[itvt] Column: The iTV Doctor Is In! Multi-Sourced Content Curation from aioTV

Dear Readers:

I was talking to a senior programming exec. from one of the network families the other day, and he was bemoaning the disconnect between his enormous library of content, and his ability to monetize it.

He said, "I'm like an independent farmer--land rich and cash poor. I have a gigantic library of content, and the only way I can make money is to license it through the cable and satellite guys. But they're only using a fraction of what I've got. Something has to change."

And that's a story we're hearing more often. Everybody from CBS's Les Moonves to Discovery's David Zaslav is talking about ways to go direct-to-consumer to maximize the value of their networks. But there is a difficult balance between maintaining the very lucrative traditional service provider distribution deals, and staying in front of the curve of consumer demand.

But it turns out there is a way to, as they say, "have your cake and eat it, too." A new player in the game, aioTV, has built an orchestration engine that allows a television network, a service provider, or a partnership between the two, to deliver a targeted and blended combination of streaming, on-demand, online and library content to consumers, based on the consumers' interests.

It's easier said than done, of course. I just fired up my snazzy new Sony Blu-ray Home Theater system with a big, red NETFLIX button on the remote. I can find a simple menu that includes (take a deep breath): Sony Entertainment Network, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, MLB.TV, Crackle, NHL Game Center, YouTube, WWE Network, Snagfilms, NBA Game Time, Red Bull TV, TechCrunch, WeatherNation, Wild TV, AOL On, Vudu, Hulu, VooDoo (just kidding) and the list keeps going. Who has the time or the patience to go through all that?

The consumer certainly doesn't. And that's where aioTV delivers, by providing the orchestration engine to curate all that content in a way that makes sense to the average non-technophile. There is a lot of heavy lifting, which is patent-protected.

I first met aioTV CEO, MIKE EARLE, at the New York TV of Tomorrow show in December, and I've been watching their development leading up to a sort of "coming out party" at the NAB Convention in April.

iTV Doctor: Mike, tell us a little about how aioTV got started...

Mike Earle: We started the company with the notion that there is a lot of quality content across a number of Internet sources and no way to get this content all-in-one place. This is how we started all-in-one TV--aioTV. http://aio-tv.com/corp//

iTV Doctor: Can you summarize, for the non-technophiles (myself included), what it is that aioTV does?

Mike Earle: Consumers have more choices than ever to access content across multiple sources; from their TV service to the avalanche of apps and Internet video services. We unify these sources in a single TV experience, providing consumers a better way to discover and enjoy the content they want without having to navigate across content sources, learn multiple experiences, track a series of logins, or figure out which HDMI connection to use.


iTV Doctor: And how do you do that?


Mike Earle: We developed a patented technology that delivers video content from multiple platforms to consumers. The technology normalizes multi-sourced content, enabling unified presentation and playback with the toolset to create custom viewing experiences.

iTV Doctor: Why should content owners and distributors be interested in aioTV?

Mike Earle: Content owners and distributors are exploring new business and distribution models as they contemplate options across multi-channel, TVE, apps and OTT services. We provide the tools that enable them to connect content to audiences, with the control they need and the monetization they are looking for.


iTV Doctor: You probably won't want to answer this, but what other options are available to achieve the same result?

Mike Earle: Traditional approaches have been to do significant custom development using capital-intensive hybrid set-top devices. The aioTV approach combines virtualized services with low-cost set-tops and BYOD to deliver compelling experiences to a broader audience at a fraction of the cost, time and resources over traditional approaches.

iTV Doctor: I see you're in the Sprockit Hub in the North Hall at the NAB show. I know they get a lot of traffic from your target customer base. Will you be showing a live demo?

Mike Earle: We'll be demonstrating publishing tools for content owners to control the publishing of TVE content and the corresponding unified experience where consumers can get deeply engaged with a blended experience that combines content owners' linear, TVE and VOD content in a single experience.

iTV Doctor: And after NAB, I see you're at Digital Hollywood Spring?

Mike Earle: My panel is "Ultimate TV: The OTT, Cross Platform, Multiscreen Experience--Navigated by Set-top, Mobile Device or Console" at 12:30 on April 29th at The Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey.

iTV Doctor: And of course you'll be at TVOT San Francisco in the Presidio on June 23rd and 24th.

Mike Earle: We'll be revealing how our patented orchestration engine enables content owners and distributors to connect consumers with content through the deep linking of content across disparate sources.


The iTV Doctor is Rick Howe, who provides interactive video consulting services to programmers, advertisers and technology providers. He is the recipient of a CTAM Tami Award for retention marketing and this year was inducted into The Cable Pioneers. He is also the co-author of a patent for the use of multiscreen mosaics in EPG's. Endorsed by top cable and satellite distributors, "Dr" Howe still makes house calls, and the first visit is always free. His services include product development, distribution strategy and the development of low-cost interactive applications for rapid deployment across all platforms.


Have a question for the iTV Doctor? Email him at TheiTVDoctor@gmail.com

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