Future Search

Link: John Battelle’s Searchblog: Friday Sketching: TV and Search Merge.

Riffing John’s blog again. There’s a lot of v good stuff here and this post in particular cought my eye. Having just completed a project on the future of media consumption I found this analysis of search in a multimedia, converged home environment very plausible. Search on TV? Yep. We’re going to have to cross this bridge soon anyway when storage capacity on DVRs breaks the current EPG model.

In John’s scenario an app like Google’s desktop search is key in enabling the web and TV [via DVR] to allow for cross pollination of media content. Your search history and viewing habits are cached and shared. Content tags from programmes are cross-referenced with your recent search results:

Alerted by the marketing potential that your recent surfing has created, GDS instantly uploads these potentials as database entries in Google’s central advertising marketplace – a marketplace that looks and works an awful lot like AdWords works right now.

Up on Google’s ad marketplace, millions of similar entries are aggregated and presented to hundreds of thousands of advertisers for sale in a computer-mediated real time auction. Most of those advertisers have preset their spending levels, demographic preferences, and most importantly, intent-based targeting profiles. In the time it takes for an average Google search to complete – less than a second – three advertisements have already been sold against each of the five programs you’ve selected.

Adverts that are specific to you in time [in last half hour] are displayed as options to watch with the programmes Tivo has recorded for you. Would you watch them? Who knows.. but if they were specifically targeted to your needs and wants then it’s far more likely you would than if they were not. The fact that this is time speocific is important. Traditional direct marketing worked on established personal factors over a long period of time – job, salary, general media consumption [sky, cable], postcode etc. All important but very blunt instruments. Digital real time media offers the potential for A/V adverts to be far more useful.

I’ve been the young dad in John’s story of TV search. This is a compelling vision. Albeit a rather disturbing one of the potential power of context specific marketing on the unconcious and our decision to buy.