“Over-the-top” is the new black

(iStock)Recently I attended the TV of Tomorrow Conference which focuses on understanding how the interactive multiplatform television industry is structured. It also looks at the emerging business models in this space, and how user-generated content, social networking and other Web 2.0 phenomena are impacting the television space.  (Check out Tracy Swedlow’s blog for more on the evolving interactive television industry.)

As a speaker and panelist, I took some time to chat with some industry professionals.  Most prominent this year was the universal admission that cable is falling behind in terms of interactive deployments and broadband video or “over-the-top” video services (meaning they ride on top of the broadband bus, but they don’t require any business or technology affiliations with the underlying broadband network) are leading the way with true interactive capabilities.

From Yahoo to Hulu, to the new Boxee…over-the-top is exploding.

Warren Schlichting, formally of Comcast and now Canoe Ventures and Seth Shapiro of New Amsterdam Media, both established experts in the cable industry, told me what keeps them up at night with some of these new models:

One of the other topics featured heavily was the concept of  “social tv” and how to make video experiences more community oriented and interactive, without multiple distractions clouding the experience on a consumer’s monitor.

Ben Watson from Overlay TV talked about his broadband player/tool and how their software provides interactive features in full screen mode that’s contextual to the video playing: