Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yahoo and Tivo take a step toward Coactive TV

What was announced on 11/7 is just a baby step, but this alliance could be a watershed. Now you can schedule your Tivo while Web surfing on Yahoo with your PC. Web scheduling of Tivos is not new. Doing it from Yahoo's TV pages does not seem like much of a step further.

But this is a step toward the Media Concierge, one that both Yahoo and Tivo can easily build into a killer linkage of Web and TV services.

Right now, I can't find a recommender (like Tivo's) on Yahoo TV. But AOL TV has one. Tivo may still be hesitant to take its crown jewels off its closed TV box, but that seems inevitable. Once it is there on Yahoo, I can sit down once or twice a week with my PC to review recommendations, link to reviews from Yahoo or any Web source, check RottenTomatoes or MetaCritic, check my friends opinions (maybe using structured blogging), and then just click what I want to record.

It also lays the foundations for real coactivity, where what you see on the Web is in the context of what you watch on TV, what I call CoTV. CoTV is aimed at the millions of people who frequently surf the Web on a laptop while watching TV on their TV. CoTV connects those media activities.

One of the hurdles for CoTV is privacy: will people be concerned that some Web site knows what they are watching on TV? But if you scheduled your Tivo to record a program from Yahoo, you already know and accept that Yahoo knows that. So if Yahoo gives you links related to that program (or to ads running with that program) while you are watching it, you won't be very surprised or concerned. (And Yahoo could give you an opt in that lets you turn it off completely or selectively.)

That means Yahoo can begin to exploit the many opportunities of CoTV, such as

  • Showing pages related to what you are watching -- sports statistics, movie casts, news stories and background.
  • Showing ads related to the ads you are watching (or skipping) -- where the big money is.
  • Moving on to advanced ways to richly coordinate Web and TV tasks such as those that as I describe as "link-and-pause"

Plus, the Times article on this notes that similar linkage is coming for Media Center PCs. This may start as just ordinary-Web-on-the-TV-box, but again, real CoTV may get a new opportunity to take root as well. And the Media Center PC is an open box that Yahoo can build rich function into as it desires.

This kind of power-assisted multitasking has been slow to develop, and may continue to be slow, but the pieces are falling into place...


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Future of the Web -- in Many Dimensions

Just when we think we understand the Web, we find it has yet another dimension. As in my recent blog post on Search and the Social Web, we can think about the Social Web as a level beyond the Public Web and the Private Web. At other times, we may be thinking about Web services and the Semantic Web as a next level.

As a way to think about the big picture, I suggest we think of these as particular dimensions in a Web that has many dimensions. I have a list of at least eight dimensions to think about now, and there are probably others I have missed, with more yet to surface. My current list:

  1. The Content Web -- the familiar Web of HTML and other basic content. This includes various sub-dimensions -- including dimensions of ownership and control, including the Public Web and the Private Web (the Dark Web) -- and dimensions of content type, including the HTML Web, the Audio Web, and the Video Web.
  2. The Social Web -- the added dimension of social networks that has become a hotbed. This applies the wisdom of Web users, both at large and in your social network -- and adding a level of what people think about content (including tagging, ratings, reputation, etc.).
  3. The Semantic Web -- the added dimension of metadata, concepts, and semantic information. This facilitates understanding by both people and machines, and supports the integration of Web functions in all dimensions. It had been limited to simple metadata, but is beginning to have much bigger impacts, particularly in business services --and in the collaborative, user-generated semantics of tags, ratings, and reputation (that come from the Social Web).
  4. The Service Web -- the Web of Web Services. This includes intelligent processing, transactions, computations, algorithms, grids, and informatics, that is increasingly powerful and well integrated. It brings the full power of computers into the linked mesh of the Web.
  5. The Spatial Web -- the dimension of location and geography, including the Local Web. This relates primarily to geo-coordinates, and brings the power of geographic information systems into the Web. Google Maps mashups are a current hot area.
  6. The Temporal Web -- the dimension of time. This has at least two subdimensions: a dimension of external time (the time the nodes are about, eg: when Julius Caeser died), and a dimension of Web time (the time the nodes took on their current content, eg: when the HBO Rome series went on the air). This includes the Web of Now (new Web pages and hot links, or the current external news) and the Web of the Past (the Wayback Machine, or external history), and the Web of the Future (forecasts).
  7. The Sensor Web -- the dimension of external reality, especially reality that is automatically sensed from sensor grids and/or physical tags. It dates as far back as the Cambridge coffee pot webcam, but the real impact of massive sensor grids is still some time off.
  8. The Communications Web -- the dimension of the many modes of human communications. This includes integrated messaging (phone, cell, email, SMS/MMS, IM, audio/video conferencing, etc) and multi-modal content and services (and the Web services that facilitate that).

