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Publication numberWO2001026270 A2
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/US2000/027529
Publication date12 Apr 2001
Filing date6 Oct 2000
Priority date7 Oct 1999
Also published asWO2001026270A3
Publication numberPCT/2000/27529, PCT/US/0/027529, PCT/US/0/27529, PCT/US/2000/027529, PCT/US/2000/27529, PCT/US0/027529, PCT/US0/27529, PCT/US0027529, PCT/US027529, PCT/US2000/027529, PCT/US2000/27529, PCT/US2000027529, PCT/US200027529, WO 0126270 A2, WO 0126270A2, WO 2001/026270 A2, WO 2001026270 A2, WO 2001026270A2, WO-A2-0126270, WO-A2-2001026270, WO0126270 A2, WO0126270A2, WO2001/026270A2, WO2001026270 A2, WO2001026270A2
InventorsIan A. Stewart
ApplicantWorld Multicast.Com, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Automated subscriber ip multicast programming
WO 2001026270 A2
Abstract
A method, system and computer program product for allowing viewer input regarding of public data network-based multicasts. The present invention includes a first server (16) coupled to the public data network (14) for presenting a list of multicasts to at least a portion of the viewers (12), receiving viewers' votes of the multicasts on the presented list, and determining the number of viewers' votes for the multicasts according to the received votes. A second server (20) is coupled to the first server over the public data network for executing multicast programming according to the determined votes for the multicasts. The first and second server are also coupled to a database (22) in which stored entertainement programs are located.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. A method for scheduling programming of public data network-based multicasts as a function of viewer preferences, said method comprising: presenting a list of multicasts to at least a portion of the viewers; receiving potential viewers' votes indicating a preference for one or more of the multicasts on the presented list; determining the number of viewers' votes for the multicasts according to the received votes; executing multicast programming according to the determined votes for the multicasts.
2. The method of Claim 1, wherein presenting comprises presenting a web page.
3. The method of Claim 2, wherein presenting further comprises: analyzing viewers' interactions with the web page; and generating at the first server a first report based on the analysis.
4. The method of Claim 3, wherein receiving, determining, and analyzing are performed at a first server and wherein executing is performed at a second server coupled to the first server over the public data network.
5. The method of Claim 1, wherein executing comprises inserting commercials at at least one of predetermined or random locations within the multicast programming, wherein the commercials are previously stored in a database coupled to the second server.
6. The method of Claim 5, further comprising: analyzing at the first server the execution of the multicast programming including the inserted commercials; and generating a report based on the analysis.
7. The method of Claim 1, wherein presenting comprises presenting an electronic mail.
8. The method of Claim 1, wherein presenting comprises presenting a mail-in form.
9. The method of Claim 1, wherein multicast programming is Internet Protocol
Multicasting.
10. A computer program product for performing the method of Claim 1.
11. A computer program product for performing the method of Claim 3.
12. A computer program product for performing the method of Claim 6.
13. A system for allowing viewer input regarding multicast programming over a public data network, said system comprising: a first server coupled to the public data network for presenting a list of multicasts to at least a portion of the viewers, receiving viewers' votes of the multicasts on the presented list, and determining the number of viewers' votes for the multicasts according to the received votes; and a second server coupled to the first server over the public data network for executing multicast programming according to the determined votes for the multicasts.
14. The system of Claim 13, wherein the first server presents a web page, analyzes viewers' interactions with the web page, and generates at the first server a first report based on the analysis.
15. The system of Claim 13, further comprising a database coupled to the first and second server, wherein the second server inserts commercials from the database at least one of predetermined or random locations within the multicast programming and wherein the first server analyzes the execution of the multicast programming including the inserted commercials, and generates a report based on the analysis.
16. The system of Claim 13, wherein the first server presents an electronic mail.
17. The system of Claim 13, wherein the first server presents a mail-in form.
18. The system of Claim 13, wherein multicast programming is Internet Protocol Multicasting.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

AUTOMATED SUBSCRIBER IP MULTICAST PROGRAMMING

Ian A. Stewart

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to computer-based network multicasting and, more particularly, to network multicast programming.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Most entertainment programming, whether television or radio, is performed by receiving ratings on TV and radio shows and then programming according to the received ratings. Programmers make decisions based on logged responses of viewers and listeners. This method tries to maximize viewership by placing a show where the most people will see it. Video and audio broadcasts are now becoming widely available on the

