Many years ago when I was doing product development at MTV, I got obsessed with the idea of allowing users to create their own interactive tv applications in flash and get them on our channels. The idea was to allow the best apps to be overlayed on top of the MTV channel and in a sense make MTVs graphical layer open source (with added SMS functionality). I think Nick Rockwell, being the upper smart tech dude he is, actually managed to get MTVs broadcast system to accept flash files – but at that time I had left.
Its therefore great to witness an slightly different execution of that project. This time, its the Allan and the player boys at Joost who have made it happen. The concept basically the same, to allow any users to create any cool interactive active tv application on top of any of the shows on Joost via flash and an API.*
While the current twitter test app is pretty basic, its really only developers fantasy that is the limit of what can be done. I have worked on all sorts of interactive tv platforms from open tv, over liberate to MPH and it has always been the technology that was the limitation of that could be done. Now is our creativity.
Have a look at Joost Labs.
* Clarification: Interactive tv applications are in their core form all created with a mixture of a number of tech features; text/graphic overlays and animations, the ability to stop, start, forward, jump to, pause, change audio/volume track and the option for integration/mash up with other services. On traditional TV, MTV and BBC seems to have been the ones who have managed to create to most advanced and innovative applications on e.g. Sky’s digital platform in the UK. However, no one has until now been able to create a smash hit interactive format – so its intriguing to see if making these interactive tv formats easier to do (by allowing developers to do them in flash) will spark some new thinking is this area. That said, maybe TV is just a passive storytelling method by nature – and all the interactivity and innovation will be around making communication and social interaction around the video more seamless.