My list started with just a few dimensions and quickly grew to eight. Like Monty Python's Spanish Inquisitors, "Amongst the chief dimensions of the Web are..."

Because the pace of development of these dimensions is variable, these are not so much successive levels or stages, but different dimensions in an n-dimensional space. They always exist in the abstract, but take on depth at their individual pace. Some of these are significantly developed already, while others are lacking in depth. Some are hot, and may have ups and downs as fads, while others are nascent.

It helps to step back to think of all of these dimensions now and then, to keep the big picture in mind. Otherwise we risk being like blind men talking about an elephant.

It also is useful to look as sub-spaces of two or three dimensions. Some groupings have obvious synergy, such as Spatial, Temporal, and Sensor, which relate to the real world. A key value of the Social Web is as a new and powerful way to create the Semantic Web.

Similarly, we can look at how one dimension relates to all others. For example, to understand location-based services, we can consider each of the other dimensions in projection onto the geo-spatial dimension, and then conceive new services from that perspective (as is happening with Google Maps mashups).

This idea of dimensions may have value in developing new navigation tools that let us surf the Web with a clear sense of multi-dimensionality -- able to move selectively in one or more dimensions, and to see our path from that perspective. Google Maps mash-ups gives a hint of this, with navigation keyed off the Spatial Web (dimension in the real world), moving back and forth from the Content Web to the Sensor Web, and with hybrids like combined map and satellite views. More virtual navigators enable us to view the Web by time, by concept (tag), by social network, etc.

This n-dimensional view seems to offer a powerful way to think about the Web and its future. It is complementary to the vision of Web 2.0 -- Web 2.0 addresses methods that make the Web more powerful and dynamic and rich in texture, in any and all dimensions. The dimensions are what give the Web its shape and extent.

Please comment with your feedback on these and other dimensions -- and on the perspectives they give rise to.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Simplifying TV+Web Multitasking By Using Bookmarks

TV+Web multitasking is a growing user phenomenon, but media companies are still afraid of it. Bookmarking can be adapted to make this simpler and less intimidating all around -- and this becomes even more powerful when using DVRs.

The idea of providing links to facilitate interaction that relates to a video program has been around for years, but the concern remains that it is too much for viewers to follow links while viewing video -- that they will be overwhelmed and miss too much. (This applies whether the links go to the Web, which may be on a second screen, or they are links to special TV-based interactive content, which may be on the TV screen.)

I suggest some new paradigms will enable flexible multitasking in the age of DVRs and VOD.

  • Task overload from video can be minimized by letting users link-and-pause, pausing the video while they pursue a tangential link, then resuming the video -- this is described in another post.
  • Task overload from links can by minimized by using bookmarks. Bookmarks can provide a complementary facility that lets people defer the links and then follow them later.
  • The combination of link-and-pause plus bookmarks allows for a flexible multitasking flow in which the viewer can decide when to pause the video while following a links, and when to defer the links while continuing the video.

These bookmarks are much like standard Web browser bookmarks (or "favorites"), but it is helpful to organize them as they relate to the video -- such as by program, and by time into a program. That way the viewer can go back and find links corresponding to a particular program segment (such as details on a sports play or on a news story, or relating to the program in general).

Links can also be organized by advertiser -- for those cases where we are interested in a product, but don't want to break the flow of our TV viewing. This works even when we skip an ad with our DVR but still notice that it was there. That helps makes advertising win-win, since advertisers would love to increase their exposure and close the loop -- and consumers would find it makes advertising more useful and relevant.

That also provides a way to counter the biggest negative effect of DVRs -- that ad-skipping is eroding the advertising revenues of the TV networks. Bookmarked ads can counter that trend and increase the effectiveness of TV ads, by providing new forms of engagement, making the ads more directly responsive, and getting them to work even when skipped by many viewers. Instead of resisting the use of DVRs, I suggest that TV networks accept the fact that they are coming quickly, whether they like it not -- and that if they try it, they will like it.

