Portal for MSOs
(...or Satellite, IPTV, TelcoTV, etc.)
A new way to profit from simultaneous media use now
(MSOs) can leverage their unique real-time access to individual viewer activity to offer a
unique CoTV Web Portal that drives the viewer's PC in full synchrony with whatever
they are watching on TV.
This provides new value to users, programmers, and advertisers that
MSOs can profit from. It can be deployed using existing customer premise equipment (basic
two-way STBs, and standard PCs).
Much of this can apply to DBS satellite distributors
as well, when the satellite box is connected to a back-channel, such as by DSL (or
satellite), and to other distribution services such as IPTV or TelcoTV.
The CoTV Web service provides a viewer-specific focal
point to organize and promote all PC-based user interaction related to TV viewing,
including direct access to enhancements to any and all programs as they are viewed. Unlike
conventional, dumber forms of "sync-TV," it fully coordinates with channel
changes, VOD, DVRs, trick-play, and addressable targeting.
- Advertising enhancement smart-sync - fully
synchronized windows for direct response and supplementary content related to ads (with
full activity tracking). Advertiser funded incentives can be offered to stimulate regular
- Program enhancement smart-sync - fully synchronized
windows for content and interaction. Coverage can be phased in special-interest
channel/program genres aimed at groups of heavy interactors:
- News (general, financial, etc.)
- Games, Reality, Kids, etc.
- Smart Electronic Program Guides (EPGs)
- presented in high-resolution format, under viewer control, including power grids,
sophisticated program discovery tools and organizers, and rich magazine format
alternatives, using advanced personalization with 100% private filters and intelligent
agent / recommender functions, and with direct linkage to TV tuning
The CoTV Web service can operate much like an ordinary Web portal
(and can be seamlessly integrated into an ordinary Web portal) -- it simply adds support
to relate Web pages to TV-context (and vice versa).
The Web service/portal can do this based on linkage of the
TV and PC through the cable head-end. The TV link need only report and
respond to channel changes that can be done using installed set-top-boxes, with
only simple, downloadable, software changes, and with very low bandwidth impact. The
head-end tracks the user's viewing, and coordinates with the viewer's PC through a CoTV
portal, as shown below. (This tracking can be kept fully private, and encrypted
outside the home.)
This builds on the standard function of a cable TV viewing, as shown
in the upper portion of the diagram.
The addition of CoTV enables PCs in each
room to be coordinated with the TV in that room, as shown in the lower portion of the
- This offers the viewer coordinated use of both a
"lean-back" (or "ten-foot") user interface, and a
"lean-forward" (or "two-foot") userface.
- This can be used in a single room, and can also support multiple
users (or groups of users) with TVs in multiple rooms, each coordinated as an
independent group by CoTV software.
The user experience of the CoTV Portal is
simulated in a Demo
Benefits to MSOs (or satellite operators)
- MSO control of smart-sync information enables a
unique ability to offer a wide range of Web-based services that others cannot match.
- Advertiser fees can be obtained for smart-sync
services, and substantial t-commerce revenue or performance-based fees
can be generated by direct response to TV ads.
- Subscriber fees can be obtained for smart-sync
services, once consumer awareness of their value is established (such as after a trial
- Cross-selling of digital cable with broadband service--and
reduction of churn--can be fueled by CoTV viewing (which motivates
always-on Web access)
- Allied Web-based services can achieve high margin by
leveraging viewer interest and activity relating to TV and the CoTV Portal
- Minimal capital expense is required, since no new
customer premises equipment is needed. Proliferation of wireless laptops and PC tablets,
along with WiFi networks (driven by demands other than CoTV), will encourage increased
Benefits to viewers, programmers, and advertisers
- Viewers can obtain powerful TV-related Web features
that exploit their Web-savvy and minimize interference with TV viewing, with almost no
added effort. The CoTV Web Portal coordinates seamlessly with the TV to create a
powerful, user-centric control center for TV-related Web features -- one that supports
serious interactivity. (And smart-sync data privacy can be fully contolled.). See Why I want my CoTV.
- Advertisers can achieve the full benefit of rich
interactivity and direct response to make their expenditures far more productive and
accountable, and can leverage current Web skills, standards, and back-end systems.
See Integrating TV and Web Advertising.
- Programmers can develop a full range of enhancements
to build audience involvement without the severe constraints of one TV screen, and can
leverage Web skills and standards. Traffic to programmer enhancement sites will
increase as users are automatically linked to relevant enhancements, without need to know
of their existence and their URL (and without need for costly on-air promotion).
No barriers to crossing the chasm
There are no fundamental or steep hurdles to rapid deployment and
contagious growth to scale.
- CoTV Web Portals can be introduced with basic EPG and
smart-sync advertising features, possibly starting with a content focus such as movies or
sports, and grow as usage and content explands
- Millions of households already have all needed equipment, and many
more will soon.
- Incremental subscriber growth can be achieved at low cost with basic
STBs and cable modems.
- Further subscriber growth will be facilitated by proliferation of
wireless laptops and tablets, and home networks
- Peer exposure and word of mouth can produce viral demand that is
- Local cable advertisers can begin to benefit from highly focused
direct response ads.
- National reach can be cobbled from scattered MSO initiatives, based
on consistent Web-based technology
- Advanced features are fully supportable: VOD, DVRs, trick-play, and
- Adoption of basic CoTV service can stimulate demand for
advanced STBs with one-box interactivity, as a fully compatible extension
that CoTV adds to VOD and cable broadband modem services
The diagram below
shows how CoTV can accelerate and stimulate revenues for a range of digital cable
services. The colored arrows show capital expense investments (red) and offsetting
revenues (green), with rough magnitudes indicated by how far down the line extends.
To the left of the
first dotted line, it shows investment in digital bandwidth and two-way back-channels, at
high capital cost -- enabling VOD, which is beginning to yield high revenue. To the
right of the second dotted line, it shows one-screen ITV, with its sizable investment in
advanced STBs, and its large (but unproven) revenue returns. As shown, this has been
delayed, due to lack of capital and confidence.
Between the dotted
lines, it shows the new synergies enabled by CoTV. CoTV can be added to exploit the
two-way back-channel already installed for VOD, with very modest added investment.
It can generate significant ITV revenues presumably not much less than one-screen
ITV (and arguably even more). That could be justification in itself, given the low
capex and potentially short time-to-market.
But CoTV adds further
synergies (shown by the heavy black arrows): Use of CoTV makes an always-on
connection highly attractive, and thus can cross-sell cable modem service. In
addition, a thick-client CoTV-based EPG can provide powerful features for dealing with the
every show ever recorded riches of VOD -- and thus increase VOD sales, by
making it less likely that desired programs will go unnoticed. Such an EPG can also
provide a high power grids with advanced user interfaces for scanning hundreds of