MAD Perspectives Blog

 Is Your TV Connected and Why Should You Care?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September has been all about IBC for me for the past 10 years. In light of the dynamic nature of the broadcast industry and its influence on our daily lives, this is my second of three blogs that will examine the intersection of the Internet, Social Media and TV.

Connected TV has been a growing conversation over the past few years.  At the most simplistic level, Connected TV means that most new TVs have an internet connection.  At a more complex level, it's interesting to think about what that internet connection brings to the table.  Business models shift, new content providers emerge and consumer interaction increases. Connected TV merges what have been called the "lean forward" PC experience and the "lean back" TV experience.

The manner in which we consume broadcast content has been changing dramatically since the 1990s.  Cable television change the model, here in the U.S., forever.  We were OK with the concept of paying for access to wider range of content.  The Internet introduced us to online content and while porn and sports paved the way for meaningful online revenue models, we did not enjoy this content in our comfy living rooms.  IPTV shifted the landscape once again, with telcos able to offer television services on par with and competitive to services provided by Cable and Satellite Operators.  We also got used to watching our favorite programs on our schedule, not the broadcasters schedule, thanks to VCRs, TiVO and DVRs.

Now we have connected TV, meaning that content destined for the PC via a broadband connection can now be delivered to your TV.  However, what is more likely to happen is the emergence of apps on your TV screen.  The iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad have forever changed our expectations of how we will access content.  Pay a reasonable fee (or nothing!), download the app onto your device and enjoy the content of your choice.  Broadcast program schedules and content available as an app - imagine that!  I actually like the idea of doing away with tiered payment programs and moving to an a la carte menu represented as apps.  I'm happy to pay $1.99 for the USA network programs.  Now, take the next small step and imagine the value to advertisers.  Real, meaningful insight into who watches each network and its programs.  Add in, social media integration and Nielsen ratings will seem archaic.

Vendors are already lining up to enable the development and delivery of apps to television manufacturers.  At this year's IBC, Cisco was a premier sponsor of the Connect World Zone and hosted a discussion called "Lessons Learned:  Implementing New Business Models".  Here are a few tidbits that reinforce the shift in digital video and online content:

     - By 2014, each home will be receiving video on an average 10 screens (e.g., TV, tablet, smartphone)

     - Broadband will see a 4x increase in speed allowing even faster connections

     - More non-media content will be available from traditional and non-traditional sources

A slew of vendors made announcements in the past month highlighting their capabilities for Connected TV.  The initial focus is to enable the representation of content as an app and get that app on all Internet enabled TVs.  The battle is on to see who will dominate the the operating systems of these TVs.  Watch closely to see which partnerships are announced and what new products emerge.

How do you want to access and consume content?  Will Angry Birds fly onto the Big Screen?  Yes!  Are you already a dual screen household, meaning you watch TV while also consuming content on your tablet or smartphone?  I know I do.

What's your perspective?