Rogers nails it. Again.

Damn but the man is good.

John Rogers talks about the way he thinks new technology is going to impact viewing.

To summarise: Big networks die and networks built on informational assessors will become the dominant guiding force.

That was a bit of a mouthful. Let’s break it down.

A TV network is a filtration system for television shows. So, for example, if you want a gentle drama you’d hit Sunday night on ITV1.

That’s changing. With the advent of multi-channel, PVRs, and DVDs the proliferation of viewing options means that the role of the network as selecter of your evening’s entertainment becomes unsustainable. With so much choice being delivered on-demand, one channel will no longer satisfy.

So how do you choose what to watch if you want something new – and here’s the tough part – that you’ll probably like?

One way is to use Opinionated People’s Choices.

Oprah Winfrey’s recommendation carries weight. As does Quentin Tarantino. As does Harry Knowles. As does Warren Ellis.

The specifics of what Quentin or Oprah or Harry or Warren will recommend or decry are actually irrelevant, but I think we can safely say that if we like some of the things that one of them recommends, we’ll probably like most of the rest. Similarly, if we don’t agree with their tastes, then we can safely and happily ignore them.

Rogers suggests – and I concur – that the next logical thing is the development of these people into… well, we don’t know what to call them yet. Informational Assessors. Taste Buddies. Whatever. The important thing is that these are people who have a strong sense of The Things They Like.

And then we build channels on the fly from the choices of people with strong tastes. Here’s how to do it:

– Pull a data feed off the Internet and tag the programmes with an informational flag (Warren likes! Warren hates!)
– Set a threshold (All Warren All The Time! Just The Best! Not Too Weird!)
– Use this as a feed to your PVR to grab and store

Bosh. Your very own Warren Ellis TV channel.

It’s another way of cutting through the murk.

5 responses to “Rogers nails it. Again.”

  1. But being made of paper, it can’t record the TV shows for me and play them back at my convenience.

    In the next five to ten years, we’ll all be consuming our television via a PVR. And the RT fails to work at that point.

    The BBC are actually ahead of the game here, as their four channels are indeed branded content. So I know (roughly) what I’ll be getting when I tune into BBC3 or BBC4.

    What a PVR+Scheduler will do is allow an infinite variety of channels. Programmes get pulled off-air onto the PVR over the broadcast airwaves, then scheduled into related blocks by individual datafeeds.

    Get ready to start living in the future. It’ll be those jetpacks I was promised next.

  2. Sure, but what it isn’t doing yet is creating a channel for you.

    What I’m after is a button on the site called “The Radio Times Channel” (or better yet, the Alison Graham Channel) that will programme my PVR to record RT recommendations with a formatted data structure.

    So then, at a later date, I can specify things like:

    “It’s Thursday, give me your recommended Thursday night mix”
    “One Hour of Drama”
    “90 minutes of comedy”

    and the PVR will feed me the latest episode of what-have-you.

    So, say for example RT thinks that House is the ideal show for a Thursday night.

    It’s Thursday evening, and I click the “Entertain me, RT” button. The PVR schedules the latest episode of House that I haven’t seen as the first thing in that block, followed by Heartbeat (or whatever).

    It has those two shows on its hard disk already because it grabbed them whenever they were broadcast over the airwaves on whatever channel.

    If I watch a House between now and next Thursday, it replaces it in the schedule with the next one in the loop.

    If I’m out next Thursday, it just saves the block for me so that the next time I want it, it’s ready to go.

    If I want to watch Thursday’s entertainment on Friday, press a button and off we go.

    What RT is doing now (as far as I can tell without having a PDA) is just acting as a remote to the PVR. Not the same thing at all.

    What I’m talking about is explicitly decoupling scheduling from broadcast.

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