Spring Technical Forum Explores Content Discovery

The 2011 Spring Technical Forum - hosted by CableLabs, NCTA and SCTE.While there is a lot of big picture thinking at the Cable Show, much of the discussion revolves around much narrower topics.  The 2011 Spring Technical Forum allows innovators to present papers and that may eventually change the way operators deliver, promote and manage content.

An afternoon panel exploring ways for subscribers to discover content presented a number of things operators can do to help their customers find what they want to watch.

  • Michael Papish of Rovi Corporation presented changes in content ID technology that allows operators to present data about programs, but also the recommendation of related content.
  • Steve Tranter of NDS discussed changes that will allow storage of guide data in the headend, while pushing supplemental guides to the set top box on demand.  Changes will also allow delivery of different guides over IP to tablets and PC, but also allow integration of social media and additional content from the Internet.
  • Rob Malnati of Motorola Mobility discussed TV Everywhere deployments and suggested a compelling web experience – allowing interaction with games, converged media, social networks – is the next step.  For example, customers want to share their content consumption and get recommendations from friends.Those experiences should become the experience on the set top as well, providing a continuous experience.  Additionally, using the laptop or tablet as a companion device allow new ways to interact with TV while watching.
  • CableLabs’ Frank Sandoval suggests that cable subscribers are a social network, connected through cable, and whose collective viewing habits shape the network.  The remaining piece is the creation of broader interaction. The key would be separating the customer’s highly secure information (billing, etc) from things like viewing history that could provide recommendations etc. the benefit, however, would be to provide social structure to television consumption.
  • Comcast’s Agustin Schapira discussed the API’s that operators can create to facilitate the types of innovation the other panelists presented, highlighting rules they should follow.  The rules, Agustin says, are that APIs should not create a burden, should not result in losing control of services, should be easy for developers to leverage, should not add obscurity, and their deployment and use should be possible within 30 minutes.

 

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Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com.

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