Once IPTV type networks are truly enabled it becomes possible to produce services that many of us have been advocating and wishing for, for many years. A service that provides each individual viewer looking at the same content with a different experience is now reaching out to larger and larger audiences. ITVT reported on Minerva’s latest offering that starts to offer viewers a way to navigate through content by segments, different modes and based on their interests. Matt Cuson, Minerva’s Director of Marketing

…VOD service that consumers can subscribe to, and the company can then generate individual, real-time interactive experiences for each of those consumers. So you could have 100 people starting out watching exactly the same content, but ending up with 100 different user experiences.

So what does this actually mean in reality? I have often heard the term personalized applied to a multitude of things – from simply choosing the colour of the interface through to profiles acting transparently – so much so that the viewer becomes confused as to what is happening. This though is further described as a market experiment

When a trigger event occurs, as defined by the media company, we display graphics and navigation elements based on information fed to us from the media company’s server. Information such as: ‘If they click on number 1, show this image or this video; or if they click on number 2, put the video in quarter-screen; or if they click on number 3, display the navigation bar with this content, and so on.’ We’re integrating three key pieces of information that, when used together, create the potential for an enhanced viewing experience,” he continued. “First is information about content that the service provider has available in the network. Second is information about what the viewer is watching at a point in time. Third is information the content provider has about their content library–including advertising–that the user might be interested in.

OK so this is like a circa 2002 UK Interactive TV application or service but as it is ubiquitous across the whole content pool, makes it unique. I wonder what is driving this (not yet rolled out offering) and it seems as expected a serious amount of marketing emphasis is on the table – namely targeted advertising.

I think if we take this new capability, and tie it in with our advertising module and the communications module we’ve just added, and some of the other personalization capabilities that we’re doing, we’ll have a platform that allows all the constituents–the content people and the advertising people, as well as the operators–to be able to control the things that are important for them to control

Not that tAds are a bad thing, because in a rich on-demand world that is the key business model to generate revenue in opposition to mass ad avoidance and as we all know people avoid things that they don’t want to see. I for one, am comfortable with ads being pushed at me that I will find relevant, and I as often tell people at conferences, give me a channel/pot of ads that have good production value, are innovative and are personal relevant and I may watch that over many of the programmes that will inevitably appear over and over again in the multitude of on-demand portals about to grace out media lives.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005