The subject of this piece is navigation, search and recommendation on modern day television platforms. The standard way of navigating through the hundreds of channels via the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) is heavily criticised. The EPG is called antiquated; Linear TV channel and programme line-ups are very old-fashioned is all we hear. Surely we have a better system? We know we do and it is called Apps! The future of Television is Apps is it not? After all we do Apps on the telephone, tablet, so why not on the TV? Let’s have an Apps dashboard approach for the navigation of content.
Simple! Errrm! Nope!
An Apps driven navigation platform expects everyone to have a mental programme/film database for the plethora of coloured tiles (Apps) that hide content within them. As we split the content into a myriad of ‘coloured tiles’ on an interface, we all start only watching the top ten that we can remember. There are thousands of programmes that do not get watched, not because the content is bad, but because it just never appears anywhere. Then the Apps all need to fight it out for prime position on the 42″ screen. Everyone wants to be the only entertainment theatre in town, so it is a real-estate war (As it is on the EPG). Just as in Google search if you are not on the 1st page between 1 and 10 you are purportedly toast. Android TV just added 600 Apps. This is just the start. So is there an answer to rid us of all of this fragmented, App, coloured tile, buried content complexity? Can we offer a better system that makes it easier for the consumer? Well, it seems we can. It is already deployed. It is called voice!
“Hello! Is it ME your looking for?” Yes, we can just talk to the device and ask it for something to watch. Yes, we can just ask the device for a particular film, programme or TV personality and the system will present all the options available to us across the TV eco-system. It is called Universal Search and it is a new way of navigating the millions of programmes available on the system. Simple! As we travel around all the TV business to business seminars, people are raving about this new system and how this system is the saving grace for accessing all TV content.
Wait a minute! Does this not mean the end of the App? Because in the case of Universal Search it quite honestly does not matter behind which brand a particular content features anymore, does it? It’s just stored somewhere, and we ask for it with voice and then it is presented in a selectable list. No need to bother yourself with what sits behind what App; woohoo! Who cares whether it is is Hulu or Netflix, or NowTV or Roku or ESPN or Disney it is the content that we want to watch … So we just ask for the content and it will appear!
Wait a minute! As we will never see anything presented in any format in this new buried content paradigm how will we get to know what content is available across all of our services connected to our TV? Perhaps we can go back to the old paper TV Guide and can look up content that is available (Like a Karaoke Catalogue) and then holler to the device so it can do all the work. The TV industry can then stop wasting money on all this Apps malarkey and the need for continual software upgrading, supporting of all their complex individual back-ends et al. The TV world can just fill a big repository with wonderful content and go about promoting it…We as consumers will get what we want when we want where we want, by asking for it…and in any language.
Wait a Minute! How will the content be monetized? Well, as it will be true ‘a la carte’, so you only pay for what you watch, or not, if it is Ad supported.
I believe that Amazon has already hatched this plan …