Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seasonal Spirit

2007 has been a year of surprising co-operation. NewsCorp and NBC teamed up to launch Hulu and, in the UK, the three main broadcasters have announced that they are launching a unified player. At the moment, everyone is co-operating with everyone else, and the technology available, from SMIL or ASX playlists to RSS feeds easily facilitates this.

What the viewer wants is simple. They want one interface through which they can access all of the content available out there. In a world of convergence, short form 'point and click' sites such as YouTube have far more in common with websites than they do with television, and most people have long ditched the keyboard that came with their cablebox. So the issue becomes complex.

I suspect the answer is the interface design. This in itself becomes problematic when you have thousands of channels and millions of clips. Remember you've ditched your keyboard, so doing mobile phone text-like searching is likely to be the solution when searching for clips. Or to sit back and watch a good, old-fashioned scheduled channel. A third alternative is that the intelligent TV knows what you're interested in.

Whatever the solution, aggregation is the way forward, but I doubt if the current levels of co-operation will survive once sizable revenues are being generated, but it's good to see media giants co-operating for a change.

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