lundi 23 mai 2011

The End of Disconnected TV

Updated June 26, 2011
TV is still disconnected from the Web. Not for very long. This is probably the end of its insularity. 16 years after the beginning of the Web, TV joins the new digital world. The idea is not new: Thomson Multimedia tested it in 1999 (Tak), but it was too early, too complicated and it failed. Today, Google TV is only one year old and has still a long way to go to become the OS of TV devices (following the android model). In Europe a consortium is developing a standard (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV).
The following post only describes what connected TV brings. What reamains to be seen is how and wether people will use it: once TV sets are connected, will TV viewers use the connection capacities? We do not know, we cannot know, until households are equipped with new TV sets. Research done at the time of Tak (cf. Sandrine Medioni) showed that people were reluctant to interact, that they were happy to remain inactive viewers. Content to be disconnected and lazy! So, let's be prudent.

What is at stake with this convergence?
  • There is a battle to control the living room: the only place where all the family meets in front of a screen ("audience conjointe", as TF1 says). To win this battle, the product has to be cheap and simple. TV viewers are not going to fiddle with software before watching a movie. Apple TV does not require an external  keyboard. For iTunes users, it is now a nobrainer (how about an Apple-branded TV?). See another example: GlideTV.
  • It is time to rejuvenate the TV experience. Networks wonder if teenagers and young adults still like TV since they declare they would not miss it if TV were taken away from them. But do we know anything about their intimate experience when watching TV? We only know, vaguely, how much time is spent watching.
  • When it comes to advertising, TV is by far the biggest and priciest media: what effect will the Web have (price, marketshare)?
  • TV manufacturers (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, etc.) need connected TV in order to renew the demand for TV sets. 5 million connected TV sets sold in 2011, according to Consumer Electronic Association. Connected TV will become cheaper, but there will always be a gap between equipment and uses. 
  • Tablets are already connecting TV and the Web (cf. L'iPad dérange la TV américaine), threatening TV sets.
What does "connected TV", or "hybrid TV" mean for TV viewers and for advertisers? What can they expect?
TV viewing has always been connected to other media, especially the press (TV guide) and the phone. According to Nielsen, in 2011, more than two-thirds of tablet or smartphone owners use their mobile device while watching TV. TV represents 20 to 30% of the time spent with these devices. Facebook and Twitter are used to sharing TV ideas.
But these connections are all but seamless. TV viewers have to juggle with remotes, screens, a keyboard...  Magazines are not convenient anymore for a TV market where there are many hundreds of channels and so many time shifting possibilities (VOD, catch-up TV). 

What's new with connected TV?
  • For TV viewers: TV was dumb, it now becomes smart
    • Seamless connection with the web; TV becomes part of the Web. Everything which works with the Web will work with TV. You want to know what's on (content discovery)? Type a word or two in your search engine and find out. And of course, there are many apps for that. 
    • An app in your smartphone works as a personal remote control.
    • Search works with video (speech-to-text): Google, blinkx, Soku, Baidu, etc.
    • Multitasking is so simple, so seamless you do not even know you are multitasking
    • Old-fashioned linear TV networks are just one click away from YouTube, Youku, Facebook, on-line press, etc. And vice versa. Cf. YouTube Leanback
    • Browse, click, search, fling, subscribe, share... Same gestures (habitus) :for all digital screens. 
    • One single User Interface (UI), one single homepage personalized with apps, synchronization across all screens (homogeneity of contents). Satellite and cable operators will not control the UI anymore (they will try, however: cf. Rovi Corporation and TotalGuide xD.
    • Web sites will be optimized for TV (Google has already started)
    • No need for a set-top box anymore
    • Connected home: more and more devices in the house will be IP based and inter-connected
  • For advertisers
    • Google TV, blinkx help users to find what they want: there will be search engine TV marketing 
    • Cookies for TV programs and uses
    • New measurement: site-centric and people-centric? GRP's for all?
    • All the advertising and targeting tools will adapt to TV: marketplaces, adnetworks, adexchanges, Real Time Bidding, creative optimization, capping, behavioral marketing, self-serve, yield optimization, you name it... and finally data marketing
    • Cross channel optimization (mobile, video, TV, etc.)
    • One single media world: one single transaction to buy both media. More inventory for sale
    • Localization of the viewers /shoppers: retail advertising, local advertising all the time
    • How to synchronize commercials on two screens, online ads and TV spots (TV, tablet smartphone or PC), in order to monetize socialized TV? Cf. Second Screen Networks.
    • Usual risks: clutter, privacy, brand safety?
  • For content providers
  • Which regulation applies to what?
  • Connected TV requires a very high speed connection.
  • Will people pay for new TV set, and if, when? How many years before a kind of connected TV succeeds?
  • Will TV become even more social? Examples:
    • recommendations based on user's social graph using Facebook and Twitter
    • IntoNow bought by Yahoo! (April 2011) for sharing on Twitter and Facebook
    • Twelevision in Australia (TV + Twitter) for sharing and chating (auto-hashtags)
    • Redux: for sharing personalized and "friendsourced entertainment"
    • Comcast, the major American cable-operator, tests social TV with apps, Facebook (Friends Trends), etc.
    • Alertes via Faebook, Twitter, courrier : Yidio est une guide de programmes socialisé, socialisant

1 commentaire:

Sandrine Medioni a dit…

Télévision et Internet, voici un mariage délicat mais qui semble si prometteur. La consommation télé est tout de même bien différente de la consommation du Net. Le clavier, la lecture à l'écran, les multiples fenêtres, l'accompagnement sonore, les demandes de "clic", l'usage plutôt solitaire de l'ordinateur. A côté de cela, la télévision paraît si reposante que les téléspectateurs ont bien noté sa spécificité : le média où il est possible "de ne rien faire".
Au cours de l'enquête que j'ai réalisée pour ma recherche, la télévision interactive a montré de réels atouts, tant d'un point de vue "utilitaire" (acquisition de connaissances, praticité, personnalisation) que "hédonique" (jeux, participation avec une TV 2.0) et "ergonomique" (principe du moindre effort, réponse immédiate). Mais le "désir d'inactivité" semble toujours bien ancré dans les usages de consommation télé, avec un important effet générationnel. L'idéal serait alors une TV connectée avec une technologie si transparente qu'elle ressemblerait toujours à une vraie télé.