Internet. These broadcasts take on various formats. One specific format is Internet Protocol (IP) Multicasting. An IP Multicast allows many viewers to simultaneously view the same video or listen to the same music. Presently, IP Multicasts are aired without any regards to how many people wish to receive the multicast. This ultimately results in congestion on the Internet, because many of those multicasts will be taking up system resources as they travel across the Internet to too few viewers. Therefore, there exists a need to maximize broadcast efficiency to reduce congestion on the Internet. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a method, system and computer program product for allowing viewer input regarding programming of public data network- based multicasts. The system of the present invention includes a first server coupled to the public data network for presenting a list of multicasts to at least a portion of the viewers, receiving viewers' votes of the multicasts on the presented list, and tallying the viewers' votes received. A second server is coupled to the first server over the public data network for executing multicast programming according to the determined votes for the multicasts.

In accordance with further aspects of the invention, the first server presents a web page, analyzes viewers' interactions with the web page, and generates at the first server a first report based on the analysis.

In accordance with other aspects of the invention, a database is coupled to the first and second server. If desired, the second server inserts commercials from the database at least one of predetermined or random locations within the multicast programming and the first server analyzes the execution of the multicast programming including the inserted commercials, and generates a report based on the analysis. In accordance with still further aspects of the invention, the first server presents an electronic mail for viewers to input their votes. In accordance with yet other aspects of the invention, a host associated with the first server sends a mail-in form for viewers to input their votes and send back to the host for entry into the first server.

In accordance with still yet other aspects of the invention, the multicast programming is Internet Protocol Multicasting.

The present invention is a method for delivering the most popular television and radio shows over the Internet in the most efficient way. Internet congestion is a rampant problem that all computer. The present invention helps solve this problem by allowing many users to simultaneously view or listen to their favorite programs in a more efficient way. By placing viewers in charge of program scheduling, viewers may see their favorite shows while preserving internet space for other users.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is an illustration of an example system formed in accordance with the present invention; FIGURE 2 is a flow diagram of the process performed by the components of the system of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is an example operation of the present invention; and FIGURES 4 and 5 are example reports generated by the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The present invention is implemented over a computer-based network system 10, as shown in FIGURE 1. The system 10 includes a plurality of user computer-based systems 12 coupled to a network 14, preferably a public data network (e.g. the Internet). The system 10 also includes a programming server 16 and a broadcast server 20 coupled to the network 14. An entertainment program/commercial database 22 is coupled directly to the programming server 16 and the broadcast server 20, to the programming server 16 and the broadcast server 20 through the network 14 or any communication combination possible. Other system configurations may be used in order to implement the present invention. For example, although the programming server 16, database 32, and broadcast server 20 are depicted as residing on separate hardware devices, they may alternatively be constructed as a single device. In one such embodiment, the servers may comprise separate software programs residing in a memory. Moreover, the programming server 16, the broadcast server 20 and the database 22 are colocated or are distributed over the network 14, wherein each component knows the network location of the other components. Also, the user systems 12, programming server 16 and broadcast server 20 are any type of device capable of communication over the network 14 to the other components either wirelessly, over a land line or a combination of both. The preferred process performed by the system 10 is illustrated in FIGURE 2 below.

As shown in FIGURE 2, the present invention receives and tallys users' votes regarding what entertainment program they prefer. The method of obtaining the votes can take on a number of different forms. For example, at block 40, users receive programming/playlist voting forms from a host associated with either of the programming or broadcast server. The users then fill out the forms as desired. At block 42, the users send the completed forms to the host. Facsimile, mail, or electronic mail are example delivery methods for receiving/sending the forms to and from the host. The host then compiles the information from the completed forms for use by the programming server 16. The users can also enter votes by accessing over the network 14, from the user system 12 a web page generated by the programming server 16, see blocks 50 and 52. As yet another alternative, users may enter their votes through a telephonic answering system, see block 60. The telephonic answering system receives the votes and transfers them to the programming server 16.

In an alternate embodiment, public access for voting purposes is limited to those who have previously registered with the host, for example through the programming server 16 or through a paper registration process, for the ability to vote on programming generated by the broadcast server 20.

