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Will the EPG be a Search Engine?

how will you SEO a tv-show?

3:07 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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One more of those "you probably heard it on WebmasterWorld first" posts

This topic doesn't really fit into any of the SE specific forums. I'm not sure if it fits with the occupation of the average WebmasterWorld member either, as it's potentially very big business (as in very very big), but it certainly is all about search engines. And the web. For starters, i'll add. And, there's a SEO spin to it, too.

Let's get to the point then. Rumour has it (..sounds good, eh?) that Google, as well as MSN, as well as Yahoo are working on indexing media files. Video, that is.

From what has been reported elsewhere, Google seems to be working on indexing the text shown on screen during a video, while there's no "factual rumours" about what MSN or Yahoo are doing, other than building indexes based on titles and/or other meta data. The paved route for MSN will of course be to integrate all this with the media player somewhat, so it's more like Microsoft than MSN - but still, it's not the first time we hear that web search and PC software seems to converge into one for that company.

Web search? Yes. Search for video (aka "multimedia files") on the internet. A multimedia search engine (or two, three...) is in the works.

That's interesting, right? No more going to those shady whatchamacallits to get your daily dose of pr0n, spyware and popups - just typeahead in your good old favourite SE, find the vids, enjoy the experience, and avoid the malware ;)

Umh, think again. Although this might in fact become a very real usage scenario if they permit indexing of that kind of material, it's not like that is the reason why they're doing it. Think more like, say... your daily dose of Oprah, of course.

Here's where the big bucks are. Broadband connected consumers watching their fav soaps as usual. IP-transmitted movies and television, digital rights management, walled gardens, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, and all the other heavy buzz words come to mind.

But of course we (ie. they) start with web search. There's already tons of multimedia content out there, and anyone observing the RIAA and movie industry will know that they "just don't get this internet thing", so it's not likely that "big media" will follow anytime soon. But they will have to. Sometime, perhaps even soon. The first web based broadband tv channels are launched already. Some of them launched, lived, and died years ago, while others are launching now or "anytime soon". Worldwide. That is, "Broadband-wide" as it requires some critical mass.

Well, we're there now. In some parts of the world with otherwise nice standards of living, and so on and soforth. The largest commercial real television channel in my country launched a brand new PPV tv channel this week or the week before. Not on the tube: On the web. Others have done that before elsewhere in the world, but rarely (if ever) real media outfits. The "old media" is slowly starting to wake up now.

So, here's the EPG word (Electronic Program Guides). To be brief, that word is the nightmare of most TV-execs that have just a little sense of the general direction that technology is heading.

Everybody with a slight bit of insight will know that there are far more channels out there than will ever fit on one remote control. Also, with electronic distribution, you can increase the number of channels drastically. To the great benefit of the consumer, of course. Imagine, say, Dr. Phil and Oprah 24/7/365 on your PC, perhaps connected to your TV-set or whatever you like - marvellous, eh?

Someone, somewhere has got to organize all that information and provide a neat interface for consumers from which they can consume what they like when they like. Sort of like TiVo, only so many times larger, and you supply the hard disk.

So, how will you SEO a TV show?
What the TV-execs want is to have their channel(s) on those EPG buttons. The first of them. Sound familliar?

12:55 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Excellent post - well ahead of the curve.

Yahoo Video search was later released.

9:32 am on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"Tonight's show is about hair care, hair care, hair care. Good hair care. Bad hair care. Commercial hair care. Hair care products. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, hair care is our topic tonight, on 'Hair Care for Hair Care Lovers.'"

Although I doubt *that* sort of SEO work will ever happen on TV, I can see it in cheap, immediate-need books, especially if Google's universal library will allow you buy them on impulse as ebooks.

10:13 am on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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the potential is there to go beyond meta data and displayed text. Take a look at:


for pattern matching and object retrieval from within video files. its pretty basic atthe moment, but the possibilities are fascinating (IMO)

<added> unfortunately, the live demo seems to be down at the mo :(</added>