Tivo and Personalized Predictive Media (Part III)

My first two posts (here and here) on personalized predictive media covered both Amazon and Findory as examples. Both services give to me content not only that I know I want, but also content that I wasn’t even aware I wanted. Another illustration of this personalization/prediction in effect is offered by Tivo. Like Amazon’s purchasing recommendations and Findory’s news/blog suggestions, Tivo records and offers users television shows based on their past viewing patterns and user input.

To be honest, I haven’t found Tivo’s suggested programs to be particularly accurate or useful to what I actually want. I am not sure if they are still working on their engine, or if my television tastes are difficult to discern, but my satisfaction with this aspect of their service has been lacking. Have others had similar experiences?

That being said, I raise the Tivo example for two reasons. First, because it is a high-profile company heading towards a personalized predictive media offering. Secondly and more importantly, Tivo seamlessly integrates the personalization/prediction directly into the user experience. On the Tivo remote control are thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons for the user to directly input her input. The engine-determined content rests side-by-side the user-requested content in the listings area, the “Now Playing List.” The key here is that the personalized predictions aren’t a separate component, but rather play an integrated role in the user experience. When a user isn’t required to think about ensuring that content finds them, and does anyway, it is then when it is most valuable.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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