Social TV: Content, Communication, and Communities
Date: July 14-18, 2014 | Tuition: $3,500 | Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 3.0
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Anyone who has argued over what television program to watch, wrestled with a sibling or spouse for the remote control, or gone to a pub to watch (and support) their local sports team knows that television viewing is a highly social experience. TV was always social. The original technological design, content programming, and business model of television relied on it being a social medium: TVs were too expensive to be personal. They were designed for thousands (if not millions) of people to watch the same program at the same time and the programming was funded through an advertising model that demanded shows be popular to the masses, hence becoming part of the cultural and social landscape.
However, TV has changed and is still changing. YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu have changed the viewing landscape for TV consumers as their choices have multiplied beyond the traditional offerings. “Television” has gone from the living room to the living space and more and more portable mobile devices. It has evolved from a controlled distribution system and single stream to an increasingly connected and social experience. As more and more content migrates to the Internet, “personal” video is becoming the norm, not the exception, and this is changing the concept of TV channels. The immediacy and social aspects of TV are being integrated into better experiences. This is disrupting the business of operators, content providers, and advertisers alike. Social Television is now part of daily conversation. As video and TV content consumption moves to the multiscreen and device ecosystem of the new Internet landscape, novel challenges are emerging. Devices like tablets and smartphones and sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix have multiplied the choices for content consumption and commenting in the past few years and created a large number of multiscreen applications that complement mainstream story telling. Social Television initially wanted to recreate the social communities of the living room and water cooler in an age of where social mobility had engendered the dislocation of the traditional means of socializing but where ubiquitous connectivity had the power to reinvent them. Television content is now a creator of communities of people, of devices, and of stories. And, in turn, it helps create the communication that sustains these communities with innovative approaches.
So what is next? In this course we want to plot the next ten years and apply the current disruptions in the TV industry. We want to present novel approaches to forming and sustaining the communities of social television and define strategies to tell stories, deliver content on the device ecosystem, and consume video content in a connected social setting. We want to address these aspects with a cross-disciplinary approach that defines new approaches to social television with and beyond commentary and microblogging. We want to briefly address historical television concepts and technologies to emphasize how the Internet and the mobile network are radically changing the notion of TV itself. The last five to ten years have shown us that TV is not a device or a technology or even specific content anymore but a platform for innovation in video production, distribution, and consumption. We will address specific topics that relate to the creation and delivery of this next generation TV content, such as novel display technology, connected and collaborating devices, content creation in a social context, community viewing challenges over heterogeneous networks, and business cases. There will be a particular emphasis on the place of television in a social context at the center of one’s converging communication technology and entertainment ecosystem. The class will use a systemic approach to cover the end-to-end elements of a Social TV implementation as well as showcasing existing projects and presenting demos that illustrate the different modules. In addition, we'll have team-focused exercises and discussions, culminating in each team developing an idea for a novel approach to television within a five to ten year timeframe.
Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (30%)
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (40%)
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (70%)
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (20%)
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (10%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (25%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (25%)
The Internet brings to bear on TV a curious combination of social and anti-social forces and of traditional and novel viewing behavior. It completes the trend toward individual screens and isolated viewing experiences on a variety of devices and at many locations inside and outside the home. At the same time it helps viewers form new social groups based on shared interests rather than proximity and democratizes media production and distribution, giving many more people a voice in what they want to watch and when. It is influencing how video technology is now developed, with connectivity in mind, and how content is developed for the small to large screens that are all being used.
- Assess the impact of new technologies as TV moves everywhere, viewing behavior evolves, business models face disruptions with traditional TV on one side and the web-world on the other, and conflicting viewing habits as lean back/lean forward meet. These include new compression algorithms and networking concepts like content-centric distribution and network coding as well as new displays and 3D.
- Review social TV deployments, including existing offerings and platforms and academic projects that allow the TV experience to move beyond the traditional confines of entertainment into a more holistic media and content experience.
- Define connected TV and 2nd and 3rd screens social experiences and how widgets enhance the TV experience, moving interactivity away from the large screen to phones and tablets, and how social networking sites become TV clearinghouses.
- Learn about emerging business models for the video ecosystems, industry partnerships, and user involvement.
Who Should Attend
This course is appropriate for television professionals (including equipment manufacturers, content developers, technologists, and cable/satellite/IPTV service providers), web video producers, product developers, second screen application developers, user experience professionals, internet video technologists, video product managers, and storytellers (including journalists).
Day 1 am: What is Social in TV
The first morning we will review the history behind social television as well as defining major components of a social viewing experience. This will include defining what makes television social, the impact of the social networking sites, and the evolution from interactivity to communications to social engagement and the positioning of TV content as a creator of communities.
Day 1 pm: Evolution of the Viewership Behavior
In this section of the class we will review how the viewers' expectations of the TV experience have evolved with the changes of the TV landscape. This will introduce many of the topics to be addressed in more details in days 2 to 4 but also cover collaborative filtering and recommender systems.
Day 2 am: The Multiscreen Revolution and Convergence
With the rise of the smartphones and tablets, this section of the class will address the new media services enabled by the multiscreen as well as the impact of fixed-wireless convergence in the TV industry. This will include distributed compression algorithms for wireless viewing, collaborative distribution, and content protection.
