‘X Factor’ expands digital domain

Interesting post in Variety magazine about the X Factor USA digital department.

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Not another ******* blog about the future of TV.

I’m excited by the future of TV more so than this blog may suggest. I want to be able to create content that will change the way we interact with TV. I have a few problems though. Some of my gripes are quite basic, others are to do with content and the fragmented landscape we are currently faced with. I have put everything that annoys me about connected television in it’s entirety in a blog post. Not the most succinct thing I have ever done but I would like to know if you share any of my views. In real life I’m a very happy person.

1.) The TV sets themselves.  Basic problem – I don’t know if your TV comes with a remote control or a keyboard or some trippy mixture of the two. This could at least help most people understand what it is. If I want to go on Facebook via my TV am I meant to telepathically impregnate my TV set with text? Probably not. What tools will you give me to type with?

I am being antagonistic however if you go on various high street websites, you will be hard pressed to find one that explains succinctly what internet enabled television is, never mind show you the remote controls. It is about creating a picture for the millions of people in this country who aren’t tech savvy, who don’t work in digital, who don’t read blogs like this. They will be the one’s buying the TV’s too. They will be the tipping point for this television revolution to happen. Brands need to start communicating their products in a more coherent way to the masses.

2.) The current landscape is complicated. Here is a brief summary.

At the moment there is Sony who have partnered with Google TV to produce TV sets that support the platform.

Virgin Media’s Tivo can be used with any TV as long as you have Virgin Broadband. Obviously.

Samsung TV has it’s own TV and it’s own apps, Panasonic ditto, and Apple TV. Thinking about Apple TV for too long makes this situation even more confusing. So let’s forget about that for now.

There is probably more I have not mentioned including Boxee and Toshiba. Who probably have their own apps too. Yawnz.

Oh, and a few days ago Lochitech ended it’s partnership with Google TV. Bad news. Good news- LG Electronics are said to be in talks with Google TV to produce a TV set equipped with Google TV.

3.) Mobile apps/ ipad apps for social TV.

This isn’t so much a problem, but I’ll just say it anyway. I love the innovation, however it does confuse things slightly. There are various apps out there at the moment (mainly in the US) that allow the user to comment on TV shows. You log into them and connect via Facebook and Twitter. A few of these apps ConnecTV, Get Glu (this is also available in the UK) have partnered with broadcasters. They exploit our recently discovered pechant for a ‘second screen’ experience.
I.e You have your iphone/ipad/other device with you whilst you are watching the TV and comment on it accordingly using their platform.

There is no industry standard app available. Companies are vying for this position. Also, will these mobile/iPad apps become apps on TV sets too? What one shall we use? Surely Twitter and Facebook realise the potential that their platforms have for sharing thoughts on TV programmes? So doesn’t that mean that a 3rd party app will become redundant when Twitter and Facebook launch apps specifically for those with an internet connected TV?

4.) Lack of knowledge hinders innovation. What if everybody in TV understood the potential?

We can only create truly innovative programmes when we have the tools and audience exposure to do so and at the moment the market seems too fragmented and confused. Creating content, airing it on television, then sticking it on YouTube all whilst have a social media strategy is not new. It’s called brand reach and should be standard procedure these days. Branded content exists both on television (Fosters adverts etc) and online YouTube (American Express etc) so this is not a new concept.

Whilst we continue to create exciting formats that utilise social media, we should also be testing the new technologies out there. The games industry is very good at this, they are constantly testing and building new software. Look at Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360. This motion sensor device was the fastest selling consumer electronics device EVER.  It allows them to create really interesting games that tell wonderful stories.

Imagine if we looked beyond twitter for a moment, beyond all the integration that connected TV’s supposedly allow for, and think about voice recognition, meta tags and motion sensors being integrated into television formats. Imagine what we could create for television audiences then. We need technologists and TV producers to make friends.

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TRAP.IT my new favourite website.

During an average couple of weeks I go on the following websites religiously:

Tech Crunch
Fast Company
The New York Times
The Guardian
About three thousand food blogs
About four thousand design blogs
Cheap Flights.com
The Fancy
Blog pages of ‘freelance social media consultants/brand advisers” whose updates I look at with utter dismay. I do it more to get annoyed by the fact they are being flown first class to NYC to give a presentation on hashtags. #getagrip

ANYWAY, given what I do and what I like, I always find myself researching new trends and TV related stuff, however when the whole of the interwebz is at my disposal it seems shoddy that my online life is so limited. Step forward TRAP.IT.

TRAP.IT has just launched in public beta and uses the same A.I technology as Siri.
You select ‘traps’ of things you’re interested in, such as design, technology, business, or finance and it pulls together the latest articles from across the web. You also create your own traps by searching for a topic. I searched for ‘Trans Siberian’ and discovered some great travel blogs I would otherwise not have known existed.

You ‘like’ the content that appeals to you and over time TRAP.IT will learn what you like and don’t like and give you (hopefully) content that is tailored to you’re interests.

The UI is really nice, it’s easy to sign up using Twitter or Facebook and I think it could change the way people use the web and their reliance on Google.

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Design Blogs.

I found this design blog recently which I love.

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Let’s all go to China

A great post by Patrik from Made by Many about the untapped potential for western brands in this gargantuan market. Click here to read it.

I went to a talk at Channel 4 a few months ago called ‘Is China the next media superpower?’ A television producer was on the panel who was responsible for bringing the American Idol format to China. She explained that there were many western formats that would work well in China,  the ones that they had bought the rights to so far were extremely successful. There were two problems though, other networks in China were creating ‘copy cat’ programs  and there was not a great deal of legislation to stop them.

Secondly, the political landscape of this vast country prohibits popular western shows from being recreated. The example used was the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ In China, the idea of tracing ones family tree isn’t as simple as it sounds. People here still operate under the watchful eye of the state. Remember, whilst the country is seeing dramatic urbanization and wealth creation, Google doesn’t/won’t operate here, internet usage is monitored and speaking out against the government is a massive no-no. You may want to read about the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who did so and was imprisoned. Find out about him here.

Westerners setting up TV production companies, social media agencies and creating a brand presence in China will no doubt have a lot to learn about the intricacies of Chinese life, but the overwhelming feeling from the panel was that yes, it could be the next media superpower. There is certainly a lot of money to be made, China has adapted itself to become the global hub for manufacturing, property prices are booming and it has the single biggest online user base in the world. Will it’s censorship also impede it’s media growth? Judging by the country’s rapid rise despite censorship, it doesn’t look like it.

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This excites me. A lot.

A new website The Fancy that combines the best in gadgets, architecture, art and fashion. Users ‘fancy’ stuff and then give links to where to buy it. You can use the web, bookmark stuff or use the fancy app to upload photos. All the things you like are collated into a list which appears on your profile. Could it be possibly the best gift finder in the world? This start up is already being dubbed ‘The Facebook of Stuff’ and Ashton Kutcher is a member. If you like quirky things, you’ll love this.

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My Bedroom.

Miss Olivia Howitt took some rather lovely photos of my bedroom. You should go on her blog. http://whatsinyourbedroom.blogspot.com

My Desk

I have just downloaded the new WordPress app. So to see if it works and how quickly I have taken this picture. Of my desk.

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