NCL’s Over-the-Top (OTT) TV Smart Library Service

Between 2021 and 2022, most countries in the world were challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic – libraries had to close temporarily, as with other governmental institutions, schools, companies, and businesses. When classes were being suspended and the library was closed, the National Central Library of Taiwan (NCL) initiated a variety of new services to satisfy users’ needs. NCL’s endeavors include providing online open-access resources, special copy, and pick-up service to facilitate continuous reading and learning.

Launched in 2019, the NCLibTV is a digital library service that aims to encourage adults and children to read more and satisfy the reading needs of the elderly, with the utmost goal of enriching people’s lives through habitual reading. In recent years, NCL has been promoting TV smart library services as a new type of digital service.

NCLibTV allows people to read books on their digital TV. This special service provides the TV version of interactive e-books, audio-video resources, book reservations in the Public Library Regional Resource Centre, book recommendations and etc, offering a new experience of library use and digital reading.

The initiation of the NCLibTV e-reading service was based on the readiness of cable TV infrastructure and household equipment in Taiwan. And now, this reading service has evolved to the extent that users can use their smartphones or tablets to enjoy reading the e-books provided by this platform.

This service runs on the NCLibTV app that enables users to read library materials on the digital TV or on users’ mobile devices. To use the NCLibTV services, users must download the app on the digital TV box or on their mobile devices. More than 87.43% of cable TV users can download the service app to a digital TV box.

As of Dec 2022, more than 30,000 users have downloaded the app and the app had more than 55,000 clicks. The number of users and use counts have shown steady growth in the past three years. To be more specific, compared to the previous year, the app’s downloads have increased by 229% and use counts have increased by 172%.

There are more than 800 e-books and audio-video materials on NCLibTV at the moment. By collaborating with the cable TV operators, NCL actively promotes this service to end users. Another criterion used to analyse the service growth is the number of browsing activities after launching the app’s reading function (i.e. content clicks count). This has increased by 90% compared to last year. It is likely that the user communities will continue expanding with the increase in the resources offered by this service.

The TV Service, entitled NCLibTV Service Delivered to Your Home, has the following features:

  • NCLibTV is an TV smart library specially designed for home users. It uses smart TV as a service transmission channel.
  • NCLibTV is the first TV library, and innovative digital library service.
  • NCLibTV services are the first and only digital reading platform that integrates publications from various government agencies. Create market differentiation that is quite different from commercial e-book platforms.
  • NCL cooperates with cable TV operators to expand terminal services.
  • NCLibTV includes not only the AV type material but also a new TV version e-book which is also the only TV version that is available in the e-book industry.
  • NCLibTV Service was selected as “2022 Best Practices from World Libraries” by The American Library Association.

Contributed by Chen Li Chun, Division Director, Digital Knowledges System Division, National Central Library (Taiwan)