Leading finnish media house Sanoma launched an Internet television guide called TvNyt (= TV now). Over the years there has been plenty of activity in the media guide space and lots of competition even within Finland ( telkku.com/telvis.fi/ohjelmat.info). So why is this significant enough to write about? First of all I have for a long time been a big proponent of program information as the means for video services to cross the chasm. Secondly, Sanoma is just such a big player in finnish media whose moves will have major impact on the whole local ecosystem.
I recall that Welho, Sanoma’s cable television division has had a television guide service (had support for XMLTV for example) for a quite a while now. TvNyt may not be nothing more than just re-branding of that existing service. Nevertheless I see TvNyt as more than just a polished advertisement-funded information service. The key thing is that TvNyt seems to be a part of a conscious effort to draw people to pay-tv offerings. It can also be an opening to a much broader plan of combining existing online video services and television games. This would be an excellent tactic as television is just such an integral part of media today.
With this move I see Sanoma re-committing itself into this game with the goal of luring people to their pay-tv and later also to video on-demand offerings. A useful simple service can be used to create value and reach new demographic groups to create a user base. Guide is an extremely good opportunity to cross the media borders. I’m surprised that Sanoma has not been more active. Just a simple cross linkage with their own daughter company involved with broadcast (Nelonen and Jim) would go a long way. At the moment only premium channel package information is supported and aimed probably to drive sales.
This could also be a sign of Welho’s IPTV getting close to a commercial launch. I may not be right and I admit that I base much of my prediction on small mention of “WELHO PLAY”, Welho’s on-demand video service, on the site’s source code. However the matter of a fact is that pure on-demand ventures bypassing the dominant medium do not stand a chance. Sanoma may be big locally, but in the global business environment there is no way for such a small player to succeed without standing on their own sturdy legs of delivery, content and services. What ever the case with Sanoma’s strategy TvNyt is still missing favourites, social media recommendations and automatic pattern matching ie. the keys to TV2.0.