The Next Big Thing in Personal TV… Personality

Needle in a HaystackEvery time I walk into my office, I understand the value of search and discovery across multiple silos. There’s the pile of board summaries in the corner. The stack of projects on my desk. And those folders over there— I’m not quite sure what’s in them. Where’s next year’s budget forecast again?

The video world is a lot like my office only a little less dusty, a little more virtual and—I shudder to think—a lot more cluttered. There’s linear video. Your PVR playlist. VOD. Your Netflix queue. And the vast, untamed world of online video and user-generated content.

I’m not quite sure who’s responsible for coming up with those new words the media industry loves to create, but one that’s been inching its way into common use is “curation.” In this case, it’s a fancy way of talking about the ability to bring intelligent content discovery to the chaos of multiplatform video.

It’s not about the amount of content,’s Steve Rosenbaum tells Bob Garfield in Advertising Age; there’s more than enough of that. The future “will hinge on the discovery of content,” he said. “It’s the needle-in-the-haystack problem.”

Recommendation algorithms can only go so far, and due to the ever-growing content on the Web, we’ve all experienced the gradual decline of the usefulness of typical search engines. This has led to a proliferation of websites that offer alternatives to finding personally-relevant Web content: Pinterest, Digg, Delicious, etc. The bottom line—for true personalization, there needs to be an element of human intelligence and even personality.

Steve talks about a few scenarios where curation can be applied to the TV experience: Professionally “curated” channels, like architectural videos that would be organized by content experts such as Architectural Digest; content that’s curated by individuals or communities of viewers; and brand-curated channels, such as cooking videos that are curated—there’s that word again—by the Betty Crocker folks.

The point is, as TV evolves, the interactive interface and the intelligence behind it take on a much greater importance. And it’s Steve Rosenbaum’s opinion that the future belongs to those who can create that search and discovery environment.

As for me, I’m just hoping to find somebody who can curate my office.