"Navigation offerings are expanding to deliver 'infotainment' that includes rich location-based audio and video media, which is fueling an exciting, unique end-user experience," said Basak Ozer, vice president, global product marketing, Tele Atlas.
Through the agreement, application developers will be able to incorporate the Travel Channel's library of travel-related content into personal and in-car navigation systems and mobile, wireless and Internet map applications powered by Tele Atlas. Available Travel Channel content will include selections from its Destination ON DEMAND Library, which features information about hundreds of travel-related points of interest (POIs) in major cities worldwide. “Travel Channel video content will mirror popular TV formats - available today in more than 88 million U.S. homes - and audio content will include key Travel Channel talents as Anthony Bourdain, Samantha Brown and John Ratzenberger” said the press release. Additional Travel Channel content features and functionality available for the maps will be added for Tele Atlas partners to incorporate in the coming months as well.
This agreement is a good move for Tele Atlas to enrich its POIs with richer content. It will offer its clients a way to enhance their user’s experience and differentiate their products. Nevertheless even if this content is a worldwide library it might not suit the taste of non-US users. For example the fame of Chef Anthony Bourdain is pretty thin across the Atlantic Ocean. With the exception - to some extend - of Lonely Planet and Michelin guide, there are very few international travel content brands. As more content gets to navigation and local mobile search, content providers will have to shop for their content locally.
Moving forward it is not sure map providers will have the know-how and the willingness to aggregate this local content. There is definitely a market niche for small, local companies bridging the gap between the GPS industry and the content industry. French start-up Navx (read interview here), which was recently funded by European venture capitalist firm Innoven Partenaires, is one of these. But there are plenty other companies who have been adapting travel guides to PDA or cell phones in the past and are now looking seriously at GPS-enabled platforms.