The aim, the company says, is to take today’s fast-growing but chaotic landscape of TV “companion” apps – such as ones delivering athlete stats to people watching the Olympics, or crime-fighting details to CSI junkies—and make it easier to create and see such additional content.
The Akamai proof of concept—shown for the first time to MIT Technology Review last week—consists of a few parts. The first is a piece of software that would reside on whatever device you use, whether it’s a television set fed by a cable or satellite service, a set-top box delivering content over the Internet, or even a DVR playing a recorded show. A one-time authentication process links your tablet or smartphone to the device.
Real-time information on what show you’re watching—even as you change the channel—gets sent to Akamai’s servers. Relevant secondary information then gets streamed directly back to your smartphone or tablet in near real-time.
It seems that technology triggers are often accompanied by the hype of future potential benefits, while the real value is elusive and slower to appear than industry journalists, analysts, or pundits would like, but I am going to lay out 10 scenarios that will develop in this still nascent industry during 2013 :
1. The "digital land grab" continues, marked by consolidation, failure, and improved user experiences.
2. Social feeds will be a feature, not the experience.
3. "Discovery" will become a household word.
4. Tablet and smartphone usage reports will become about activities related to the TV.
5. Studios and networks save money, apps grow in 2 directions.
6. Gamification will begin to lose favor with the press and consumers, only to begin to add value again towards the end of 2013.
7. Amazon and Ebay will engage in a battle for the Second Screener's M-Commerce.
8. Cloud-based digital lockers will finally be taken seriously by consumers and the rest of the ecosystem.
9. Device makers will jump into second screen with both feet.
10. ACR and the battle of the digital video ecosystems.
Ensequence signed a deal with Sony Electronics that could help ESPN, Turner Broadcasting, AMC and other networks deliver interactive advertising and programming to connected TVs.
Sony said it will embed Ensequence's interactive TV platform in all new TVs, beginning in the first quarter. Viewers that have purchased a 2011 or 2012 model from Sony can receive the platform through a software update, the companies said.
Ensequence and Sony will rely on automatic content recognition (ACR) technology to trigger interactive overlays in programming and advertising.
Taking their cue from the world of television and the likes of Zeebox, a Dutch film company called 2CFILM has developed what it claims to be the world’s first synchronised second-screen application for use in the cinema.
App – the first film in a series of titles on 2CFILM’s development slate – will be supported by content available through an application for iPhone and Android devices, which delivers a parallel storyline via the app content, bringing the big screen and the mobile device together throughout the film.
The project uses technology based on SyncNow digital watermarking by Dutch firm Civolution and the cross-app development capabilities of another Dutch firm called Service2Media.
Dual-screen apps are a new phenomena, enabled by the advent of wireless technologies that allow for effortless pairing of a PC, tablet or smartphone with a TV. They are changing how people are interacting and “consuming” content within apps. For developers this creates many new opportunities to provide better experiences for their users, but it requires thinking about dual-screen setups from the start as well as new tools.
Specifically, Apple has provided the backbone for dual screen apps, enabling:
- Any iOS device (and OS X Mountain Lion-enabled PCs) to broadcast its screen onto a TV. Think of this as essentially a wireless HDMI output to a TV. If you haven’t played with AirPlay mirroring features in iOS and Apple TV, give it a spin. It’s a really exciting development. - A set of APIs and an event model for enabling applications to become “dual-screen aware” (e.g. to know when a device has a TV screen it can connect to, and to handle rendering information, data and content onto both the touch screen and the TV screen).
With the existing Apple TV unit sales already outselling the Xbox in the most recent quarter, we can see a world that goes from approximately 5 million dual-screen-capable Apple TVs to potentially 15-20 million in the next couple of years, and eventually to 30-50 million as new and improved versions of the Apple TV companion device come to market.
Companion screen applications have the potential to open up a pay TV service to revenue security threats including intrusion by rivals to poach subscribers. This is leading to new solutions that aim to give operators full control of second screens such as tablets while they are being used in companion screen mode, with one of the first examples being Blue Bridge launched by French pay TV security technology vendor Neotion at IBC.
