A few days ago, Jasmine, a producer with the Video Content Team, came to me with an idea. She said, "You know what you should compare COVE to in your blog ... a time machine!" She explained that the nature of content in the video players is like taking a tour through time, with back-catalog content, recent releases and even previews of upcoming episodes representing the past, present and future respectively. I thought that this was a pretty good idea, and she even mentioned adding a picture of the TARDIS from Doctor Who. That really brought the metaphor home for me, because the TARDIS is not just a time machine, it takes the Doctor, his companion(s) and even K9 to new worlds to explore. It's a time and space machine! It's fantastic, as one incarnation of the Time Lord would say.
In similar fashion, COVE takes the user on journey through the history of PBS and beyond, potentially offering content unseen for years. Locally, the possibilities are endless, limited only by the ability to encode, upload and host. And with upcoming previews and cross-content linking, it can drive users to multi-platform experiences. Finally, one of the more powerful aspects of the system, the content sharing, can transport users across the country on a voyage of content exploration. This is a portrait of COVE today, a true time and space machine.
Recently, I was reminded of the roots of COVE. We gave the first in a series of webinars about COVE. Over 120 people logged in from stations to producers to PBS staff for a look at the PBS Video Player and the Local/National Player. This webinar took a broad look at COVE and the players to provide an introductory overview for stations and producers that hadn't yet had a chance to see them in action. It reminded me where this project started and the bumpy road of achievements and obstacles that we have traveled together.
Now I find myself musing on the future of COVE, on its potential, on future project incarnations. I don't think any one person can identify all that the Ecosystem is capable of becoming. There is flexibility in the infrastructure, upgrades to support products and unforeseen partnerships that will open doors we don't even know exist. What is the ultimate use of content sharing? What new products can be powered by COVE? What will our industry need?
We've talked a lot about COVE over the last 4 or 5 weeks, and hopefully, underneath all the references to 80s songs, television shows and sugary treats, you are able to glean how COVE can best be used to meet the needs of your community. And since no one knows those needs better than you, I thought that it would be nice to focus on meeting those needs through your opinions and suggestions on the future of COVE. With everything we've talked about the last few weeks, what do you feel lies in the future? What products will be of most use to your station and your community? What would you like to see? Leave a comment and let us know!
I'm looking forward to your thoughts. Thanks for listening, and as the chorus of the glorious 80s tune by Timbuk3 goes "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."