Thursday, 28 April 2011

TV viewers have their say – social media and the Royal Wedding

Everybody’s talking about it, so it seemed like we couldn’t really avoid a mention of tomorrow’s Royal Wedding on our blog. With the nation gearing up to tune in to the nuptials of Kate and Will, how we’re all going to get in on the action has been a hot topic for discussion. Social media is set to transform the viewing experience, with a Facebook page and a YouTube channel giving well-wishers the chance to ‘watch and react’, post messages, and even upload their own videos.

When Charles married Diana in 1981, it’s estimated that more than 750 million people tuned in worldwide. So with today’s technology, and the huge amount of investment from broadcasters to give the public as much access as possible to the celebrations, it’s anyone’s guess as to how many people will be watching tomorrow. But what’s really going to set this viewing experience apart is the opportunity for people to get involved from the comfort of their living rooms. It’s a little bit of TV history in the making.

With our TV’s becoming digital entertainment hubs, and an increasing number of services converging from the web to our television screen, tuning in to an event like this is no longer a case of sitting back and absorbing. The rise of the connected television, providing users with access to more traditional ‘web’ applications like YouTube and Flickr and greater engagement with the content they watch, has transformed the TV experience from passive, to interactive. With TV innovation evolving at an exciting pace in an increasingly connected world, we wonder what we’ll be able to do from our TV’s at the next Royal Wedding!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Over-the-Top a hit for all ages

Over-the-top (OTT) delivery is becoming increasingly popular for watching video content across a broadening range of connected devices. A survey carried out by Accenture shows that a growing number of consumers are choosing to watch video content over-the-top, on their TVs, smart-phones as well as PCs.

And it seems that viewers of all ages are increasingly accessing on-demand OTT content. It isn’t just the younger viewers who are driving this trend. The survey showed that 82% of participants aged 35-44 and 64% of participants over the age of 65 are also accessing OTT content.

Broadcasters and operators need to look to find ways to deliver the next generation of TV content, that will enable the viewer to engage and interact with the programmes they watch, not just on the TV but across other devices as well. Consumers are looking for a unified viewing experience across their connected devices.

TV Web surfing

Another interesting statistic from the report was consumers’ desire for Web browsing on the TV, just 14% wish to use this feature – an opinion we’ve supported many times in the past. Web services must be tailored for the TV viewing experience.

Monday, 18 April 2011

IP&TV World Forum 2011

IP&TV World Forum has been and gone again. As usual I spent some time at the show catching up on what’s new. It seems to be a year of consolidation for the industry: most of what I saw was more polished versions of products or demos that I had already seen. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it signals a positive shift in the industry.

In my experience, this kind of consolidation tends to indicate a move from “technology push” to “product pull” – shifting from a set of technologies looking for a problem to solve to an industry that has become more consumer-focused, concentrating on delivering products that customers really want. This is a sign of growing maturity in the market, and given the growth in connected TV services and over-the-top services marks an important step towards the mainstream for both.

HbbTV and iPlayer were well-represented at this year’s show, and these really demonstrate the two trends that we’re seeing here at ANT. The uptake of HbbTV as a standard solution for web-based TV services, and the spread of iPlayer as a service that is hugely popular with consumers, could indicate a turning point for the IPTV industry.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Advertisers set to increase spend on digital video advertising

We’re likely to see a huge increase in digital video advertising this year, according to a survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The results show that the majority of marketers and agencies are increasing their spend on digital video advertising by up to 22 percent over the next twelve months.

It’s no surprise that marketers are looking for more interactive solutions for advertising content. The explosion of online media content is pulling the consumer in different directions and traditional advertising methods are no longer grabbing the attention of the viewer in the same way. The availability of on-demand content means that viewers are now able to skip TV adverts or miss them out altogether.

It’s important to extend beyond the TV screen but not to cut it out altogether. Marketers and advertisers need to look to develop interactive and engaging content that can be rolled out across multiple platforms.

Last Christmas Waitrose took its TV advertising to the next level with its series of adverts that encouraged the viewer to take a photo on their mobile of the Quick Response code, which appeared at the end of each advert. The barcode allowed them to download a new app for free, to access recipes, an advent calendar and other tools.

Advertisers need to follow this example and look to develop content that stays with the viewer after the TV has been switched off.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The BBC, YouView and Connected TV StandardsThe BBC, YouView and Connected TV Standards

Roly Keating, director of archive content at the BBC, spoke recently at the UK Digital TV Group (DTG) summit about how the company is approaching the delivery of content to multiple devices. While some reports have picked up on his comments that YouView is only one part of the BBC's strategy, I’m not sure how surprising this is. With iPlayer being rolled out on more and more devices, and with a huge library of Web-based content, the BBC can’t afford to put all their eggs in the YouView basket – either politically or in terms of their public service remit.

Like many organisations, the BBC is wrestling with the problem of delivering content to multiple devices. The approach to connected TV being taken by the DTG and other industry bodies can offer significant advantages here, by bringing together standards from the web and TV in a pragmatic way: one that that brings the two worlds closer together while recognising the differences between them in business models and product lifecycles. Similarly, the BBC is in an excellent place to help shape that, work by providing concrete examples of where the gaps are today.

The BBC has a long history of involvement in standardisation, and this is another example of where they can take a leading role in standardising an approach to multi-screen delivery of connected TV services based on today’s connected TV standards.