Marketing push required for connected TV services

Those involved in the connected TV value chain need to educate consumers, content owners and ad agencies if the platform is to become a viable business. This was the conclusion of a connected TV roundtable organized by consultancy Futuresource featuring speakers from software company Rovi, Samsung, QVC, online music service We7 and digital video ad company Smartclips.

According to Richard Bullwinkle, chief evangelist of Rovi, the proportion of connected TV owners connecting their device to the internet has increased from about 15% when first generation sets were launched to about 50% at the moment. Dan Saunders, Samsung’s business development manager, content services, said the company was analyzing the first data to emerge concerning connected TV usage but refused to reveal hard figures. However, he said connected TV sets now represented 75% of Samsung’s TV sales in Europe, skewing more heavily in northern and western Europe. He pointed out that despite being available for some time, connected TV manufacturers including Samsung had only recently begun marketing services directly to end-users. “We have all known about smart TVs for the last couple of years but from a consumer perspective, it’s really brand new,” he said. “Also, when it comes to the content available on these platforms, it’s only since the middle of last year that we’ve had services in the UK, for example, like BBC iPlayer and LoveFilm. It’s the content that’s required in order to drive consumer pull into these services.”

Saunders said it was important to find services that make sense on TV and create the “gravity” required to attract other content providers and end-users. “I think you’ll start to see a very concerted effort on behalf of content owners…to successfully monetise this opportunity.”

Also speaking at the event was Jean-Pierre Fumagalli, CEO of digital video ad company Smartclip. He said the company had seen an increase in the time spent watching video content on connected TVs compared to the same content being viewed online, but he added that most advertising decision makers had yet to grasp the potential of advertising on connected TV. “Every website has the potential to get a huge amount of unique users but those users are not watching enough video. When the same content is displayed by the same publisher or content owner on the connected TV we see a different picture,” he said. “They tend to spend 30 to 40 minutes watching that content and additional videos, and they tend to watch longer-form video content. These TV devices are delivering increased time spend per each unique user.”

However, Fumagalli said that recognition of connected TV services remained low amongst Smartclip’s clients. “The main problem is that not enough people have seen [connected TV services]. Most decision makers are not early adopters so we have to physically show them connected TV services.”

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