The ability to enable secure two way communications between the TV and smart phones or tablets in the home is the basis of Blue Bridge, and Neotion has kicked off with a version for TVs equipped with a CI Plus slot. This first version transmits data over Bluetooth but Wi-Fi support will be added, as well as a version for set top boxes on a USB stick. However Neotion is pitching Blue Bridge particularly at legacy TVs with CI Plus slots, which can then access the Internet via the mobile device without the need for an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi router at all.
The company has identified three application categories for Blue Bridge :
- the first exploits information sent from the TV to the mobile device, which could be used to play hybrid TV content on a tablet, or to access a VOD catalogue
- the second use case involves two way information transfer between TV and mobile device, which could be applied for advertising or commerce
- the third use case is where the TV interacts with the Internet via the tablet or smartphone
While the 2012 Summer Olympics has certainly been appropriately dubbed the first "Social Olympics" (Twitter and Facebook comparisons discussed daily on the broadcast discussions by commentators) and even NBCU has come out and described it as a TV Everywhere success (streaming every event live for authenticated Pay TV subscribers in the US), it has be abysmal for Second Screen enthusiasts.
Don't get me wrong--I think the streaming capabilities to watch the events live were usually well delivered, and I have nothing against the massive Twitter and Facebook discussions. I guess my point of view stems from the belief that until now, it has been live sports that has really driven the most valuable use cases for a second screen or companion app while watching the first screen, usually resulting in a more engaged consumer. Knowing the stats of the football, baseball or basketball game of key players, updated in real time, is a big plus for the sports enthusiasts (of any sport). But somehow, the Olympic implementations fell well short.
Our editorial approach to companion experiences is three fold:
• Build on existing audience needs and behaviour
• Go beyond broadcast
• Drive creative renewal and innovation
We want to immerse our audience in the programme they're watching even more by building on the existing needs and behaviours the show inspires. We've learned a lot about this from years of programme-related experimentation on BBC Red Button and BBC Online.
PlayVision is a Dual Screen Technology Platform and SDK for GoogleTV, Facebook, iPhone, iPad and Android.
The PlayVision video player enables content providers and game developers to easily deliver realtime multi-player collaborative viewing experiences within their games, websites, software applications or set top boxes, and deliver second screen apps that extend the realtime viewing or gameplay experience to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. PlayVision is perfect for creating interactive TV networks and channels for GoogleTV, connected TVs and the web, that include second screen activities such as shopping, voting, auctions, surveys and more.
The King’s Speech, The Weinstein Company’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, will be the first feature film to deploy Technicolor’s MediaEcho second-screen viewing experience App.
Developed in-house by Technicolor, MediaEcho is an application that delivers an interactive second-screen experience to viewers using a Blu-ray Disc player with BD-Live (Internet connectivity) and a tablet device, without disrupting the primary content on the main screen.
Content displayed on the tablet can be played in sync with the on-screen feature or viewed later. MediaEcho utilises BD-Live technology to enable a true two-way communication between any Internet connected Blu-ray player and tablet device, providing users with additional content, including: bonus streaming audio and video content delivered from the Cloud, audio commentary excerpts, movie and historical trivia, behind-the-scenes information, social media integration allowing users to post comments, share content and connect during their movie-watching experience, actor/cast profiles, connecting to IMDB and other online databases, E-commerce.
London-based Monterosa Productions has announced the commercial launch of its LViS tools for creating second-screen applications for television. Having supported over a thousand hours of primetime programming with second-screen services, Monterosa has already used its framework to deliver a range of sports, entertainment and advertising applications.
The LVis platform includes a suite of re-usable elements to power interactive experiences, such as play-along gaming, prediction gaming, secure and compliant voting and competitions, opinion polling, advertising and coupons.
It allows broadcasters, producers or brands to customise template apps, or make their own from scratch, and deploy the resulting HTML5 experience across multiple platforms. It also integrates with industry standard systems to drive on-screen graphics.
In January 2012, I started the year with a post on multi-screen applications developed with PhoneGap. In that post, I describe an approach for creating mobile applications that extend the app experience onto a second screen – where the mobile device drives the content on that second screen… essentially having an “external monitor” capability on a mobile device.
