Monday, 10 August 2009

Thinking outside the Tank

4oD are thinking like Tank Top. I suspect everyone in on-line TV content is or should be thinking about how to connect people with content when the concept of "Programming" a channel finally dies out.

So, how best to improve your iPlayer, ITVPlayer and 4oD viewing experience? The overall vision is to present you with stuff you want to watch with as little friction as possible. How to achieve this? The obvious first step is to fix the 4oD feed..., but what next?

I think sorting out categories across the channels could be a dull but important task. At the moment we don't have categories for ITV and this makes the ITV content diffcult to manage. There's also a challenge with BBC versus C4 approaches to categories. The BBC categories are heirachical (e.g. sport, football strictly for the sport of football, and never combining football with non-sport categories like comedy). so you need to exclude a programme if any of its categories are excluded, but C4 is different. C4 would mark a Comedy about football as (sport, football, comedy), so if you like all comedy but don't want to watch football the sport then using the approach used with the BBC doesn't do the job.

I think we'll need to study the categorisation used by each channel and try to map each to our own scheme. Trying to do this without requiring regular manual work will be the challenge.

Longer term determining when users have similar watching habits could yield interesting results. We really could do with more users though to make this worthwhile. I'm beginning to suspect that its quite difficult to 'get' what can do for you - we need to think of ways of making it easier and more obvious.