If you know Rovi, I applaud you ladies an gentlemen. If you don't, I do not hold it against you. They are information hoarders (in a good way actually) and own databases on just about all things metadata and copyright protection. What do you care? Well, with their new service they are taking that information they possess and turning it to a good for the people with AllRovi.com, a search-and-recommendation engine for entertainment. Thanks to recent acquisition, Sidereel, this also includes TV content.
Rovi supplies a lot of electronic programming guides so you might already use their stuff and simply not know it. But now, they want you to know who they are and use them as a search and discovery portal for music and movies.
What's different about this Rovi move is that its core product, electronic programming guides, is essentially getting some exposure on the open web as opposed to the connected devices that has been its focal point to date. Sure, there's competition from several quarters like Clicker but they're trying to offer a bit more customization and information than others. That could make them the de facto choice over time.
What might also be key to their success are strategic partnerships with companies like Boxee, Google and Apple. If they can tie into these devices and others like tablets, they could definitely gain a fast, firm foothold.
They recently purchased Sidereel which is the TV content so when they can roll that into AllRovi.com they'll have music. movies and TV all in one. The company, Sidereel, was been blasted for often linking to pirated content on the web, a practice that will most likely have the kibosh slapped down on it as Rovi is known for copy protection. What better way to make the company legit than by having it bought by a copy protection agency?
Their new AllRovi.com is definitely in the rough beta stages. The navigation is clunky at times and it can be hard to find what you are looking for. They really need to work on streamlining it and tying all the content together before I see a lot of consumer uptake on it. The really cool thing would be when you can be on there and then send recommendations down to your set-top box at home for later viewing at home or whatever. I know that can be done with some apps and I think tying all of our screens together will be vital this year.
How they will Win
Aside from having a massive amount of content, Rovi has a quality name with a lot of strategic partners already. But if they start teaming up with online content providers like Hulu, VEVO and Netflix, they could hit a massive audience right off the bat. Then when they start tying that all together by infiltrating the home via Boxee Boxes, Google TV set-tops, and Apple TV, they could be the missing piece in the content discovery puzzle that intimately ties together the online providers as well as the broadcast content.
Their EPGs (electronic programming guides) are already on many cable company services and they've now got the online component to bring it together. What this means is they could help the screen convergence we've been seeing take place over the last few years.
It also means that, because they accept advertising, we could see them become a major player in the online video ad market, they could even offer campaigns that run across both their online presence as well as their cable and satellite EPGs.
They have some really slick stuff for discovery. I'll just copy a bit here for you to see how powerful of a player they will be for online video discovery if they play their cards right.
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