IPL-YouTube

February 7, 2010

I have been wanting to write about the IPL deal with YouTube for quite a few days. I think it is truly a ground-breaking step. For YouTube, and definitely sets IPL’s image as an innovative organisation.

First reaction from anyone in the industry: What do IPL stand to make out of it? Could they not have made more money by selling it to Murdoch? I am not aware of the financials of the deal, but its not too difficult to imagine that both the companies would have worked it out such that they will stand to benefit as the viewership would grow. Remember, in today’s age of TV, we do not sell projected millions of viewers to advertisers or sponsors, or pay the rights fee on such basis. We pay per view. So there.

From what the information says so far, the interface would allow viewers to chose their own camera angle, play the action replay as they like, have access to instant stats, and even allow them to chat with each other. Finally TV over IP goes web2.0 and social. YouTube=1: iPlayer=0.

My only wish: This interface becomes available on my TV, or anyother DLNA supported device and does not restrict me to my laptop screen. Not too much to ask for.  Somehow, I still have not figured out how to watch TV on a laptop lying on a couch or in bed, and not roast my thighs in the process. Besides, this is something that would really make Sky and Setanta wish they move faster than they are thinking at the moment.

If I am from the old days of calculating reach and frequency and GRPs, and have always had a problem with how accurate they were, this is my heaven. Just the sheer amount of analysis that this arrangement would allow is a media planners’ dream. What cameras were more popular? Where should I maximize my on-ground signage? How many, from where, at what time? Time-shifted or live? What’s the viewership of a bumper before an on-demand replay? Video analytics on steroids. Not just that. the cnsumer engagement ideas of the next generation too. Can I do a user-gen exercise and allow users to cut their own highlights of a game and publish it online courtesy my brand?

This is ground breaking. Mark my words, we will all be doing it sooner than we think we would be. Live broadcast on YouTube started from U2Ube, it’s probably not going to stop now.

It sounds very basic, but Skype just finally announced that they will bring Skype video calls to various HD TVs.

Whilst this is just one of the many TV widgets that we would see in the near future, it is a magnificent example of how TV is set to become the communication hub for your home.

This is also the beginning of TV becoming “social”. I hear BBC are already beta testing the iPlayer3 which is set to incorporate Twitter as well as “video book marks” (to mark a certain portion of a programme) that you can share with the friends on your list. With iPlayer on Freesat, it is likely to be a major innovation for the UK market.

Video sharing would take a completely new meaning if such advances move ahead. YouTube is getting a lot of “long-form” traction from content producers, and their existing social infrastructure would begin to redefine how people engage with that content. Though one really wishes that Google do a good TV widget or even upgrade their AppleTV interface.

Now the question is, when would the TV audience measurement industry get down to doing Social GRPs?

Click here to watch what I am watching right now.

Click here to see that joke in HIGNFY I was talking about last night.

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In the world of on demand content and the fragmented world of digital platforms, it is fairly important for search to work properly for Videos.  After simply just playing with the idea for quite sometime, some of the big names in the industry are really beginning to crack it.

YouTube has its own way of searching for video files that benefits from not only the tags but also google’s search intelligence.  TiVo just recently annoucned their new search function.  Fairly comprehensive though, it only allows you to search through data that sits “outside” of a video file. Not the most cutting edge way of video search, but given its TiVo the usage of this is likely to widerspread and at least it recognises the need for a must have function for the future of Video.

How does the search currently work in Video? Well the simplest way is to search for “tags” associated with a video file, or search for terms within the video file names. Now that is not very effective, as the tags and the name cant possibly fully describe whats inside a video file or in the content, can it? To offset this, some of the set-top box manufacturers including TiVo search through “closed captions” (subtitles for instance) or the Electronic Program Guide data alongside a video file to search for the contents of the video file. It would allow you to even search for scenes with famous quotes from the movies (The BigMac scene from Pulp Fiction for instance). Whilst very useful, its still a very 2008 way of searching for video, and a very cumbersome one that too.

Then there is Blinkx (www.blinkx.com). They have a pretty impressive video portal that actually searches through the contents of a video file, and delivers you the search results. For example you can look for a particular word and see how many video files are returned. A much better schema for search then “tags”. They seem to have been looking for opportunity in the area of direct to consumer, but in my opinion their biggest opportunity is in franchising their technology direct to businesses like TiVo.  Not sure if they are already doing it, but they are the next generation of search in video, and can really help move the game forward.

The more the amount of content available to watch digitally, the more the need for search. The good news is, that the solutions are here today. Only if the industry can push those forward.