This kind of flexible multitasking is an aspect of what I call coactive TV, and is described in a brief article, along with a scenario of how a typical multitasking flow might play out.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Social Web, Search, and User-Generated Organization of Content

One of the most interesting and recurrent themes of last night's panel discussion on Search was what Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo! described as The Social Web. The theme of this MIT Enterprise Forum symposium (which I moderated) was Search is King: Guiding Consumers to Content, and Bradley described key frontiers of Web growth as

  1. The Public Web – published pages on servers
  2. The Private Web – the personal desktop, which is now being integrated with search
  3. The Social Web – which applies the wisdom of Web users, both at large and in your social network.

This theme was woven through all of the presentations, showing that a common thread of many of the most interesting developments of search – and how it relates to the broader evolution of digital content – is that of user-generated organization of content. User generated content is becoming a major force, but what what promises to make it really useful – without burying us in drivel and irrelevancies – is user-generated organization of content.

We spoke last night of user-generated content and the Long Tail, of tags and folksonomies, of social networks, of reputation and authority, and of guides and recommenders. All of these relate to the real intelligence of the Web being not machine intelligence, but the ability of machines to help people share their human intelligence in far more powerful and efficient ways.

  • Bradley spoke of Flickr and MyWeb 2.0 , and the culture of participation, with a pyramid of creators (e.g.: 1 in 100), synthesizers (10 in 100), and consumers (100). He also spoke of Yahoo!'s FUSE objective: "Enable people to Find, Use, Share, and Expand all human knowledge."
  • Marissa Mayer of Google's comments reflected the inherent social web component of Google's PageRank system, which favors pages that are linked to by many other Web authors. She also noted the power of user-generated video in a world where millions of people have high quality video cameras and Final Cut skills.
  • Karen Howe of AOL/Singingfish described the efforts to make all that video searchable, and how the descriptors users include with their postings aid in that.
  • Salim Ismail of PubSub spoke of new ways to make user-generated content more accessible, including Semantic Web-based methods of "structured blogging" that can allow special content such as user reviews to be effectively searched and aggregated.

I have been a believer in the power of "man-machine symbiosis" since reading Licklider's classic article (and the hypertext visions of Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart) decades ago. The Social Web, and this idea of user-generated organization of content, exploit the power in using machine intelligence to do what it does best, and applying that to augment the real intelligence that humans do best. This has been a long time in coming, but this aspect of "Web 2.0" promises to be a major step in that direction.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Search is King: Guiding Consumers to Content -- NYC 9/28

A symposium by the MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC on September 28 will explore where search is going, and how it will transform the content marketplace. The panel includes four key executives from major and emerging search engines. (I have the honor of moderating.)

The next wave of consumer search technology is dramatically altering the consumer content markets and has significant implications for media companies, publishers, advertisers and consumers. Search engines’ role as the omniscient gatekeepers to digital information is changing the rules of the content game.

This expanded role is supported by the spread of search services beyond mere text searches, to video, audio, personal/desktop, and local/map search. Come and see visual demonstrations of the next wave in consumer search, and how it is vastly expanding the influence of the Internet.

Some of the issues this session will seek to shed light on include:
- What are the latest search services and technologies?
- How is consumer behavior changing?
- How are businesses benefiting from the new search technologies?
- What is happening as an increasing amount of content is digital and search engines are increasingly the omnipresent gatekeepers to all digital content?

Paid keyword ads generate big money, but there is far more to search than that!

Details of the symposium are at


Monday, May 16, 2005

Simultaneous TV+Web use at 20%

Market research shows that simultaneous use of TV and the Web is increasingly common -- at about 20%. Forrester 2004 North Amercian user data cited in the April 2, 2005 Economist is the latest of many reports (see others at the CoTV site).

--"What else where you doing when you last used the Internet?" 20% "watched TV." That was the most common task, compared to 19% for "talked on the phone," 17% for "listened to the radio," and 2% for "read a newspaper."

--"What else where you doing when you last watched TV?" 17% "used the Internet"

This is further evidence that the market is ripe for CoTV (Coactive TV). CoTV software automatically harnesses the context of whatever a viewer is watching on TV to push related Web links and content to their PC screen. That provides a power-assist to TV-Web multitasking that directly links use of TV and the Web, to enhance both content and advertising.

(The Economist summary of the Forrester data provides no background -- any details on that data, or leads to other such data are invited.)


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Link-and-Pause – Media Multitasking in the Age of DVRs

Drag-and-drop made the use of PCs simple and powerful enough for the masses. Link-and-pause can do the same for media multitasking (simultaneous TV and Web use).

