Essential is of course platform-neutral, independent and impartial when it comes to media. But as a Virgin Media customer, I am almost salivating with excitement about the announcement today of this potential tie-up between Virgin Media and TiVo.
Although the FT describes it as a ‘rebuff to Project Canvas’, I’d imagine this has got much more to do with Virgin Media finding a better way of helping viewers navigate through its growing library of VOD content, ensuring that they can always find something they want to watch, which has got to be the holy grail as far as VOD is concerned.
Last year we produced a major study of VOD (VOD: State of Play) which suggested that the next (and potentially most exciting) wave of digital TV will involve the deployment of services that truly help audiences find the content that they will most value, regardless of whether this is delivered through a broadcast, an IPTV service or from their hard disk.
Simon recently blogged on here about an essay by Kevin Kelly of Wired, entitled Better Than Free, which argues that when digital content is all free or infinitely available, one of the eight things that people will actually pay for is ‘findability’. (Another one is ‘personalisation’.) We believe that in a TV context, this means intelligent recommendation tools – an area in which TiVo is a recognised pioneer.
Who would have thought that middleware could ever be this exciting?