at least one video program to an end of viewing the at least one video program; identifying an initial billing time associated with the at least one video program; determining whether the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time; identifying at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program in response to a determination that the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time; determining a usage based billing for the at least one user account based on the current time during which the at least one video program is viewed and the at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program, wherein determining the usage based billing comprises using: usage based billing=SUM of (CC*TC*EC*viewing time for each program* BC for each of channels 1 to n), wherein CC (channel coefficient) is a coefficient indicator for a type of channel, TC (time coefficient) is a coefficient indicator for a time window during which the at least one video program is viewed, EC (event coefficient) is a coefficient that indicates a particular event, BC (channel billing coefficient) is a coefficient that is set to 0 for channels that are free to air for viewing, and the viewing time for each program is the time that at least one video program is viewed associated with the at least one user account; analyzing video service usage data to determine a viewing pattern for video programs, wherein the video service usage data identifies content including video programs selected, recorded, or viewed in association with the at least one user account; determining whether a prospective billing plan provides savings with the viewing pattern for video programs when compared with a current billing plan; and outputting a message regarding an availability of the prospective billing plan in response to a determination that the prospective billing plan provides savings with the viewing pattern for video programs when compared with the current billing plan.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: identifying an access fee associated with the at least one user account; and determining a combined billing for the at least one user account based on the usage based billing and the access fee.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein determining whether the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time further comprises: identifying the initial billing time as a broadcast time for the at least one video program, wherein the broadcast time is one or more of a time during which the at least one video program is initially received or a span of time associated with a digital video recording of the at least one video program; and determining whether the current time substantially corresponds to the broadcast time.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein identifying the initial billing time further comprises: identifying a plurality of times that the at least one video program is viewed by a plurality of user devices; determining a first time during which the at least one video program is viewed based on the plurality of times that the at least one video program is viewed by the plurality of user devices; and identifying the first time as the initial billing time.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein identifying the initial billing time associated with the at least one video program further comprises: determining whether the at least one video program is one of a pay per view (PPV) program or a video on demand (VOD) program; and identifying a time during which the at least one video program is viewed as the initial billing time in response to a determination that the program is not one of a PPV program or a VOD program.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein identifying the current time during which the at least one video program is viewed, further comprises: identifying one or more of a view start, a view end, a broadcast start, or a broadcast end, wherein the view start is a time that viewing begins for the at least one video program, the view end is a time that viewing ends for the at least one video program, broadcast start is a time that receiving the at least one video program begins for the at least one video program, and broadcast end is a time that receiving the at least one video program ends for the at least one video program.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a view program selection query from the at least one device; sending a list of available video programs associated with the at least one user account to the at least one device; receiving a selection of a video program from the list of available video programs; and enabling the at least one device to receive the selected video program.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 7, further comprising: determining video service usage data based on the selected video program; and outputting the video service usage data to a billing device.
  1. A device, comprising: a memory to store a plurality of instructions; and a processor configured to execute instructions in the memory to: identify a current time during which at least one video program is viewed by at least one device associated with at least one user account, wherein the current time that the at least one video program is viewed is a span of time from a start of viewing the at least one video program to an end of viewing the at least one video program; identify an initial billing time associated with the at least one video program; determine whether the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time; identify at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program in response to a determination that the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time; determine a usage based billing for the at least one user account based on the current time during which the at least one video program is viewed and the at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program, wherein determining the usage based billing comprises using: usage based billing=SUM of (CC*TC*EC*viewing time for each program*BC for each of channels 1 to n), wherein CC (channel coefficient) is a coefficient indicator for a type of channel, TC (time coefficient) is a coefficient indicator for a time window during which the at least one video program is viewed, EC (event coefficient) is a coefficient that indicates a particular event, BC (channel billing coefficient) is a coefficient that is set to 0 for channels that are free to air for viewing, and the viewing time for each program is the time that at least one video program is viewed associated with the at least one user account; analyze video service usage data associated with the at least one user account to determine a viewing pattern for video programs, wherein the video service usage data identifies content including video programs selected, recorded, or viewed in association with the at least one account; determine whether a prospective billing plan is more closely aligned based on cost savings with the viewing pattern for video programs than a current billing plan; and output a message regarding an availability of the prospective billing plan in response to a determination that the prospective billing plan is more closely aligned with the viewing pattern for video programs than the current billing plan.
  1. The device of claim 9, wherein the processor is further configured to: identify an access fee associated with at least one user account for at least one user device in a network; and determine a combined billing for the at least one user account based on the usage based billing and the access fee.
