A New Tool For Fully Interactive Multi-Platform TV

By Adam Jacobson, July 7, 2017

Convergence. Radio industry executives have heard that word many times over the last several years. Today, however, the TV industry's C-Suite is experiencing a convergence like no other. Thanks to the rapid ascent of "over-the-top" (OTT) viewing of full-length scripted programming, reality shows, sports, and news programming, TV isn't just that box in the living room anymore.
Srini Dharmaji wants every member of the broadcast TV industry's C-Suite to fully understand this. That's why he's developed a platform that brings power to the people in new and exciting ways — and live TV is poised to capitalize on the launch of Vydeo.
Dharmaji is the founder of Vyu Labs Inc., launched in early 2014 after a 7 1/2 year run as founder and CEO of GoldSpot Media, a provider of rich media and video building and reporting for mobile, tablet, and desktop.
Vyu is the company behind Vydeo, a platform that seeks to do what radio has seemingly excelled at for decades: Bringing members of its audience to its entire audience via integrated programming opportunities.
For Dharmaji, the launch of Vydeo comes at a perfect time for broadcast TV. With ATSC 3.0 promising more personalization and crisper reception, linking linear TV socially in expanded ways could bring more ROI and, with that, ad dollars.
"The television industry is actually converging with the mobile and social industry no matter what medium the end user uses," Dharmaji says. "For us, the question is what can we provide to the industry to make the TV more social, and to really bring the concept of social media TV to the public."
With TV viewers waiting nearly 75 years for interactivity and personalization, Dharmaji put his efforts into launching Vydeo as a mobile platform with Talk radio as its inspiration.
Perhaps more so, Vydeo was built with innovation and cost savings and "a different mindset to TV" as the key concepts that fueled Vydeo's launch.
"We are no longer talking about a second screen or third screen - we are talking about the first screen," Dharmaji says. "Content can be distributed across the internet, social media and TV. It's not going to change."
Where TV Controls The Social Scene
The "man on the street" has long been a part of a local newscast. Now, Dharmaji believes TV news crews have a "cool opportunity for cost savings" and an opportunity to get smarter with their budgets.
Here's how Vydeo works: It's all controlled and initiated by the TV station's newsroom assignment editor and producers, and not by individuals who would download an app to their tablet or smartphone.
This establishes who is in control, and guarantees more or less that a TV station will only air fully vetted reports — free of such fearsome problems as not-for-broadcast content or foul language.
"The software is integrated into the TV stations' social networks, so they can put it into their apps," Dharmaji says.
At present, Vydeo is in "beta mode" with several undisclosed networks. Dharmaji expects an official launch by the end of this month or in August.
So, what does Vydeo do? Let's say there is a hot topic that would allow for a "viewer roll call," with their thoughts and opinions perhaps noteworthy to all viewers. Through the TV stations app, now integrated with Vydeo technology, a viewer can add their thoughts via audio. A screenshot appears on screen in a chyron box, to ensure that a poor-quality live video feed or inappropriate background is never on screen.
The gathering of participants is geotargeted, Dharmaji says. "The TV producer can pre-screen the user before they put the user on the air, as a back-end check," he says.
That is perhaps the biggest fail-safe to making sure anyone who gets abusive on-air, despite all of the preventative measures, is swiftly dealt with.
"Nobody wants this, so in the TV world there is always a six-second-delay," Dharmaji says. "We do exactly the same thing with OTT when sending the interaction steams over the app by time shifting the content by seven seconds.'
This means the TV producer can cut the stream immediately.
"The content will never hit a single user," Dharmaji says.
Since the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, where Vydeo first shared its technology with the TV industry, VydeoCorp has been demonstrating how its technology can blossom into Q&A segments on TV talk programs, from sports networks to local public service programming.
There's also the obvious uses for breaking news or for weather alerts, such as what is being championed by NBCUniversal-owned pay-TV network The Weather Channel.
For instance, reality shows such as Big Brother can take advantage of Vydeo. In Dharmaji's view, producers are always looking to have "experts" interview participants, and this would be a great way to accomplish such a task.
Meanwhile, Dharmaji believes The Weather Channel is "a social network in and of itself." Now, it and other channels have "a built-in revenue model one can monetize on their mobile apps, with a push to Facebook and YouTube."

The aggregation of eyeballs translates to a greater audience. In turn, this can yield greater ad revenue.
Dharmaji is confident this model is what will boost TV beyond retransmission fees.
"For me, this is social media TV."

Srini Dharmaji
CEO @ Vydeo