Now, I’m going to turn things around… I’ve been experimenting with a few ideas of connected secondary-experience applications, and I figured this would be a great way to come full circle and end 2012.
Coincident Create and ITVML make it possible to build interactive video experiences for the web, HTML5, and mobile apps with unparalleled ease and efficiency.
Coincident Create is also capable of building ITVML for 2nd screen apps on mobile devices. For 2nd screen apps, the tool is used to build an interactive interface and logic that goes along with a television program. ITVML is then built into an application framework that handles the synchronization with broadcast.
Second-screen application developers generally write to the device. With SmartGlass, Microsoft is asking app developers to do something slightly different, namely: write to a platform. But Microsoft is not asking just anyone to write this way; only those partners to its game developer network who have permission to do so.
The larger point may be that SmartGlass, which the Seattle software giant made generally available three weeks ago, at about the same time it released Windows 8, is itself both an app and a platform. That is one of several complicated aspects of this Xbox-related software. Another is its genesis as an app on the Windows Phone.
It's been a long time since the last series of blogs on Orchestrated Media. Time for a catch-up. Firstly, we've stopped using the term orchestrated media, and instead talk about dual-screen and companionscreen. Dual-screen reflects where things stand currently: the companion service can synchronise against the broadcast content using various technologies. See Steve's blog about that. The BBC's launch of dual screen for Antiques Roadshow is imminent.
Looking ahead, we see the next generation of services allowing a wider set of companion services, where the TV, the companion, and the Web, are inter-communicating, allowing a web site or a companion app to both monitor and control the TV. This gives TV -awareness on web-sites, and web-awareness of TV services. Each of these three domains could be the launch-point for companion screen services, and enage the other two domains as needed. Companion screen pertains to this wider role for the companion device, compared to today.
Developing a single second screen app that can deliver value for all types of TV programming is incredibly tough. It’s incredibly tough because every show is different and every genre has its own unique challenges. Dramas are different than reality shows, which are vastly different from news programs. And let’s not even talk about sports – that’s its own beast in itself.
Long story short, it’s hard to get the perfect second screen experience for everybody. Is it social, is it about content, is it loyalty? Is it all of the above? Even if you were to do all of the above, how do you get people to remember your app exists when people watch TV? How do you sustain audience while someone watches TV?
The question ultimately is: which experience is the most meaningful for me, the most personalized for me, and is available consistently every time I watch TV?
The DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) group is seeking an expanded role to unify global standards for multiscreen services, while also ending the historical regional fragmentation in digital terrestrial transmission.
Emerging multiscreen services are being held back by fragmented standards, particularly over interaction between companion screens and linear broadcast services. At an IBC press conference the DVB said it wanted to act as a unifying force both in digital terrestrial transmission and companion screen interaction.
So far companion screen applications have grown up around many different proprietary technologies and are ripe for standardization, according to Nick Wells, vice chair of the DVB Technical Committee. “I expect to see broadcast and IP networks working together and here the DVB has a huge amount to offer,” said Wells.
Producing live TV is tricky enough, but add real-time social media to the mix, and it can be downright difficult. The social TV startup Never.no has rolled out a new product here at NAB that aims to make it easier for on-air talent to react to social media without waiting for a script. Called “Prompter,” it runs on an iPad app.
“It’s a second version of a companion app, but specifically for presenters,” said Never.no’s Scott Davies, who showed us how it works. Using Never.no’s current products, producers can curate social media in real-time, picking the tweets and Facebook updates they want to appear on air.
The recurring rumors about Apple entering the TV set business are at fever pitch, with no less than former Apple President Jean-Louis Gassée recently jumping into the fray and joining the it-will-likely-happen bandwagon.
Gassée and I have been arguing about the idea of an Apple TV since 2008, when I was among the first to blog about the idea. Gassée had taken the position that since TVs are upgraded every five years on average, and computers every two years on average, melding the two would not make sense. The computer would make the TV obsolete too early.
Now, Gassée is usually right about Apple predictions, so what's changed?
In short, the TV set is on its way to becoming little more than a monitor that simply displays what's on handheld devices. Think about it: to be interactive, a TV no longer needs a computer built into it.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.