This week was a bit hectic for me, attending two conferences on two continents in the span of a few days. If the insights I came away with are any indication, it was well worth the effort.
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of participating in the Videonuze Ad Summit in New York. This excellent event featured a fireside chat with John Miller – a VP at News Corp – being interviewed by Amy Chozick, a reporter with The New York Times. Of the many fascinating things that John said during the conversation, one in particular stood out. When Amy asked him about the blending of applications and television, he stated flatly that “TV was an app.” By way of explanation he went on to talk about the “channelization of the web,” meaning that content would increasingly be delivered over the web to devices through specific applications.
It’s worth stopping for a moment to consider this remark. In my presentations at the conference (and others like it over the last couple of years) I have frequently talked about exactly this issue. As television gets drawn into the connected world, the experience will be defined not just by the programs themselves, but derived from the combination of video content with data about the show (also called metadata) and an application that brings it all together.
I think this goes to the heart of what John meant when he claimed that TV was but an app. Metadata in combination with the app will enable you to find a program, see subtitles in any language you desire, find information about actors and subjects covered, and (should you desire) show you tweets and posts about the program. In a very real sense then, Experience = Video + Data + App.
Which brings me to a related subject that cropped up the next day at a conference in London.
On Wednesday, I chaired the afternoon session of the second day of Informa’s Digital Home World Summit. At the end of the day, John Paton (Digital Media Development Officer for the Royal National Institute for the Blind) gave a presentation on how the new connected TV platforms can and should do much more than just entertain us: it can also be used to enhance the experience for the disabled.
He urged developers in the audience to take advantage of features in connected platforms to build apps that to make it easier for those with partial sight to join the fun. For example, both Apple and Android platforms provide text-to-speech engines and voice recognition that can be used by such applications. Automatic content recognition systems can also be coopted to enable descriptive audio tracks.
Once you consider TV as but an application in the world of connected entertainment, all sorts of possibilities open up. I urge you to think more deeply about how this new understanding can redefine the entertainment experience for all sorts of consumers, both traditional and non-traditional.