I shared my thoughts on how technology and sports are converging on TV at a recent conference. It was hosted by NASCAR and Comcast for businesses involved in the sport and hit a range of interesting topics.
Video highlights (6 min):
My talk focused on the four main vectors that I believe bringing sports fans closer to the action while at home:
Video: Quality overall thru things like 4K HDR and changing the viewing angle of the event (as done by NBC Sports in Olympics)
Stats: Visualizing stats better to give you more context around the action
Personal: Follow your favorite teams/athletes and never miss a moment thru targeted notifications
Social: How social players are connecting fans to the action on their platforms (e.g. Facebook Stadium, Twitter Moments)
Tweet from event host:
Spoke at NASCAR event on how sports and technology are converging to bring fans ever closer to the action at home.
When I sit down to watch a baseball game, it’s fun trying to think like a major league manager, guess- along with player moves and assess each pitcher-batter match-up. Secretly, I really just want to be a better coach of my son’s little league team. But unless the station I’m watching shows a specific relevant stat or I take my eyes off the game to look something up on my phone, my armchair decisions are usually based more on gut than data.
Our Xfinity Sports App on X1 has always been a fun, helpful companion to the main event, but starting today we are dramatically improving the experience for baseball lovers by re-engineering the app to give fans more data and statistics than ever before.
With the addition of the Baseball Extras, the new X1 Sports app will be one of the most in-depth, TV sports companion tools in the country, providing pre-game matchups, live batter-by-batter stats, and full post-game analysis – all on the same screen as the game itself, for no extra charge. Read more…
This week one of my development teams launched a new feature in partnership with Philly startup OneTwoSee that I’m particularly proud of. Excerpt from my post on the Comcast Corporate Blog: When I sit down to watch a baseball game, it’s fun trying to think like a major league manager, guess- along with player moves […]
If you’re interested at all in TV you can’t miss rumors of the (real) Apple TV or the rising sales of the actual Apple TV as the most popular “accessory” for iPhones and iPads (10 million sold). We also hear that Intel’s announced its working on its own TV killer. And the one less talked about, which I think is much more likely, is the possibility of a Kindle TV by Amazon–they continue to rack up content deals (e.g. CBS, NBCUniversal) for their streaming service, have hired countless folks from the TV industry, and have a proven track record of building consumer products with billing relationships tied to them (Kindle).
Who will shape the Future of TV?
If you’re new to thinking about the TV space then I recommend a primer on the business done by Kit Digital which outlines the players, how they make money, and their general strategy. As someone operating in the business, I’d say its fairly accurate:
The 7 key players, circa 2013: The Networks, The MVPDs, The Premium Networks, The OTT Networks, Smart TVs, Third Party devices and Social TV. —Alan Wolk
The primer addresses many of the common questions I tend to hear in discussions like “When will HBO sell HBO GO a la carte?” and “Why are there a bunch of channels I don’t want bundled into ‘Basic Cable’?”
As you might expect, I disagree that all MVPDs are standing still or against innovation (see 5 things you didn’t know Comcast offered). As we innovate in the TV space though we’d be wise to better understand why people pay for TV in the first place. Perhaps the best piece on this was recently shared by Jeremy Toeman (CEO of TV startup Dijit Media) on GigaOm:
As the primary way of watching TV shifts from a traditional broadcast, linear, scheduled, single-device mode to one that is all on-demand, on all devices, available at any time, anywhere, the consumer’s TV watching world is suddenly filled with a curse of choices. If everything we watch requires us to navigate menus, pick from lists, and choose, choose, choose — TV watching is in danger of losing its primary function: escapism. – Jeremy Toeman
In many ways the TV Industry is on the verge of great change in a similar way the mobile phone market was 6 years ago and music industry 12 years ago. Technology is enabling greater innovation, customers are interested in trying alternatives, and there are millions of dollars being invested in developing new products at companies big and small.
In the end I think the winner will need a good combination of understanding the user, great design, saavy business development, and the ability to achieve broad distribution.
It’s both and 2013 will be the year it happens. If you’re interested at all in TV you can’t miss rumors of the (real) Apple TV or the rising sales of the actual Apple TV as the most popular “accessory” for iPhones and iPads (10 million sold). We also hear that Intel’s announced its working on its own […]
This week my team here at Comcast Silicon Valley put out a new iOS app aimed at solving the age-old problem of finding something on TV but in a fresh new way.
What’s On by Comcast Labs shows XFINITY TV customers, in a visual way, what’s on right now sorted by a proprietary algorithm that puts what we think will be most popular programs for a given time slot and then tune/record directly from the app.
The app enables you to personalize the experience with your favorite shows, channels, and even what shows you and your friend’s like on Facebook. For your favorite shows we’ll push an alert the day a new episode will air so you won’t miss it.
By default the app will bias toward HD versions of shows but you can also filter to see just what movies are on (or starting soon), kids shows, sports, or just what “new” episodes are airing.
Since we’re big fans of the Lean Startup methodology, here’s some of the hypotheses we’re looking to validate that customers want to:
Browse Live TV listings in a visual way sorted by popularity
Receive push alerts for new episodes of their favorite shows.
Connect their social graph to see what shows their friends “Like”
We’ve got lots more ideas of things we want to try but also will be listening to you and watching the metrics closely to see where we should focus. In positioning it as “by Comcast Labs” we hope to learn a lot from this app and there’s a strong possibility any successful features could make there way into other XFINITY offerings.
This week my team here at Comcast Silicon Valley put out a new iOS app aimed at solving the age-old problem of finding something on TV but in a fresh new way. What’s On by Comcast Labs shows XFINITY TV customers, in a visual way, what’s on right now sorted by a proprietary algorithm that puts […]