It's 1964 and you are sitting in front of the T.V. with your kid sister. Mom and Dad are on the couch. There is no arguing about what to watch; "The Ed Sullivan Show" wins hands down....
Fast-forward 42 years and you are watching video from your computer at work. Your husband is making dinner in the kitchen, replete with a screen of its own. Your kids, holed up in their rooms, are probably glued to their own laptops.
Is communal video consumption dead?
This is one of the more disturbing, yet fascinating, elements of a video search session moderated by Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro at the OMMA West conference last week. As the panelists eagerly described the many ways to index and then search for video, it dawned on me that most searchable content, such as news, is designed for individual consumption, making customization, personalization and search quite easy. Even music, in our portable world, is no longer about sharing. Then along comes video search. What was once a communal activity is now being rendered individual via the search function.
So while the panelists insisted that video search preferences create a better user experience, I was stuck on the anthropological question of whether watching T.V. with others has died. No more movie nights with the family? Having friends over to watch the game? A romantic flick at home with your other half? Even more disconcerting was that two of the panelists didn't even seem to think that understanding consumer behavior mattered.
Thankfully, Eric Picard of Microsoft spoke up to say, yes, Microsoft had taken into consideration consumption patterns while developing video search technology. David Berkowitz of 360i also suggested that just because technology allows for individual preference doesn't mean that people will change. "If you have a joint checking account, maybe in the future you should have a joint TV account as well."
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