The concept of the personalized ‘linear-feel’ channel that is actually composed of a succession of on-demand assets that are curated and then presented to you by a platform operator is gaining a foothold. As we reported last year, the Cream UX concept from Accedo presents you with VOD movies, based on what a video service provider thinks you will like, in a linear-like setting where you join content that is already playing (like a linear channel is) and then decide if you want to keep watching, restart the movie or ‘change channels’ to another film. If you change channel you are really exiting one unicast VOD session and joining another but, again, the new film would be playing already rather than waiting for you to press play to see the opening credits.
3 Screen Solutions (3SS), another well known multiscreen UEX provider, has introduced a solution called Linear on Demand (LoD) which has a broadly similar purpose – making it easier to find content you want and less likely to give up looking. This solution is designed to aggregate content from multiple sources, including operator VOD, broadcaster catch-up, SVOD providers and other OTT video (including from services like YouTube and Vimeo) and present the assets one after another, so that the content just keeps flowing.
The platform operator takes the role of curator, choosing what assets to show you and where to get them, based on an understanding of what the user likes. This relies on a strong recommendation engine but users can skip the content they are currently watching and move straight to the next asset. In theory, you can keep skipping through content for as long as it takes to get bored or for the service provider to run out of recommendation options.
According to Kai-Christian Borchers, Founder & Managing Director at 3SS, this personalized channel can be given an EPG slot but, unlike a real linear channel, there is no time-based schedule. Instead there is a running order of assets (that can be added to on-the-fly). However, the on-demand viewing can be closely integrated with live/linear so that a fan of Bayern Munich, for example, could be alerted to the fact that the German football team are playing in the Champions League at 8.00pm and this is being covered live on one of the linear sports channels. You can choose to tune-in to the live broadcast feed (and of course, you could also switch to live streaming content from the Internet – this is just a different source).
Once the live football game is finished (or your team is 5-0 down and you give up in disgust), you can go back to the personal ‘channel’ and resume the content you left behind which, unlike in a real linear channel, will still be waiting for you. Skip, watch, skip, watch, go to bed.
Users can feed the platform with information about what they like to improve the recommendations (especially from a cold-start). All the video sources, like OTT apps, would need to be integrated into the television platform, obviously. The real backend magic is how you assemble the assets for viewing.
Photo: The Linear on Demand user experience concept is part of 3READY, the ‘rapid-launch’ multiscreen solution 3SS launched last autumn.