Day 2 pm: User Experience
User experience is key to the social viewing experience. In this module we will review perception of video content, quality of experience parameters, gesture based systems, and remote controls. It will include a review of the most recent compression algorithms as well as network enablers for social connectivity.
Day 3 am: Television and Internet Enabling Technologies
Day 3 will most likely be the most technical day, starting with a review of the traditional TV production chain and how it is changing with the introduction of Internet technologies and different flavors of wireless technologies (from cellular to Wifi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee). We will also review Internet protocols for video distribution as well as novel approaches to localized caching and dissemination based on network coding principles and network virtualization.
Day 3 pm: Review of TV and Web Platforms for Social TV Development
The afternoon of Day 3 will review some of the software and hardware platforms for social TV creation as well as emerging standards in the W3C to enable cross-platform development.
Day 4 am: The Social TV Business Landscape
In this module we will assess how social and connected TV is changing the television value chain from linear to planar and identify the disruptions in the industry based on some data points from music and VoIP.
Day 4 pm: Review of Existing Commercial Initiatives
The number of commercial initiatives is growing every day. This session will look at some major projects (Zeebox, Miso, GetGLue, etc.) and technology offerings (AppleTV, GoogleTV, Boxee, Netflix), as well as a selected set of new startups, some of them local (final selection TBD).
Day 5 am: Hands-on-Exercises Create a Social Viewing Project Proposal
On the last day of the program, the class will be divided into 2- or 3-person teams that will work on a theme from the class discussions to define a concept for social viewing and engagement around TV concepts. The goal of the exercise is not to develop a full-fledged idea, but to put together some essential concepts and prepare for a short presentation.
Day 5 pm: Project Round Table and Discussion
The afternoon of Day 5 will be dedicated to the presentation of the projects and discussions. It is planned that all project ideas will be archived and made available to the teams.
Course schedule and registration times
Class runs 9:00 am - 5:00 pm on Monday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm on Tuesday, through Thursday, and 8:30 am - 2:00 pm on Friday.
Registration is on Monday morning from 8:00 - 8:30 am.
Special events include a Networking Luncheon on Monday for course participants and a poster session on Thursday. All activities are included in tuition.
technical staff, mit lincoln laboratory
"It was an enjoyable, thought-provoking course that I would recommend to anyone interested."
digital communication & tv center manager, bm&fbovespa
"Great lecturers, superior content. Definitely a great experience. And I'm already looking forward to attending other programs in the future."
deputy chief, tcl multimedia technology holdings limited
"The course was perfect, finished in accordance with a predetermined plan description on the Short Programs website."
About The Lecturers
V. Michael Bove
V. Michael Bove holds an SBEE, an MS in visual studies, and a PhD in media technology, all from MIT, where he is currently head of the Object-Based Media group at the Media Lab, co-director of the Center for Future Storytelling, and director of the consumer electronics program CELab. He is the author or co-author of over 60 journal or conference papers on digital television systems, video processing hardware/software design, multimedia, scene modeling, visual display technologies, and optics. He holds patents on inventions relating to video recording, hardcopy, interactive television, and medical imaging, and has been a member of several professional and government committees. He is co-author, with the late Stephen A. Benton, of Holographic Imaging (Wiley, 2008). He is on the board of editors of the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and associate editor of Optical Engineering. He served as general chair of the 2006 IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC'06), and is a member of the board of governors of the National Academy of Media Arts and Sciences. Bove is a fellow of the SPIE and of the Institute for Innovation, Creativity, and Capital. He was a founder of and technical advisor to WatchPoint Media, Inc. (now a part of Tandberg Television) and is technical advisor to One Laptop per Child (creators of the XO laptop for children in developing countries).
Dr. Marie-José Montpetit is a technical researcher in the MIT Comparative Media Studies department looking into the future of video and television from a content and technology perspective. She is also lecturer at the MIT Media Lab on Social Television, a collaborator to the Communications Futures Programs on content wireless networking, and an advisor to Boston area startups in video and social networking. In 2014 she is an invited lecturer on Social Television at the Université du Québec in Montreal. Her pioneering work on Social, Wireless, and Multi-screen television is recognized world-wide and has been rewarded by a Motorola Technology Prize in 2007 and a MIT Technology Review TR10 in 2010 as well as a Montreal-Video award and a TEDx presentation in 2012. Her main research is on the convergence of networking and video for seamless mobility and social viewing. Dr Montpetit is also a technology reviewer at the European Union and a participant in many standardization bodies. She holds a PhD in EECS from the École Polytechnique in Montreal.
William Uricchio is Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Game Lab. He is also Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University and a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study (Lichtenberg-Kolleg) at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. He has been awarded Humboldt, Guggenheim, and Fulbright fellowships, and most recently, the Berlin Prize. His research interests include revisiting the histories of old media when they were new; algorithmic enablements of participatory cultural forms, the history and future of television, cultural identities, and the question of "Americanization" in the 20th and 21st centuries. His publications include Reframing Culture, We Europeans? Media, Representations, Identities (Chicago/Intellect, 2008), and Media Cultures (Heidelberg, 2006). He is currently completing books on the deep history of television, on history-based games, the playing of history and historiography after post-structuralism and editing a collection of essays for the British Film Institute entitled Many More Lives of the Batman.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please contact the Short Programs office for further details.
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