Metadata: the mental mapping tool for a new Television audience

Posted on 17 Ιουνίου , 2006


Author: Apostolos Tsorakis

So what is happening with television and its digital integration… so many things that the end user, customer, viewer, consumer don’t have a clue about. But why should he have a clue. The coach potato viewer, mobile phone owner and pc user is the same person? And if so what the developers, producers, programmers, engineers, telecom specialist etc. offer him. Nothing more than problems and devices accompanied by tons of RTFM ‘s (read the fucking manual stupid). And the poor individual helpless pays all of his precious money to be always streamlined with the technology the trends and the marketing fuzz.

The traditional coach potato viewer though (the person who created this tremendous large media sector with a huge value chain for more than 60 years) is dead… Yes he is, after 60 years of television he is better programmer, producer, scripter, caster and whatever else consist the TV value chain. He knows better to judge, decide, leverage the content than any other vertical educated professional, after all he was the object of a continuous training by all the professionals together as well as in person. So stop producing and programming for him, he is not here and the statistics and measurements justify it.

So who is the guy that will accept all this industry traditional products, well no-one… its hopeless to search for a substitute that does not exist (sorry maybe apes would be a solution ;-)).The industry, this brat proprietary engineered driven middle-aged, should reset its existence, it should learn to fit, identify opportunities in the new environment and adapt resources and competences so as to take advantage of these. In plain words it should return to its adolescent or just pretend so because nowadays customers are misdoubt. Technology, as marketing has succeed to position, is just a commodity, it should be there as air, sun, electricity and eventually it should serve the customer 100% otherwise it is obsolete. 

Television is undergoing the most significant era in its 60 years life, the conversion and management of media into digital assets together with the automation of scheduling, traffic management and play out, is the new millennium evolution that dominates a change to the back end of the broadcasting value chain introducing a front end user interface to the media products consumers. The time where the media consumers participate in the media production and programming is emerging (Big Brother reality formats, live voting interactive systems etc.) But this is only the surface, what is happening with the future, where this entire thing headed…?

Apparently the final end user not only viewer, will define the future and not only the traditional professionals. Internet and telecommunications has contributed to this case not only from technology aspect but also from a more sociological perspective that of offering the carriage of participation and knowledge acquisition to the mass.

Eventually the infolust of the individuals and the path of cyberspace which offer it for more or less free, have made them to become more demanding on any kind of purchases asking for a value for money offering (after all even viewing free television is a purchase, viewers spent time which costs to see) . Profit for the business will no longer be a matter of stressing value to the acceptable limits of the market. Because there are not acceptable limits in the market, the market, you and me, want the best quality in both products and services, because after all the commoditized technology is offering it to us. Yesterday I was (as all men do) watching the mundial games, but… in my country, Greece, the rights handler has bought the cheapest package, which is awful, so, although I do not represent the majority to threaten them, I damped them and just watched the game from ZDF from my DST (Digital Satellite Transmission) subscription with the highest possible quality.

It is the time for the broadcasting industry to stretch, leveraging the resources and competences of both the consumers, end users, viewers and contributors of its value chain to provide competitive advantage and yield new opportunities. It is about time to define some new strategic visions and intents in order to route the strategy for achieving tangible results.

One simple approach that may become a vision or a strategic intent is that of defining the “object” of the strategy in all levels, corporate, business or SBU keeping the end user in the hart of any development. The contemporary end user of the TV products is a multi-user of different complementally devices that serve him to its three basic social needs: work, entertainment, and communication. The connecting glue of all these devices is the metadata that they produce. Because,  the contemporary working environment is mostly digitized, the entertainment (TV, DVD, and PC) is also digitized while the communication was always electronic but nowadays is eventually bits and bytes.

So where is the catch? All these devices practically are digital asset carriers each one dedicated for one purpose (the traditional proprietary dictator) but all of them serve one individual at a time or many in combinations. So the catch is, that whoever can accomplish to leverage the market balances and share the value creation of a unique ubiquitous device with an open market and technology platform, will occupy the position to become the driver of the final frontier change of the industry with a customer driven innovation spirit. In humans language when the mobile phone, the zapping device, the USB storage and applications utility, the video camera, the photo camera and whatever else produce or consume digital assets for a person become unified under a certified protocol, then change will be initiated for both the industry standards as well as the end users. The secret is to harness the metadata power and volumes in order to create an exchange of information available to make the end users life easier. After all the same fingers use all the devices and support the needs of the same brain which is perfectly mapped in the metadata log files.




Posted in: Politicsonline