Interactive TV, SocialTV, Companion Screen Technology Fragmentation

The marriage of many parties in the Interactive TV systems has always been the Achilles heel for a fully integrated homogenous interactive environment.  We have had other pre-2nd screen (i.e. 2nd-Window) systems since the 1990s that have suffered from the same issues described in this article cited below.  Programme/TV Show/Film producers (Pre-Production and Post Production) are still unable to have a “write-once” for a “read-anywhere” business plan due to competing (proprietary/standardised) technologies that are all designed for the same job of Value Added Services. There were, and still are, proprietary and standardised CMS systems available but that still did not answer the age old problem of incompatibility across broadcasters, operators selection of technology in the global TV eco-systems.  The DVB Consortium made something that tried to answer this early on with something called DVB-PCF (Transcoding across different VAS systems) which the BBC worked heavily on.  It never saw the light of day. 

Creating and franchising an interactive TV show using a SocialTV / Companion Screen technology and single back-office system is seen as a pre-requisite in the conquering of this Value Added Service arena.  E.g. The popular reality show ‘The Voice’ out of Holland was successful using Social TV (VAS by Ex-Machina I believe) but this cannot be sold worldwide “as-a-package” into Belgium, UK, LATAM, USA for example for the simple reason of techno-political-business reasons.  This oft then leads to Buisness Plan ROI questions as per all interactive TV systems including the BBC’s Red-Button initiative, which has been heavily scaled back in recent years.

 So we see that 2nd Screen technology technology fragmentation is the same issue as in ALL previous Interactive TV middleware attempts over the last 20 years.  Then add to this new Non-TV Technologies (i.e. designed for the Internet all trying to latch on to the TV eco-system).   Fragmentation and Fit-For-Purpose is an issue that also dogs the new TV eco-system.  Different Social TV and Companion Screen offerings now numbers in their 30s with Civolution, Egonocast, Ex-Machina, Shazam, WyWy, ZeeBox etc. integrating on-screen, 2nd-window, off-programme and full dual-screen synchronisation. 

 There are lots of  other things that are around in the new world of TV Tech – the failed 3DTV and now UHDTV and 4K etc. that are at least keeping us occupied along with Multi-Screen, DRM, CAS, PayTV, OTT and so on and so forth…

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