Once the votes have been entered into the programming server 16, an entertainment programming component running on the programming server 16 tabulates the entered votes, see block 68, and determines entertainment programming or an entertainment playlist of stored entertainment programs (audio and/or video) including inserted commercials, all of which are stored in the database 22, see block 70. Alternatively, the tabulation step may be performed in a separate location such that only the tabulated (rather than raw) data is given to the program server 16. The steps in blocks 68 and 70 are performed upon initiation by the host of the programming server 16 or automatically by the programming server 16. Then, at block 72, the programming server 16 sends the determined entertainment programming/playlist to the broadcast server 20. Next, at block 74, the broadcast server 20 retrieves entertainment programs from the database 22 and queues the entertainment programs for play according to the received entertainment programming/playlist. An example vote and generated playlist is described below with respect to FIGURE 3. In this embodiment, the playlist has a particular time slot associated with it. For example, the shows being voted on are for a weeknight showing at 8pm.

After completion of at least a portion of the programming/playlist, the programming server 16 generates a web page usage report and a commercial insertions report, see block 76. These reports are described by example below in FIGURES 4 and 5. As shown in FIGURE 3, video entertainment programs "Boy meets Girl",

"Wonder Man", "Gumby" and "Murder Gumby" are voted on by members of the users. The tabulation results of the vote performed by the programming server 16 shows that programs "Boy meets Girl" received 1220 votes, "Wonder Man" received 3992 votes, "Gumby" received 3 votes and "Murder Gumby" received 29991 votes. In accordance with the tabulated results, the programming server 16 determines the following programming queue for the four shows listed above: 1. "Murder Gumby"; 2. "Wonder Man"; 3. "Boy meets Girl"; and 4. "Gumby". This programming queue is sent to the broadcast server 20 for execution of the programming queue. Execution of the programming queue includes possible insertion of commercials, that are stored at the database 22 or retrieved when needed from an advertiser's server, at regular or random intervals.

FIGURE 4 illustrates an example web page usage report 90 that includes statistics on web page usage and traffic and voting details. FIGURE 5 illustrates an example commercial insertions report 100 that includes information on air time of commercials and number of viewers (user systems receiving the broadcast) during the play of each commercial (eyeballs). Various other types of data relating to the process performed as described above can be retrieved by the programming server 16 and placed in a report.

The present invention preferably uses Internet Protocol (IP) Multicasting to deliver pictures and sound to end viewers. By using IP Multicasting, information space is preserved. IP Multicasting uses one data stream to serve many viewers. Some example IP Multicasting is an open standard protocol developed by Steven Deering (Internet Engineering Task Force RFC-1112. Other IP Multicasting variations are RFC-2117 "Protocol Independent Multicast Sparce Mode and RFC-2283 Multicast Protocol Extensions for BGP-4 (Border Gateway Protocol).

Other programming parameters, such as broadcast times, can be voted on and implemented according to the vote. While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of the preferred embodiment. Instead, the invention should be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
WO2007118064A1 *3 Apr 200718 Oct 2007Alcatel LucentMethod and system for aggregating tv program information from different live tv feeds
WO2009012611A1 *20 Jul 200729 Jan 2009Alcatel Shanghai Bell Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for internet protocol television transmission
US85611098 Mar 200715 Oct 2013Alcatel LucentMethod and system for aggregating TV program information from different live TV feeds
US20090083820 *25 Sep 200726 Mar 2009Comcast Cable Holdings, LlcRe-transmission of television channels over network
Classifications
International ClassificationH04N7/16, H04N7/173, H04L29/06, H04H60/66, H04H20/82, H04H60/07, H04H60/33
Cooperative ClassificationH04L65/4076, H04N21/25891, H04L29/06027, H04N21/812, H04N21/4756, H04N21/6125, H04H60/33, H04N7/17327, H04N21/4826, H04H60/66, H04H20/82, H04H60/07, H04N21/6405, H04N21/4532, H04N21/6175, H04N21/47202
European ClassificationH04N21/475R, H04N21/61U3, H04N21/258U3, H04N21/472D, H04N21/45M3, H04N21/6405, H04N21/81C, H04N21/61D3, H04N21/482R, H04H60/66, H04H60/07, H04N7/173B3, H04L29/06C2, H04H60/33, H04L29/06M4S2
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