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A couple of weeks ago NBC broke new ground with its free, live stream of the Super Bowl. According to Chris Tribbey of MESAlliance, NBC made it the “biggest event online” with 2.5 million viewers going ‘over the top’ to watch the game online. Live-streaming is part of a bigger trend of people like you and me becoming cable cutters — looking to have the freedom to access content online — and entertainment companies going ‘over the top’ to deliver content directly to us.

This week NBC strikes again with the launch of its IOS and Android apps for the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary. Building on the success of direct-to-consumer sports programming, the NBC app breaks new ground by taking high-value content (nearly the entire SNL catalog of skits and performances across every season is available) and making all of it available, free of charge to any user on any network.

SNL40 iPhone app screenshot

The app also breaks new ground by using smart content. The depth of the metadata describing the semantics of the show amazing: seasons, eras, stars, guests and how they all relate together are all part of the way you use the app. And this data is perfectly linked to the assets. My favorite feature is to browse the seasons and see the full cast photos from every year. Start out early and check out Bill Murray and company!

The SNL team is also innovating, putting all that semantic data to work to create a customized, continuous streaming experience. As you watch a clip or set items as favorites, the system starts to dynamically tee up the next videos you’d probably like to watch. This means you can go from Coneheads to the Cheerleaders to John Belushi at the Samuri deli to the Bass-O-Matic . . . and on and on. The content the app puts in front of you is so good that according to Mashable you “can’t put it down.”

WARNING: The app is free, and, totally addictive. It is a good thing we have a long weekend coming up in the US because I am not going to be able to put it down!

Matt (Busy watching SNL videos)

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