Who Will Finally Nail Connected TV?

February 4, 2014 Ben Myers
WebOS was unveiled at CES 2014 by LG.

WebOS was unveiled at CES 2014 by LG.

In early January, at CES 2014, electronics manufacturer LG unveiled WebOS, an operating system with a pleasing card-based interface for its latest generation of TVs.

With the ability to switch among content-playing apps including Netflix, Youtube and Hulu Plus, and its own app store to download new content and apps, WebOS represents the latest – and perhaps most refined – attempt by a TV manufacturer to match its awesome screen to an equally capable manufacturer-controlled interface.

With video game consoles, computer-makers, upstart electronics companies trying to plug-in their various TV boxes, and TV manufacturers themselves competing to control the biggest screen in the house, it’s an interesting time in the evolution of web-connected TV. WebOS is just the latest software trying to get a foothold on consumers’ televisions.

“You’re not just buying TV time for a certain demographic that watches a certain type of show.”

Stuart MacDougall, CTO at video advertising platform SourceKnowledge, will discuss the 5 Things You Need To Know About Connected TV and its impact on advertisers and consumers at Dx3 on March 5 & 6. He knows that reaching a potential customer through their TV isn’t as straight-forward as it used to be.

“A lot of people are all competing for this space on the biggest screen in the house,” MacDougall said while describing the audience fragmentation among apps and devices from numerous companies.

Stuart MacDougall, CTO at SourceKnowledge.

By its nature, the connected TV is combining viewing and advertising patterns from both web video and cable television. Netflix has disrupted weekly viewing patterns with a binge-watching behaviour, while Youtube apps on nearly every TV-connected box brings free videos supported by Google’s advertising network.

“The promises of targeting are going to be brought to bear in connected television.”

“It’s not one thing to approach anymore,” MacDougall said. “You’re not just buying TV time for a certain demographic that watches a certain type of show, you’re talking about a wide range of activities that people are doing on this large-screen TV.”

MacDougall describes Connected TV as an “open ecosystem” bringing with it new opportunities for advertising that combines the demographic targeting of web advertising and the mass audiences that enjoy kicking back on their couch to watch something on the big screen. Sponsoring an app on TV or second-screen, a piece of content, or an entire channel are among the possible ways to reach a viewer.

“The promises of targeting are going to be brought to bear in connected television,” MacDougall said, citing the granular advertising capabilities of ad networks currently available for advertising on the web. “When a company approaches connected TV, they don’t have to approach it like TV where they buy a Super Bowl ad. They can buy into an app ecosystem.”

MacDougall remains cognisant of the mass appeal of traditional cable TV, including the hold that cable broadcasters have on the most popular content.

“I wouldn’t predict the death of traditional television,” he said. However, considering the success of Netflix, the reach of Youtube, and the proliferation of numerous other channels from brands like the NBA, NHL, WWE on a number of devices, it’s difficult to imagine consumers returning to an appointment-TV mindset.

With WebOS and its contemporaries, television manufacturers are investing in more ways to bring content to their customers. Advertisers will have expand their perspectives to get their messages to consumers as well.

Learn more about Stuart MacDougall’s 5 Things Session at Dx3 2014 on March 5-6.

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