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Social EPG, Semantics and how BroadCast becomes SocialCast

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Cable operators and telecom IPTV providers are delivering a hundred or more channels to each subscriber. However teens are no longer enticed by TV broadcast and like the Youtube model more. Even a video-on-demand service would not fully cater to their needs because they are interested in the top 5 minutes of a show or gossip program, not the other 40.

In the Twitter-world we got accustomed to URL shorteners like: TinyURL, Bit.ly, Is.gd, etc.  They take a long URL and make it short so it fits. What if a cable or IPTV provider would allow such URL shortening to be made for television programs?

TV Links

In search of a better word, let´s call them TV links. A TV link would be a short URL to a part of a television program that the viewer found interesting. By adding semantics to the part that is being linked, the viewer can provide information about what the TV link is about and why it caught his attention. Also automatically the program title and channel can be added from the public EPG.

Why would you need TV links?

A crowd of viewers that is watching all the hundreds of channels is filtering what is of interest to them and makes TV links to them. They can use the TV links to forward them to their friends on social networks. However by aggregating different TV links you can make social EPGs (electronic program guides). A social EPG is a collection of TV links that a group of viewers find interesting and often has a common theme or interest. Viewers that are under time pressure or from the Youtube generation can then easily pick the social EPG that most interests them and get all the content that peers with similar interests have preselected.  Collective intelligence can be used to find those social EPGs that are more similar to your tastes.

The Social EPG technology

You would need to have a TV or set top box that allows applications to be executed while you watch television. Most Android systems can do this already. Via the TV link app, you would be able to indicate which part of a program you want to create a link for and how you want to tag it. Via the social EPG app you would be able to search for TV links and combine them into a social EPG. The SocialCast app allows you to find and watch social EPGs.

Cloud DVR (digital video recorders) would be needed to be able to rewind and play what was broadcasted in the past. These could either be provided by the cable or IPTV provider but could alternatively also be provided by the TV channel. At the moment TV is wasting a lot of content because each program is being aired and afterwards it disappears in the archives. By having social EPG and TV links this content could be repeated over and over again. Content from years back would all of a sudden get a totally new dimension because the cute little boy that was singing a song has grown into a major star. Fans would collect these TV links into their social fan EPG and post them on their Facebook Walls.

The business model

Having viewers aggregating content so special interest groups can take a look at it, is the ideal marketing vehicle for targeted publicity. The Social EPG for a music star will have publicity around the latest concerts and music downloads. A CSI Fans Social EPG will get you all the CSI merchandise via a single click. Car programs get car publicity.

Hollywood

I am pretty sure that some Hollywood executive would have some objective towards replaying content that was broadcasted before. So a revenue share for the content generators and producers should be part of the eco-system.

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