Monday, 29 November 2010

Christmas dinner on the box

Most of us have our favourite TV advert – one that we remember from childhood or one which has particularly stuck in our mind. The Bisto advert for example, or the classic Coke Christmas advert are ones which instantly spring to mind.

Today, in a world saturated in brand advertising, the challenge for marketers is a little different. As consumers become more familiar with technology, brands need to go beyond nifty straplines or a happy Santa Claus to stand out from the crowd. As a result, experiential advertising is on the rise.

This Christmas Waitrose is taking TV advertising to the next level and giving consumers something more, with its series of adverts with celebrity chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal. Rather than just watching and absorbing, TV viewers can now engage with the brand by taking a photo on their mobile of a Quick Response code, which will appear at the end of each advert. The barcode will allow them to download a new Christmas app for free, to access recipes, an advent calendar and other tools.

This is an interesting step away from traditional TV advertising and an attempt to interact with audiences beyond the 30 seconds of an advert and after they switch off their TV.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Global growth for on-demand services

Global revenues from on demand video services are set to rise by as much as 24 per cent by the end of this year, despite the decline in TV subscriptions. This is according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media this week.

On-demand services have enjoyed a phenomenal success in the UK this year, the BBC iPlayer received 139 million requests for TV and radio programmes last month. Not only this but viewers have been accessing the content across a wide range of platforms, including Virgin Media, Wii, PS3, computing and mobile platforms, confirming that viewers want to consume their content in more than just the traditional formats.

The majority of on-demand services still come from cable TV subscriptions (around 51%), which is expected to rise as more viewers make the switchover to digital services. However, there are likely to be changes in the platforms viewers can access on-demand content. At the recent Morgan Stanley TMT conference, ITV’s chief executive Adam Crozie, commented on its plans to create a new micropayments system, so it can sell its content across a wider range of platforms and reduce its dependence on advertising revenues.

But, to be successful in any of its target platforms, ITV will need to invest in creating popular new content. Something they are clearly keen to address, with the recent appointment of Denise O’Donoghue to lead commercial strategy at production arm ITV Studios.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

What would you vote for?

As TV viewers get to grips with a new era of interactive TV delivered by hybrid STBs and connected TV’s we’re also seeing developments in the smartphone market. A new ruling by Ofcom means that viewers will now be able to vote on their favourite TV Shows via mobile applications.

TV shows such as the X Factor and Big Brother have always encouraged viewers to interact via telephone and text voting. But now smartphones are set to get in on the action too, with the development of voting apps.

Ofcom is keeping a close eye on developments. Viewers will be clearly notified of the costs and in order to keep everything fair, the app should only be one of several voting possibilities so that consumers are not pushed towards a particular platform.

It’s almost a surprise that this has taken so long, although the highly publicised fake phone-in scandal in 2007 may well have played a part in the delay.

This is another interesting new development for the mobile and TV industries and as app developers look to create new content, perhaps more interactive apps can be shared between the TV and mobile. What new apps would you like to see?

Friday, 5 November 2010

Every penny counts – credit crunch helps drive digital TV sales

18 months ago, as consumers we were being inundated with credit crunch survival tips – how to save more, go out and spend less, or make our nights in more entertaining. For the digital TV market at least, it seems, the latter has proved extremely fruitful.

New research released by Informa Telecoms & Media has found that despite the global economic downturn, the uptake of digital TV around the world has continued to grow. By December 31st this year, Informa calculates that approximately 85 million TV households will be added bringing the global total to 517 million. It predicts the digital TV universe to be one billion digital households strong by the end of 2015.

Staggering stats like this bring to life the huge transformation taking place in the TV industry today as new technologies change the way in which we receive and consume TV content. But what also really strikes me is how the results of this study highlight the prominence of the TV in global society.

In the interests of saving money, more people have turned to nights at home in front of the box, especially in the last couple of years. But with the rise of digital, our viewing experience has changed significantly to include on-demand, interactive red button features and tailored content – a world away from the TVs of old. Making staying in, the new going out.