Growing masses of people now surf the Web while watching TV. This is building on the wide availability of wireless notebooks, and the readiness of heavy media users (especially younger ones) to multitask.

Yet many still question whether couch potatoes really want to multitask. That is reminiscent of an earlier question of whether ordinary consumers would want to use a PC – one that rightly raised much skepticism until the introduction of graphical user interfaces (like the Mac and Windows) radically simplified PC use.

Link-and-pause refers to the ability to initiate a Web interaction related to a TV program (or movie or other video or music) – and, as that is done, to pause the program. This can work like a traffic cop to selectively control multitasking. In this way intervals of interactvity can alternate with intervals of linear viewing, without either one interfering with the other. For example, you might link from a movie to the cast and credits to see who an actor is, and what else you saw him in. Link-and-pause can pause the movie while you do that. This enables the user to control when both media should be active concurrently – and when coactive multitasking should take the simpler path of alternating threads of unitasking activity.

The TV industry does not yet appreciate the simplicity and control that link-and-pause offers. Their concern has been that the TV program will continue on while the viewer interacts with other content, so the viewer misses the remainder of the program – that users will have a less satisfying experience, and that TV producers will lose their audience, along with the audience for their commercial sponsors.

What they forget is that with DVRs, users need not let the TV program run on while they pursue a tangential interactive task. With link-and-pause, this task switch can be automated, so that links are presented to assist in taking such tangents, and the actuation of such links can cause the TV to pause (or not, as the user desires). This enables a new kind of media usage we might call hypertasking.

A more extensive discussion of link-and-pause – and the complementary use of flexible bookmarking to control multitasking activity on the Web side – as well as the broader concepts of "coactive media" – is at the Coactive TV (CoTV) Web site.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A New "Blue Ocean Strategy" for TiVo: CoTiVo

To win big TiVo must be more than just a premium feature offered by Comcast and other distributors. TiVo needs a new way to stand out. Being better than Brand X (like Apple) gives them a niche, but to really be a power they must be more than just a better box, or another feature offered by Comcast and other distributors. CoTiVo is a new way to extend Tivo's Tahiti strategy beyond their proprietary set-top/media center boxes, into profitable waters in which the cable and satellite guys will be out of their depth.

TiVo began with a classic "blue ocean strategy" that created a new market space based on a new user value proposition ("TV your way") in which competition was largeley irrelevant. But the competition is now out in force. TiVo needs to change the game again, to find a new blue ocean.

They have a half step to this in their Tahiti strategy, which they say provides "an easy way to find and control content from any broadcast or broadband source." "TiVo's product and service platform will offer consumers broader choice in programming and the convenience to take their favorite shows with them to enjoy anywhere they choose." This could be a brilliant start toward what Joe Uva (President of ad giant OMD, and a TiVo board member) calls "the media concierge."

What is missing is removing this concierge from dependence on the TiVo/set-top box, and making it platform agnostic -- a distributed, Web-centered service, that can serve all users, with any kind of set-top boxes (STBs), and for all of their media. This ties in with the kind of cross-device TV+PC/Web services that I have described as coactive TV -- thus "CoTiVo."

Such a CoTiVo service could reach a mass market far beyond any realistic hope for TiVo boxes, or for TiVo software on other people's STBs -- and could move TiVo into a central and highly profitable role as the media concierge service for all of our boxes. (It could also enhance the market for TiVo boxes or TiVo STB software as a preferred device for all users of CoTiVo services.) By moving beyond the set-top box into a Web-based, cross-platform media concierge business, TiVo could sail away from the battle of the boxes (and a distributor-dominated margin squeeze) into a large blue ocean of services that cable and satellite companies are poorly equipped to compete in or put pressure on.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Media Concierge Services – A New Choke Point in the Media Business

Media concierge services could be good news for users, and bad news for current TV distribution services.

Media concierge services are a new class of tools to help viewers find and manage media content from any broadcast, broadband or local source. This comprehensive user-centered view will become critical as media options expand – and can enable highly profitable ownership of the consumer's media selection processes (if done in a way that serves users and avoids "evil").

Joe Uva, President of ad giant OMD, recently introduced the term "media concierge." He describes it as "an on-the-premises concierge that oversees media entering and leaving my home ... recommending and selecting media for consumption; scheduling appointments and devices for consumption ... locate and record information of value to me while allowing me to avoid information or content which I have no interest in ... assist me in making transactions with third parties ... act as a janitor or custodian for my files ... allow my behavior and habits to be measured by others while protecting my privacy."