  1. The device of claim 9, wherein when determining whether the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time, the processor is further configured to: identify the initial billing time as a broadcast time for the at least one video program, wherein the broadcast time is a time during which the at least one video program is initially received; and determine whether the current time substantially corresponds to the broadcast time.
  1. The device of claim 9, wherein when identifying the initial billing time, the processor is configured to: identify a plurality of times that the at least one video program is viewed by a plurality of user devices; determine a first time during which the at least one video program is viewed based on the plurality of times that the at least one video program is viewed by the plurality of user devices; and identify the first time as the initial billing time.
  1. The device of claim 9, wherein identifying the initial billing time associated with the at least one video program, the processor is further configured to: determine whether the program is one of a pay per view (PPV) program or a video on demand (VOD) program; and identify a time during which the at least one video program is viewed as the initial billing time in response to a determination that the program is not one of a PPV program or a VOD program.
  1. The device of claim 9, wherein when identifying the current time during which the at least one video program is viewed, the processor is further configured to: identify one or more of a view start, a view end, a broadcast start, or a broadcast end, wherein the view start is a time that viewing begins for the at least one video program, the view end is a time that viewing ends for the at least one video program, broadcast start is a time that receiving the at least one video program begins for the at least one video program, and broadcast end is a time that receiving the at least one video program ends for the at least one video program.
  1. A non-transitory computer-readable medium including instructions to be executed by a processor, the instructions including one or more instructions, when executed by the processor, for causing the processor to: identify a current time during which at least one video program is viewed by at least one device associated with at least one user account, wherein the current time that the at least one video program is viewed is a span of time from a start of viewing the at least one video program to an end of viewing the at least one video program; identify an initial billing time associated with the at least one video program; determine whether the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time; identify at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program at the current time in response to a determination that the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time; determine a usage based billing for the at least one user account based on the current time during which the at least one video program is viewed and the at least one coefficient associated with the at least one video program, wherein determining the usage based billing comprises using: usage based billing=SUM of (CC*TC*EC*viewing time for each program* BC for each of channels 1 to n), wherein CC (channel coefficient) is a coefficient indicator for a type of channel, TC (time coefficient) is a coefficient indicator for a time window during which the at least one video program is viewed, EC (event coefficient) is a coefficient that indicates a particular event, BC (channel billing coefficient) is a coefficient that is set to 0 for channels that are free to air for viewing, and the viewing time for each program is the time that at least one video program is viewed associated with the at least one user account; identify an access fee associated with at least one user account for at least one user device in a network; determine a combined billing for the at least one user account based on the usage based billing and the access fee; analyze video service usage data associated with the at least one user account to determine a viewing pattern for video programs, wherein the video service usage data identifies content including video programs selected, recorded, or viewed in association with the at least one account; determine whether a prospective billing plan provides savings with the viewing pattern for video programs when compared with a current billing plan; and output a message regarding an availability of the prospective billing plan in response to a determination that the prospective billing plan provides savings with the viewing pattern for video programs when compared with the current billing plan.
  1. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 15, where when determining whether the current time substantially corresponds to the initial billing time, the one or more instructions further includes instructions for causing the processor to: identify the initial billing time as a broadcast time for the at least one video program, wherein the broadcast time is a time at which the at least one video program is initially received; and determine whether the current time substantially corresponds to the broadcast time.
  1. The device of claim 9, wherein the processor is further configured to: receive a request for available video programs that are viewable without additional billing to the at least one user account; identify at least one previously viewed video program that has been billed within a current billing cycle; identify at least one recorded video program that has been recorded by a digital video recorder (DVR) associated with the identified at least one previously viewed video program that has been billed within a current billing cycle; and provide information regarding an availability of the available video programs that are viewable without additional billing to the at least one user account that includes the identified at least one previously viewed video program and the identified at least one recorded video program.
  1. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a request for available video programs that are viewable without additional billing to the at least one user account; identifying at least one previously viewed video program that has been billed within a current billing cycle; identifying at least one recorded video program that has been recorded by a digital video recorder (DVR) associated with the identified at least one previously viewed video program that has been billed within a current billing cycle; and providing information regarding an availability of the available video programs that are viewable without additional billing to the at least one user account that includes the identified at least one previously viewed video program and the identified at least one recorded video program.
  1. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 15, where, when identifying the initial billing time, the one or more instructions further includes instructions for causing the processor to: identify a plurality of times that the at least one video program is viewed by a plurality of user devices; determine a first time during which the at least one video program is viewed based on the plurality of times that the at least one video program is viewed by the plurality of user devices; and identify the first time as the initial billing time.
  1. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 15, where the one or more instructions further includes instructions for causing the processor to: determine video service usage data based on the selected video program; and output the video service usage data to a billing device.

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