Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Connected TV goes global with new industry body

This week saw the launch of the Connected TV Marketing Association (CTVMA), a new marketing body for the worldwide connected TV industry. The CTVMA is an international body, which will bring together the equipment manufacturers, operators, advertisers and broadcasters working to develop connected TV content and services.

It’s a welcome move in the promotion of internet ready TV sets and STBs, and hopefully a significant step towards helping the connected TV market reach its full potential.

With a fifth of TV sets to be connected in five years and the digital switchover upon us, as an industry we need to embark on a programme of significant consumer education in order to boost market performance. Consumers need to have the most up to date technology and be made aware of the innovative services that are actually available to them.

We’ve already seen that marketers are missing a trick by leaving IPTV devices out of their marketing campaigns. It’s a catch 22. As marketers wait for consumers to demonstrate interaction with brands on TV sets, without providing the content, consumers have nothing to interact with. As the CTVMA gets to work, we look forward to seeing the next generation of broadcast content and marketing campaigns across all devices in the connected home.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Increase in demand for personalised TV services

A recent report, has found that over 70 per cent of UK consumers want to be able to watch what they want, when they want. 39 per cent wish catch-up content was available for longer and 45 per cent would like to be able to watch all the episodes of their favourite shows back to back.

It seems that on demand is in demand, as 74 per cent of viewers claim that they can’t find anything to watch on live TV. Many are feeling overwhelmed by content. The fusion of broadcast and broadband has provided a wealth of new TV services but the result is a content maze that viewers are finding increasingly difficult to navigate.

The survey goes on to say that 39 per cent of those surveyed felt that there were technology and film brands that could do a better job than the existing TV channels. This means that the pressure is on for broadcasters in the coming months, as companies such as Netflix launch in the UK.

As increased connectivity transforms the way we consume and interact with TV, operators and broadcasters need to deliver more choice and a variety of services that enable the viewers to shape how they consume content.

Viewers are ready for the next generation of TV. As we move into 2012 there is a real opportunity here for operators and broadcasters to look ahead and develop personalised services for their viewers so they can get the most out of their TV viewing experience.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Google TV updates – heading in the right direction?

Discussing the Logitech Revue saga with brutal honesty in a recent investor day, Logitech’s CEO has made it obvious that Logitech have no plans for future Google TV products. With Sony hinting at doing the same, the recent announcement of an updated Google TV may not have as much traction as hoped, despite LG’s hints of a Google TV product.

There’s no need to re-hash the criticisms that have been levelled at Google TV. However, there’s one important point to note: the presence of a mouse pointer, the “lean forward” experience of searching for content and the complicated remote control all point to an experience that’s designed for the PC rather than the TV. Google’s focus on “apps” for version 2.0 may not correct this, and potentially repeats their earlier mistake: TV is a “lean back” experience for the vast majority of people, as we’ve commented previously

If people do want to interact with their TV, are the apps on offer compelling enough? While there’s only a small number of apps available at present, this will not be about having vast numbers of apps to choose from: it’s about having the right apps that work in the right way for a TV audience. With nearly 50% of people now using a companion device while watching TV, apps-on-TV may not be enough to review Google TV’s fortunes given the prevalence of companion devices with richer user interaction models.

Both Logitech and Google failed to read the TV market. Logitech have admitted that and learned from it: the question is, has Google learned the right lessons?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Fifth of TV sets to be connected in five years

Digital TV Research has predicted that connected TV sets will represent a fifth of global TV sets by 2016. But despite infiltrating the mass-market, many of these connected TVs will not actually be connected to the internet.

There’s no doubt that the connected TV market is set for seismic growth in the coming twelve months and beyond. But the thought of millions of connected TV sets sitting isolated in living rooms across the country is a gigantic waste! It accentuates a critical flaw in the success of the connected TV market to date. Simply having the ability to connect is not enough – because if the consumer doesn’t know how, the technology is rendered meaningless. What’s the use in technical progress if viewers aren’t able to reap the rewards?

We must embark on a process of significant consumer education if the market is to truly succeed. Manufacturers must take responsibility for ensuring that set up is simple and efficient, while retailers must ensure that the consumer has all the necessary information to go home and get started on their connected TV experience. All too often consumers are confronted with the complex, laborious process of returning home with a device that looked great on the shop floor, but a nightmare install.

If the connected TV market is to realise its full potential, it’s critical that the industry takes the reins on this mammoth education job now, to help consumers understand the true value that a connected TV experience can bring.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The future of French terrestrial Pay-TV?

Frédéric Mitterrand, the French minister of culture and communication, said recently that allowing the information channel LCI to become free-to-air would send a “very bad signal” about the future of pay-TV on French terrestrial networks. The channel’s owners, TF1, had mooted moving the channel to a free-to-air model if an updated carriage deal with Canal Plus could not be reached. The news channel BFM also opposed LCI’s move to free-to-air, saying that “there is no place on the free DTT market” for three news channels.

While recent developments mean that LCI will remain a pay channel, it does raise questions about terrestrial pay-TV in France. The free-to-air market is changing in many countries due to reduced advertising spend and due to new opportunities offered by connected services. The recent entry of Canal Plus into the free-to-air market may also affect the relationship between the pay-TV and free-to-air sectors. Through its plans to launch the new Canal 20 channel and its proposed acquisition of Direct 8 and Direct Star, there are concerns that Canal Plus will have an unfair advantage in the French market.

With the CSA pushing for the adoption of DVB-T2 and the European Commission evaluating the plans for the attribution of “bonus channels” following analogue switch-off, the picture for digital terrestrial broadcasting in France gets especially complicated.

While the LCI situation may be resolved, there are still a number of issues that may affect the delicate balance between free-to-air and pay-TV services. All parties need to be aware of the unintended consequences of the changes currently taking place.