Commentary

A Chaos Theorist on Video Guides: Maybe We Need Them, But Maybe We Have Outgrown Them

Research firm Futuresource Consulting said yesterday that free and paid online video views will grow 20% worldwide this year to 770 billion, up from 640 billion last year across the USA, UK, France and Germany.

That’s a whole lot of videos. That may be why so many companies from Tribune Media Services to Clicker to The Filter to Rovi are aiming to play a role in how consumers find the videos among the 770 billion that they actually want to watch.

In a new report on the state of entertainment discovery, Tribune Media Services said video choices have ballooned like this — the 100 million multichannel homes in the U.S. have more than 4,000 TV shows and movies on linear channels to watch each day, while the 50 million of those homes with VOD have at least another 315 options. Add in online video, and the average American has at least 100,000 full-length movies and TV shows to choose from on the Internet each day.

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Consumers, by and large, like having this rich array of options. Choice is good. But it’s getting increasingly harder to find what you want to watch. Just try a Google search, or a YouTube search for the TV show you’re keen on seeing.

Tribune, of course, has a vested interest in helping consumers wade through the morass of titles. It’s in the business of selling its guide services. Nonetheless, the company’s report outlines 10 elements it contends any personalization guide or recommendation engine should possess.

They are: scalability, interactivity, rich graphics, personalization, universal search, companion apps, recommendations, social media integration, multiplatform consumption, and synchronized metadata. The last point refers to being able to connect information about TV shows in a linear schedule with what’s online. That would be a sort of Holy Grail of navigation as it syncs linear with online.

But, I’m not entirely convinced we’ll ever find a one-size-fits all guide. I’m a bit of a chaos theorist myself and I have to wonder if we, as consumers, are just too far past a guide in terms of how we want to navigate our content?

Do we even need a guide anyway?

2 comments about "A Chaos Theorist on Video Guides: Maybe We Need Them, But Maybe We Have Outgrown Them".
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  1. Jaffer Ali from PulseTV, November 23, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.

    Daidy, the asnwer is NO! Why? If content owners wait for people to find them, they are lost. BTW, it is the same for those marketers just relying on search, which operates on existing intention. What is lost by thie "search meme" is the notion of creating demand. This is becoming a lost art.

  2. Jeff Koenig from digiriot, INC, November 23, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.

    Hi Daisy! Great article. I just got the report, interested to see what Tribune's thoughts on curation and social discovery are. They have zero strength in personalized p2p social recommendation, which - to the dismay of generalized services like GetGlue - are the only social recommendations that really work. "Jeff is watching this video" will never be as effective as me saying "Daisy, you need to check this out, you'll totally love it".

    Overall, I'm really surprised that I haven't seen more industry leaders emerge in targeted video curation. There's a huge opportunity there for businesses to grow by making quality recommendations and centralized aggregation.

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