Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Updated NextGuide by Dijit - A Second Screen Content Guide App

Its been a little over 60 days since the launch of NextGuide by Dijit (and our review)--an app designed to help the consumer to Seamlessly find something to watch from multiple content sources including their channel provider line-up (using Zip Code and service provider information) and OTT sources like Hulu, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon. More importantly, the app's UI and UX are designed to facilitate Discovery of new content for the consumer.

The most obvious improvement to the consumer is the addition of a book marking capability. In the previous version, if you found something you wanted to watch but did not want to watch now, the only way you could remind yourself was to "Favorite", which presumably impacted the recommendation algorithm in the future. Now the consumer has the ability to "Bookmark" the item, which has a reminder feature (30 minutes before the airing of the show). CEO Jeremy Toeman tells me it will impact the recommendation algorithm, but without the same weighting as a full "favorited" item (as you may ultimately not like something to bookmark to watch later).

The improvements to the social activity pane are notable (click on your own avatar), allowing you to easily see your existing Facebook friends, what they have liked (on Facebook, regardless of this app), and what you have in common. This is helpful when using the "Your Friends" view, as you get the most popular items from your friends, and if you have a large Facebook network where perhaps you are not necessarily aligned with video viewing interests of the entire group, this could be return some undesirable results. You can quickly check out the things your friends have liked, sorted in a reverse timeline feed (most recent at the top), giving you a sense of what is trending amongst your Facebook friends. Of course, for your friends on the app itself, the feature is even more powerful, integrating more granular activity.

There are also decent improvements to the UI of the category and favorite channel management feature. You have a point and drag feature allowing you to easily sort categories (popular, LA Lakers, Notre Dame Football) and genres (Horror, Western, etc) as well as rearrange and choose your favorite channel line-ups in a much easier way.

I spent sometime working checking out the apps recommendations and they do seem to be improving (either they are improving the algorithm or my marking of favorites and "watched" is improving the results from better input data).

In our FIVE feature categories, the app measures up like this:

- Simple (control of the 1st screen).  Light.  You can trigger a DVR recording on DirecTV set top boxes (other services may be on the horizon) and can launch titles directly into OTT apps on your iPad (2nd screen as the 1st screen).
- Seamless (content sourcing). Medium and improving. The major sources are covered, but missing are Pay TV networks like HBO and Cinemax or OTT services like Vudu.
- Discovery (offering content recommendations). Strong and improved. One of the better UI's in the Second Screen "guide" world.
- Stimulating (enhancing your viewing experience). Still relatively light (some cursory information about actors).
- Social. Carrying the expected basics and has the good sense to leverage your existing Facebook social network of content likes while offering the opportunity to follow others who may have similar interests and may not be your "Friend". Absent are social feeds during content viewing and even Twitter integration itself.

Overall, I think this app will continue to be a force in the Second Screen "Guide" space (focused on helping consumers find something to watch).

Let me know what you think!


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