Intel wants to be in the video business, and over the past few years has been investing heavily to build a new virtual cable service. The idea is that the company would to provide the same type of bundled TV content as Comcast, Dish, and others, but would deliver that content by streaming it over the Internet. Today Erik Huggers, GM of Intel’s Media division, was at D: Dive Into Media conference, providing a few more details about the chip maker’s efforts to build its own virtual cable service.
The key takeaway? The service will be available by the end of the year, but it won’t be labeled Intel.
“We will deliver a new cosumer electronics product under a new brand,” Huggers said. He said the company will launch an Intel-powered device with “beautiful industrial design” that is powered by an Intel chip. According to Huggers, that device will deliver live TV, catch-up TV, and on-demand TV.
Huggers said that the service will probably not be priced any more cheaply than existing bundled services, but will provided a better service than what’s available today through traditional cable distribution companies. “We believe that there is value in bundles, if bundles are done right,” he said. “There is real value in that.” In other words, the company won’t be looking to change the industry by going purely a la carte.
How Intel’s TV service will differentiate itself is through more advanced personalization and recommendation services. One way that it will do that is through recognizing who’s actually watching the TV. Part of that will be enabled through a camera (which some might find creepy). It ultimately believes that will provide a better service to consumers by delivering content personalized for the user. “There’s real value in being able to identify who’s watching,” Huggers said.
The new service has been a long time coming. Initial reports around Intel’s video ambitions first began surfacing when Intel hired him back in 2011. Since then, the company has been putting together the pieces it needs to deliver that service. While Intel will have its own product, the service is also expected to be available on other devices like the iPad, iPhone, and other mobile and tablet devices through various apps.
Given his experience Huggers had in the U.K., he said it would be important to deliver to multiple devices. However, he said that rather than just building apps for all of the different devices out there, it was necessary to build a device of its own. “If we want to deliver the experience that we have in mind, there is not platform out there today where we can do that,” Huggers said. “In order to do that, you need to control everything.”
Despite, and in fact perhaps even thanks to the unstoppable rise of social media, we still watch a ton of television (by which I mean content).
Another fact: the way we look at TV has forever changed, in no small part because of social networking services like Twitter and Facebook, and social television apps like GetGlue, Yahoo-acquired IntoNow, Dijit-acquired Miso, Comcast’s Tunerfish and Zeebox, among others.
We watch television with one or more mobile devices in our hands or within reach, and we happily share with others online what we like and don’t like when we’re watching TV. It is decidedly no longer an ‘offline experience’ for a whole lot of people, and that group is getting bigger.
Social TV is anything but new, but it’s definitely maturing alongside social media companies – and content providers – ever since the MIT Technology Review dubbed it a breakthrough technology back in 2010.
Social TV – an industry in full swing
The symbiosis between traditional TV and social media is what led Twitter to remark that its recent acquisition of social television analytics company Bluefin Labs would “help us create innovative new ad products and consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV.”
An exciting intersection it is indeed – and a busy one, too.
Last year, media measurement and analysis giant Nielsen acquired SocialGuide, a New York startup that also tracks Twitter and Facebook conversations about TV, and the company also partnered with Twitter to create a social ranking of US TV program popularity.
In 2012, a faculty at the Wharton School of Business even launched a ‘Social TV Lab’ to study the link between what is said on television and what is shared simultaneously on social media about shows – and ads.
It’s a bit of a given, but expect more movement in the social TV space throughout 2013, and also expect social networking juggernaut Facebook to play a central role, with its army of 1 billion+ users.
The Facebook Connection
Facebook hasn’t exactly been sitting and waiting on the sidelines as social television apps offering ‘second-screen experiences’ mature.
It’s been pitching personalized TV program guides based on what a user’s friends are watching to broadcasters for years, and offers developers of video apps an Open Graph action called ‘watch’ that helps users share which video-based content they’re watching through their Facebook apps.
Meanwhile, Facebook is set to unveil a new video-ad product in the first half of this year to try and bring in more ad dollars from TV advertisers, according to a recent AdAge report.
Based on the results of a September 2012 survey of US internet users conducted by Nielsen for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, Facebook was found to have the greatest influence on getting people to watch a show, out of all online channels.
A whopping 46 percent said they picked up a show as a result of Facebook, followed by Twitter (14 percent), websites of TV shows (9 percent) and forums or discussion boards (8 percent).
In a very interesting April 2012 interview with Lost Remote, Facebook’s head of entertainment and media marketing solutions, Kay Madati, had some fascinating things to say about the company’s social TV strategy:
The framework for implementation – the before, during and after – probably simplistic but purposely so.
When we talk about social TV, Facebook is looking at all of these things. Lots of activity is happening during, that’s when people are building co-viewing applications. We’ve done some great things, Twitter’s done some great things, GetGlue’s done some great things.
What I whole-on believe – too many people are missing the opportunity for the before and after.
Content producers will start but then move away because of other priorities. Meanwhile that conversation in the social sphere continues, there’s an opportunity to keep people engaged.