I suggest that centering these services on a PC/Web platform allows them to be powerful and comprehensive – not only to span TV, VOD, IP, DVD, music, home entertainment libraries, and theatrical viewing, but to support any user viewing and content delivery platform, including standard TV, DVRs, other advanced CE/AV devices, and any Internet media – and to do this with powerful selection, navigation and personalization user interface features that are beyond the reach of a TV-based user interface. As these services are used, the user interface may migrate from the PC to the TV, music system, or other devices (drawing on the kind of cross-device services described in my work on coactive TV), but the heavy lifting can draw on the full power, openness, and economy of Web services.

This new locus of power could be very good news for users, and the companies that serve them (much like Web search), and bad news for current TV distribution services that seek to maintain their own media access choke points and walled gardens.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Do couch potatoes really want to interact with their TVs?

That is the question Phillip Swann asks in his "Unconventional Analysis of TV Technology." But is that the important question? I suggest being a bit more unconventional. Users do not want to interact with their TVs. But sometimes they want to interact with content that relates to what is on their TVs (and sometimes they want to do that interaction using their TVs).

The important question is: Do they want to interact while watching their TVs?

It is increasingly clear that they do. "The number of minutes adults spend simultaneously surfing the Web and watching TV has increased a dramatic 72 percent, from an average of 174 minutes per week in 2001 to 300 minutes per week in 2004, according to the latest 'Media in Mind' survey by Universal McCann." (1/28/05 Clickz article).

What few in the industry are willing to accept is that a TV is a pretty lame device to interact with. But the numbers show users are very happy to interact with their PCs while watching TV.

Most of that interaction is unrelated to what they are watching on TV, but a significant portion is related, even though they have to create that relationship the hard way. I suggest far more interaction would be TV-related if that were made easier.

So the real question is when will services make it easy to interact while watching TV. CoTV, "coactive TV" is a simple application of technology to facilitate that. More and more people are beating around that bush.

The TV industry does not want to think about that. But the Web industry is just one or two steps away.

All that is needed is for one Web service to decide to support that pent up demand. I have been talking to key people at several major Web portals. They are not quite there yet, but they are getting closer...


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Those Who Do Not Remember the History of the Web...

TV companies have missed the lessons of the Web. They prefer to avoid learning them, and so seem doomed to repeat them. Walled gardens and proprietary technologies cannot survive for long in the digital world except in niches. Advanced TV can grow like the Web -- and create a larger pie for everyone, but the TV distributors prefer to protect their comfortable but failing monopoly business models. That will not work for much longer.

What lessons? Before the Web, in the early '90, online services like AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve had been struggling for years, investing many millions, trying to get people online, with only the most gradual success. They used closed, proprietary technology platforms, and they limited services to the "walled gardens" of content they controlled.

When the Web emerged and became easy to use with Mosaic and Netscape, it provided an open platform that encouraged an outpouring of entrepreneurial content and service providers. The old line online services fought that tide for a few years, arguing that most people really wanted the order and simplicity of a walled garden, but soon were overwhelmed by the upstarts. AOL found a half open, half walled niche by providing a high level of customer value for casual dialup users and kids, but the others were assimilated--and now AOL is floundering again.

Cable and satellite may have a couple more years to exploit their monopoly platforms and fight any service innovations they do not see bringing them monopoly rents, before Internet TV becomes a tidal force. However, they would better serve their stockholders by moving quickly to build a relationship with their customers that is based on value rather than exclusivity, one that will position them for the new world of open media. There are huge opportunities for new and profitable services, but their monopoly-minded managers are blind to them. If they do not get ahead of history soon, history will race ahead of them.

This could also be a prime opportunity for Telco TV services, since they have the advantage of starting fresh -- but the Web dynamic is as alien to Telcos as it is to cable operators. Only time will tell if one breed of dinosaur gets nimble, or those funny little companies poking out of the grass take over.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Tyranny of the Media Boxes

One of the ideals of user-centered media, as I see it, is to free us from a tyranny of the boxes. Users want to have their media content accessible from whatever box suits their current need -- as new home media centers, gateways, and adapters now seek to facilitate. Content publishers also want to maximize the ways consumers can use their content (subject to reasonable payment).

