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Real-Time-Shifted Content. I want it.

January 8, 2011

I love some of the smart TV stuff on display here at CES. Steve Ballmer pointed out in his keynote that we should be interacting with content on the biggest screen in our homes, and while that’s a very rough paraphrase, I completely agree with the words I just put in his mouth.

Big beautiful TVs are cheaper than ever, so let’s fill those screens with content and interactivity. Browsing and searching instead of passive channel surfing. A “lean-forward 10-foot interface.”

For instance, the killer smart TV app I’m waiting/hoping/praying for is one that blends my real-time social activity with my on-demand, time-shifting media consumption habits. The two are often at odds.

The problem: On Saturdays and Sundays, I have to be careful on Facebook and I have to completely avoid Twitter because I don’t watch sports in real time (I hate taking 3.5 hours to watch a game that I can get through in less than 1). So I get to watch the game when I want, but I lose all the commentary and reactions from my social sphere, which I want.

The solution: Develop a smart TV app that addresses the disconnect between real-time and time-shifting.

The most obvious example: When a referee’s call is overturned, or a big touchdown is scored, or a punt is blocked, give me the reactions from my Twitter friends in a sidebar. How hard can that be? All it would take is some clever utilization of timestamping and hashtags.

The same principles would apply for Glee, American Idol, whatever. Time-shift the show without losing the “real-time” social reactions.

For us as marketers, the possibilities could be powerful, because we would be able to sponsor moments in time and reach that long tail of time-shifted viewers. It could be as easy as a rapidly deployed sponsored tweet: “This goal-line stand is brought to you by Symantec—nothing gets through!” Or whatever–the incredible Marshawn Lynch run that just happened could be sponsored by Energizer–he kept going and going.

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