When you look at opportunities in all three quadrants, at scale, Facebook presents an unprecedented opportunity. To grow awareness and ultimately ratings and tune-in for a show.
Facebook next to promote ‘TV check-in’ feature?
I think the new status update sharing box that it’s currently testing with a small set of users may also have a profound impact on this space, and it will inevitably have an effect on the likes of GetGlue and Dijit/Miso.
As first reported by TechCrunch almost two weeks ago, Facebook is currently experimenting with ways to let users share updates more visually, using emoticons and whatnot. That’s interesting in itself, but I think the ‘watching’ update option is particularly noteworthy.
What is it, if not a TV check-in feature? For example, look at this message that was shared yesterday by Facebook product manager (and previously co-founder and CEO of Facebook-acquired Gowalla) Josh Williams:
Williams’ role at Facebook, according to his LinkedIn profile, is “imagining new ways to see the world through the eyes of our friends.”
Sharing which media is being consumed is one of those ways, and it would conveniently tie in perfectly with Facebook’s Social Graph and Graph Search. Making it visually appealing, and thus having such a status stand out in a friend’s newsfeed, only adds to the potential power of a proper Facebook TV check-in feature.
And, of course, by mining what which people are watching when, and with whom, Facebook will be able to build up a treasure trove of social TV data that could greatly benefit its advertisers and partners.
What’s on next?
Social television apps have already come a long way, but we’ll likely see more consolidation in the industry down the road. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Facebook playing a leading role here – perhaps they should go have a chat with GetGlue now that the Viggle deal is off.
Whatever happens next, it will continue to be an interesting space to watch (pun intended), particularly with the ongoing rise of second-screen apps, broadcasters getting their act together, and Twitter’s shifting focus to media consumption and analytics.
The other elephant in the room that wasn’t mentioned in this post, but can’t be ignored, is Google.
How could they be ignored, with platforms like Android and Google TV, as well as services like YouTube and Google+ in their arsenal?
We’ll leave that for another post, though.
If you’re interested in the social TV space, you should also read:
Image credit: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
In the wake of its multi-million pound investment in Zeebox early last year, BSkyB (Sky) finally integrated the second-screen app into its own mobile apps in September, with Sky+ for iPad connecting users to social networks, offering apps and other listing-related information. It then became a social remote for both Sky and Virgin Media customers in December.
When you’re on a programme, you’ll see a little ‘R’ button, which loads the Remote Record feature. To use the Sky+ Remote Record, you will of course have to sign-in with your Sky ID.
In addition to this, Zeebox now lists all upcoming episodes – and repeats – on every show’s page, not to mention another handful of tweaks and bug-fixes. It also has a new Live section, whereby everything in the show you’re watching is clickable.
The updates app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad is available to download from today.
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The rest is here: Zeebox for iOS now lets you set your Sky+ box to record remotely
Social intelligence service Swipp is launching its first specialized app built on its open API. Just in time for the Super Bowl, the company is releasing the Swipper Bowl, a web-based application that allows fans to not only share their thoughts but track reactions surrounding the National Football League’s championship game.
For Swipp, launching this new app comes just days after the company publicly unveiled itself to the world. The company helps users share their thoughts about any topic, whether it is Big Ben, San Francisco, technology, or even sports.
This Sunday, when millions of people will be watching the Super Bowl, Swipp is hoping that you will use its Swipper Bowl app to share your reactions about anything related to the game — essentially it wants you to think of it as a second screen while you’re watching the game. Swipp is hoping that you will use its Swipper Bowl web app.
While optimized for laptops and desktop computers, Swipp says that fans can use it on their mobile devices as well.
The Swipper Bowl doesn’t have any special functionality compared to the Swipp app, but is instead more organized around the Super Bowl. If you have the Swipp native mobile app, you can still participate with the “Swipper Bowl — all the data from the latter is on the Swipp app.
After logging in using your Facebook account, you’ll be able to select from among four different screens:
The release of the Swipper Bowl reminds me of something TBS did for the Major League Baseball playoffs last year. Powered by the social TV gaming platform provider Kwarter, fans were able to use their phone or tablet to interact with fans while also “playing along” and predicting what was going to happen next — for example, at the end of an inning, how many runs would be scored? Or perhaps will the batter hit a home run? The interaction was one where you were fixed to your device to participate and be engaged. With the Swipper Bowl, it’s more of a discussion or forum surrounding the Super Bowl, and that might help make it more social than simply interacting with your device.
“The evolution of the second screen is giving people the opportunity to connect around the shows they watch,” says Swipp’s co-founder Charlie Costantini. “I’m constantly texting my brothers or friends during the game and the Swipper Bowl site allows me to rant and rave about everything, including the commercials, with a super simple interface during the Biggest Game of the year.”
For those not interested in the Super Bowl, Swipp also has a native mobile app that you can download for your iPhone. The company has raised $3.5 million in funding from Old Willow Partners.
Photo credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images
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Read the original post: Swipp unveils its web-based ‘Swipper Bowl’ app to track fan reactions about the Super Bowl