But the distributors of media (especially TV) are wedded to platforms that deliver content only to specific viewing boxes (TVs with closed set-top boxes). Cable and satellite operators exploit their closed boxes to build walled gardens that limit what and how we view. They like the idea of interactivity, but only when they have full control over it.

Coactive media technology is oriented to the idea that users should be able to use whatever box they like, at any time. Sometimes we want to lean back to view a TV from across the room (the "ten foot interface"), but sometimes we want to lean forward at a PC (the "two foot interface"). Similarly, when we interact with content related to what is on TV, we may want to lean back with the TV or lean forward with the PC. Even the people building PC-based media centers seem to think we want all media-related tasks to be done via the "ten foot interface."

I want a second screen to use with my TV, with the full power of a PC -- for program listings and information, to schedule my DVR, etc. Not all of the time, but some of the time. I already have the screen (a wireless laptop)--why can't I decide when to use it? Advanced versions of CoTV will enable me to decide what box to use when for TV-related tasks. ...Do you want your CoTV?

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Idea Adoption Agency

Collaborative intelligence is one of the most powerful aspects of user-centered media. One example that is near to my heart as an inventor, and as a fan of electronic communities, is The Idea Adoption Agency.

This is designed to be an open marketplace and large-scale collaboration medium for disclosure and development of very early-stage inventions.
  • It applies collaborative rating processes within a large online community of innovators to bubble-up and refine good ideas from any contributor.
  • It also exploits the 1-year grace-period for US patent filing, as a way for this process to capture value that is commonly lost -- for original inventors and value-adding participants/developers/commercializers -- and for society. (Inventors can expose ideas openly, then file within 1 year.)

This draws on the same powerful energies as the open source software movement and Creative Commons. Some may oppose patents completely, but I suggest that this opens up the patent system to much wider participation and fairness -- and can appeal to advocates of free speech, if not of free beer.

While a direct ROI case for funding such a business is challenging, I believe it could provide huge social value (with only modest investment) --by enabling the productive adoption and development of the large numbers of good ideas that are now lost because they do not find the support they deserve. I see it primarily as a pro-bono project, one that might attract some kind of sponsorship funding. A summary is at


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Life is Random -- Not!

Many have remarked on Apple's chutzpah in the classic art of redefining a bug to be a feature. Since the new iPod shuffle is too dumb to be much more than random, make lemonade of it.

A deeper media lesson can be seen here as well. Take the shuffle's direction toward dumbness, and look in the other direction. The classic example of this was given by Doug Engelbart, one of the fathers of hypertext (and inventor of the mouse). He proposed a research project for "The Augmentation of Human Intellect" using computer-based media tools that set the stage for the Web.

To illustrate the concept of augmented intelligence, Engelbart suggested it would be easier to get the idea of augmenting a tool, if we first considered de-augmenting a tool. He presented a picture of a pencil lashed to a brick. Imagine writing with this as our only writing tool. Now imagine how much better we can write with the pencil alone. That is augmentation. Now imagine what augmentation beyond the pencil would allow.

So now, we have life as random, which we can see as de-augmentation, compared to the playlist tools that are now common. Imagine what might come when we augment those tools further. Playlist services that know your tastes and use sensors to gauge your mood... that know who is with you and what they like... that understand which pieces of music flow together well... that draw on highly informed serendipity, not blind randomness...

Friday, February 04, 2005

CoTV: Coactive TV+Web Use, in Context

Growing masses of viewers surf the Web while watching TV. So far, the only connector between what they see on the Web and what they watch on TV is their brain and their fingers. I have been working on coactive media, particularly CoTV, as a way to link these two media in a far more powerful way.

Coactive TV (CoTV) software automatically harnesses the context of whatever a viewer is watching on TV to push related Web links and content to their PC screen. That provides a power-assist to TV-Web multitasking that directly links use of TV and the Web, to enhance both content and advertising.

CoTV enables a wide variety of applications. These include
  • Co-viewing: program-related information of all kinds (commentary, news reports, sports statistics, movie casts, etc.), including ad-related interaction and shopping (which like search ads, can actually be useful to the user).
  • Pre-viewing: richly intelligent and interactive program guides, VOD/IPTV catalogs, and DVR scheduler services that help users navigate their exploding world of media content.

This creates a variety of new revenue streams -- and one of the most significant is online contextual advertising driven by TV ads. CoTV is adaptable to a wide variety of deployed and emerging platforms -- wireless PC laptops, PDAs, phones, set-top-boxes, media gateways, DVRs, DVDs, WiFi, and more.

More background is at