Gladys Santiago

How Will Boxee and ITP’s ‘Qurious’ Influence the Future of Engagement

Posted in Media, Television by Gladys Santiago on December 9, 2009

In “When TV Became Art,” Emily Nussbaum correlates the popularity of programs containing non-linear plotlines and spastic chronology (Lost, Flashforward) to the growing penetration of DVRs.  In this sense, the narrative world of television adopted and mimicked the behavior that time-shifting devices encouraged.  As television-viewing rituals evolved, the structural and artistic elements of entertainment content followed suit.  This makes me wonder what the future of television and its related technologies will look like as programs become even more nuanced and demanding of audiences. 

Early this week, Boxee, a social, streaming media center, unveiled several television model-busting applications for its service.  The one that piqued my interest the most because it directly relates to product placements, was Qurious, (pronounced “curious”) an app that instantly pulls up information on the actors, songs, topics and products featured on screen.  Qurious was developed by students from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and brilliantly demonstrates a reconceptualized form of viewer interactivity.  Watching television will turn into a more involved experience which emphasizes a structure of engagement that goes far beyond the oft-used recall metrics. 

To maintain this level of interactivity and engagement, program content will have to become increasingly multifaceted, transcendent and subtle.  Blatant, spoon-fed information and marketing messages will flounder in this television environment because with knowledge-generating technology, audiences will want to seek out information and deconstruct their entertainment.  Curiosity is a form of engagement.  I can picture the wealth of real-time data that an application like Qurious can provide advertisers as viewers perform search queries.  The contemporary television-watching experience does not start and end with the television itself as it now extends to an anytime, anywhere activity.


5 Responses

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  1. Juri from Qurious said, on December 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’m very excited to see where our Qurious is going. Please come to our Winter Show if you have chance. We will be showing our Qurious app.

    • steve said, on December 27, 2009 at 9:26 pm

      very interested in seeing Qurious work. Dl’d Boxee beta and the app is not included. I emailed Boxee but no reply so far. Any idea why it’s not there or how to find it?

      • Gladys Santiago said, on December 28, 2009 at 8:00 pm

        Thanks for the comment, Steve. I believe Qurious will be available for the Boxee Box, but I’m not sure. Juri (who leave a comment as well) actually worked on Qurious and with Avner Ronen, Boxee’s founder, so perhaps she would have more insight about its availability.

  2. Gladys Santiago said, on December 9, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    I will definitely be attending the show!! I’m very impressed with the work you guys have done. CONGRATS!! I think Qurious is a huge step in turning television viewing into a dynamic experience. I have a ton of questions about the project. I hope you guys have time to answer a few of them. Thanks for the comment and again, well done!!

  3. Josef said, on December 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    An interesting topic for sure. The switch to digital television was supposed to encourage new technologies such as this to add to the viewing experience. I worry when the makers and marketers of future apps or programs will feel the need to dumb it down and just to get their product or service across. I guess we can only wait and see.

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