The Future of TV: Between Voice and Choice?
A few of us recently got together at a very lo-spec sharing of projects and ideas called Beebcamp. Roo Reynolds of BBC Vision wrote up some of it on his blog and I thought I would expand on some of what I talked about.
I mentioned that different BBC departments will need to collaborate in the the grey area between the need for a Voice and the wealth of Choice - when it comes to defining how people will consume video in the future.
FM&T's blogger in residence Steve Bowbrick has interviewed Matt McDonnell about search here and their discussion is obviously technology led - so in what follows I'm trying to open up the debate to include all parts of the business.
There could be a tendency for traditional television executives to depend on the Voice - e.g. established TV Channels and Programme brands.
On the flipside, the technologists could believe that this will all be solved by the algorithms and interfaces of on-demand technology - The Choice.
The answer is somewhere in between, so lets have a look at what the qualities are of 'Choice and Voice':
Photo by aemkei on Flickr.
Voices include the BBC Television Channels of BBC One, Two, Three and Four. They have traditionally helped people to decide what to watch. They are brands - they are a promise, frequently fulfilled, of what you will get.
For a brand to succeed you must get something you want and expect from them. Established Voice brands are having to compete in a fragmented market- where people are only loyal to the brands that frequently satisfy them.
Our most obvious Choice product is the very successful BBC iPlayer, allowing people to catch up at their convenience. In addition to this, the BBCis developing recommendations systems - allowing you get options more relevant to your interests anywhere on the BBC online. Choice is about relevance of content and convenience of the distribution. The danger is when these suggestions become the only means of consumption - and people require other suggestions outside the areas that are already known to or selected by them.
The area between Choice and Voice
If TV executives and technologists can appreciate the strengths of what each can offer - the (still) dominance of linear television brands and the emerging sophistication of on-demand technologies will compliment each other.
What will these new forms of suggestion be? What are the new Choices? What are the new Voices? Who and what will people trust to filter their options? How will our models of trust change?
Are Choice & Voice the right areas for us to be considering or do you think that we missing something here? Should we tear it all down and start again? What do you do and what would you like to see us do? Any thoughts welcome.
Max Gadney is Channel Editor, Multiplatform, BBC Vision.