I’m a digital guy at heart and perhaps that’s why I can’t wait for the connected TV to really shift the consumer and media landscape. Of course I also love how connected TV is going to shake up the traditional TV world with some digital savviness. I won’t be the only one singing connected TV’s praises – advertisers are going to love it for five big reasons.
Firstly – big events always drive demand for TVs when there’s any advancement in technology and this year is going to be a cracker. Olympics anyone? And then of course there is the AFL, NRL and Spring Racing all of which will help drive strong demand for TVs.
This year it will be the connected TV that will be shipping faster than any other because they’re bigger, yet thinner and sexier and sophisticated models now have true Minority Report functionality – think voice control, hand gesture and facial recognition. What’s more, they’ll love your other devices as much as you do and connecting to them the way you do. Leading manufacturers like Samsung, LG and Panasonic have break-through technology shipping already and their capabilities are going to blow your mind.
For advertisers the magic comes with what a connected device can deliver to the consumer. Connected TVs can provide supplementary information about events and marry social media with video content so people can share their experiences of events. They allow consumers to watch all the major events on their own terms and timings.
Which brings me to my second reason: connected TV will be social TV.
This was one of the big points of discussion at both CES in the US in January and the Australian Broadcasting Summit in February. Tapping into real time communications makes the connected TV very powerful for the consumer – it puts us in control. That’s an important change for advertisers to consider. Indeed a recent study conducted by Ericsson in Australia found that 43% of Australians watching TV are also social networking on another device. So that means content and advertising should be socially enabled – all devices are connected – all devices have social capability and the consumer will be driving the sociability.
The third reason is that connected TV offers a multichannel brand experience which will enable marketers to deliver advertising opportunities that are both targeted and effective across multiple screens.
Can you imagine the advertising utopia where the smart data intelligence utilised with digital video on PCs and mobile devices today is translated to the big screen? I can, because it’s real and it’s already happening in Europe. Eight percent of online video advertisers in Europe also invested in connected TV advertising in 2011. While some would say this is small, we expect this number to continue to increase as more and more consumers and content owners engage with this platform.
Driving factors to consider here are increased broadband speed with the NBN development, greater affordability, local content owners navigating the differing connected TVs’ platforms, but the killer is likely to be Apple TV. Apple TV will continue to build on their ecosystem to offer consumers a seamlessly synced device and iCloud experience, capitalising on their central transaction platform. This will also help drive the category for industry leaders Samsung and LG.
Reason number four is simple: freedom.
Like the iPlayer and video on demand (VOD), connected TV brings a new dimension to viewing which makes life easier for consumers. With all their content in one place, consumers will demand content whenever and wherever they want it: on their tablet, gaming device or smartphone – and they will expect it with a click of a button. We are already seeing the signs of this with content providers such as Bigpond and ABC iView reporting millions of programs being requested through their connected TVs and set-top boxes. While numbers are still low compared to free-to-air TV, it shows the growing popularity of connected content.
This freedom means connected TV viewers will vote, access rich content, blog, tweet and access a plethora of applications all via their TV sets. That transforms a passive viewing experience into a rather extraordinary and engaging experience that smart advertisers will be jumping all over.
The final reason is how data plays such a powerful role with connected TVs.
Data collected from consumers’ content preferences will replace the traditional TV guide as the connected TV enables consumer electronics manufacturers, content owners and advertisers to learn about audience behaviour. Connected TV will offer an ‘ecosystem of data’, a term discussed heavily at the Consumer Electronics Show, intuitively connecting to new entertainment from many sources and locations. Being able to understand consumers’ preferences will enable brands to target on a TV more effectively. However brands will still struggle to be noticed – they still need to work harder. Watching the same programs repeatedly can lower viewer attention as we become familiar with the content we consume.
So these are five reasons why I love connected TV and why smart advertisers should be jumping on board, but it comes with a caution. The surrounding hype means advertising needs to adapt and become more interactive in order to be effective and truly take advantage of the technology provided. Competition will be fierce as brands compete using online video, so advertisers will need to produce more sophisticated content and get more creative to maintain engagement.
Are you getting excited?
Sam Smith, director of strategy and innovation, Adconion Media Group