LinkedTV’s offer to European broadcasters – added value linking of TV to the Web (talk @EBU_TECH)

Scientific co-ordinator Lyndon Nixon (MODUL University) took the opportunity of the last month of the LinkedTV project to give a presentation during the EBU Broadthinking event about Linked Television and its offer to European broadcasters to provide added value links from their TV programming to Web content. LinkedTV is now looking at industry uptake of its complete solution and was pleased to have the opportunity to talk to an audience of largely European broadcaster members of the EBU.

Dr Nixon focused on how TV viewers have companion devices with them while watching and turn to those devices when they are interested in finding out more about something in the TV programme. Indeed, surveys show 25-40% of viewers do this at least occassionally. The problem is the lack of descriptive metadata about what is IN a TV programme and the disconnection between available metadata and external apps to use that metadata means viewers turn to third party sources outside of a broadcasters editorial control (Google, IMDB..) or are left frustrated if they can’t even search (e.g. who painted a painting when one doesn’t know the painting’s name?).

LinkedTV addresses this by providing concept and scene level information about TV content to applications that can be on the viewer’s companion device synced to the TV playback, offering instant and intuitive information gratification – under the broadcaster’s control.  While a Web based implementation is already prototyped in the project, Dr Nixon also turned to bringing Linked Television to broadcast TV. The HbbTV specification has taken a significant step in enabling this type of added value enrichment service in its v2.0 release this year, with support for references to fragments of a DVB broacast stream (using the Media Fragment URI specification already used in LinkedTV) and synchronisation between TV and companion screen content (implemented by the Multiscreen Toolkit in LinkedTV). Broadcasters still need to consider the identification and annotation of TV programs beyond the EPG level, which LinkedTV can support with a set of rich analysis and annotation tools,  as well as the added value to provide viewers with links to other content alongside TV, whether on a mobile companion app or a future HbbTV 2.0 app, which they can produce and check using LinkedTV’s enrichment services and Editor Tool.

In our view, the traditional reticience of broadcasters to give viewers the means to browse elsewhere on the Web “away from their content” needs to give way to embracing Linked Television as an opportunity to retain viewers with a more satisfying TV experience, win new viewers and promote archived or long tail content anew:

  • TV viewers today are already multitasking, browsing Web content alongside their TV consumption. Not providing one’s own service to support this simply keeps viewers using other services outside of the broadcasters editorial control.
  • Broadcasters have a content advantage in both knowing what is INSIDE their programming (especially if they can capture this in the production step) and having the most relevant content for TV enrichment OUTSIDE of it, whether in their own archives or with content partners for which they can arrange exclusive access.
  • Broadcasters have a delivery advantage in that they can associate the enrichments directly into their TV output, whether on broadband or broadcast, giving viewers direct access to browse associated links in a WebTV or SmartTV environment while supporting also the default of passive viewing —  instead of needing them to actively open a third party app, sync with the broadcast and THEN get the enrichments.

LinkedTV offers technology consultancy and proof of concept development, just contact us – and find out more about our products and scenarios at

Dr Lyndon Nixon speaks at EBU Broadthinking 2015 about Linked Television and HbbTV 2.0


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