Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Broadcast content is still king

Digital Spy carried out a survey of 3000 UK consumers this week highlighting that 75 per cent still prefer to watch broadcast content live. With broadcast content still king, what does the future hold for more interactive TV services, such as on-demand content?

Whilst on-demand content is increasing in popularity as it offers viewers the chance to watch what they want when they want, broadcast programmes will always have a place in our living rooms. Viewers will always want to experience and share important events in real time but increasingly, viewers are multitasking whilst watching the TV.

Now, advances in TV technology are giving viewers the opportunity to interact directly with this content using phones, tablets and the TV itself. Social media is already being used by viewers to enhance their viewing experience, and broadcasters are responding to this, with Twitter hashtags becoming more prominent during programmes. There is a real opportunity for the TV industry here. But you can’t just transfer the PC browsing experience to the TV, it’s essential that both broadcast and broadband content are developed together to provide a seamless viewing experience.

By Simon Woodward, CEO of digital TV specialist ANT Software

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Interactive TV to boost retailers’ sales

eBay released a report earlier this week highlighting that Interactive TV services will have an increasingly positive influence on retailers’ sales. eBay predicts that by 2014, new technologies will boost revenues by a huge £235m.  Interactive TV will have the most influence with a quarter of people set to use it regularly to shop by the end of 2014.

But the impact of interactive TV on online shopping sales isn’t a given. Instead, it will be dependent on whether consumers become more comfortable with the concept of connected TVs in their living rooms.  On the one hand, there is the potential to open up new revenue opportunities, whereas on the other hand, consumers need their eyes opening to the new role that television can play in the home.

For retailers to cash in on the £750m worth of potential direct sales, they need to avoid getting caught-up in the chicken and egg situation. Consumers won’t rush to shop through their television; they need to be shown how it works and the benefit of shopping via that medium.

We’ve seen slow adoption of the new functionality available in connected TVs, largely due to the poor education around how plugging the internet into the back of your television can enhance the viewing experience.  New technology adoption doesn’t just happen, technology is embraced when people are educated and excited by it.

By Simon Woodward, CEO of digital TV specialist ANT Software

Friday, 11 May 2012

Streamed mobile TV users set to soar

This week, Juniper Research released a survey highlighting the increasing popularity of streaming TV services directly to smartphone devices. Juniper predicts that the number of users will rise to 240m by 2014. The report found that this dramatic growth would arise from a combination of both increased smartphone penetration and, critically, an increase in the usage of live and on-demand Internet TV and IPTV services.

Of course, TV content is no longer confined to a TV screen in the home, and mobile TV adds another exciting dimension to consumers’ viewing experience. Mobile TV allows viewers to access real-time content whenever and wherever they want, meaning consumers can watch events, such as sports or breaking news stories, as they happen, and interact with that content as they watch. As the likes of Sky invest more in mobile access, the TV industry will be encouraged to see the rising mobile TV usage figures. 

Content providers would however, be wise to ensure that in offering consumers a multiscreen experience, each of the devices used are able to interact with each other. At present, devices are all too often treated independently, with mobile devices receiving cut-down services via the cloud. Content providers and device manufacturers need to work together to enable companion devices to ‘connect’ to TVs and STB’s to achieve a fully converged user experience.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Getting connected

Connected TVs are being woefully underused at the moment. This week YouGov released a survey showing only one third of connected TV buyers are doing so to connect to the internet. Most are currently being bought by early adopters looking to have the most up to date gadget. Picture, sound quality and screen size are cited as the most important factors, rather than the interactive web content.

YouGov suggested the results are more to do with future proofing the TV, likening it to when HD ready TVs were sold before HD channels were available. But that argument doesn’t really stack up as connected TV content is already available. It has been somewhat limited as content providers wait for consumers to show more interaction before making the leap themselves. But we are gradually seeing content owners and broadcasters become more media savvy. Content is now being distributed across a variety of IP-connected devices such as games consoles, smartphones, tablets and laptops. There’s a huge opportunity here to transform the TV experience from just simply viewing to interacting.