Tribune OnConnect Gives Developers Access to TV/Movie Meta Data

Mar 9, 2013 by

Most people who know of Tribune Media Services, or TMS, recognize them as the provider of guide data for many set top box and DVR systems, including TiVo, Windows Media Center, and those from cable providers. But until recently, third-party app developers have had to rely largely on open, community-sourced databases to incorporate programming data into their applications—with mixed results.

At SXSW, TMS is showing its relatively new OnConnect services, an API that gives application developers on-demand access to programming data without the need to download and maintain large datasets. This is ideal for second-screen applications that need provider-sourced programming information, as opposed to the sometimes inaccurate community-sourced alternatives. While large companies offering embedded or mobile entertainment applications might certainly be interested in services like this, what about the small “garage band” developers? TMS representatives at SXSW say they’re still discussing licensing models for developers with lighter data needs, and indeed their online licensing information still suggests a very individualized, hands-on sales and licensing model. Hopefully they’ll get to a point where smaller app developers can simply point-and-click their way through selecting and paying for their specific needs.

TMS’s own web-based demo app for OnConnect shows how the services exposing their programming data can be used to discover linear and on-demand content. Of particular note is a seemingly comprehensive list of online rental, purchase, and subscription viewing options, aggregated for comparison and direct access.