Future TV, apparently our TV’s are getting smarter by connecting them to the internet so we can watch cat videos on Youtube. The real leap forward is the ability to break our dependance on the set top box and the programmers EPG view of when we should watch our favourite shows.
Smart Tv’s enable an on demand world of direct access to content of our choice, when we want to watch. Most of this “choice” is still being enabled but we can already see the potential through services like Netflix, Hulu and direct sports subscription models enabled by MLB, NBA and NFL.
This is a network programmers worst nightmare, and breaks the key business model of television Advertising, as the bulk of television viewing is free to the viewer, supported by commercials to encourage us to be better consumers.
In Australia less than 30% of households have access to pay television services, delivered through managed set top boxes and most recently games consoles like XBox. As high speed broadband accelerates with larger data plans we are more comfortable getting our video via the internet and interacting with our friends as we watch via social media tools.
This makes for interesting opportunities on how we discover, and connect with our favourite shows and puts pressure on networks to be in sync with global release windows. Who wants to be 3 months behind on Game of Thrones or Mad Men, when your friends are tweeting spoilers across all your feeds.
Many networks are rising to this trend and “fast tracking” content into the local market to feed the hungry viewers need for instant gratification and to fight the leakage that such holdbacks create via illegal downloads. Many networks are also looking at multi-platform simultaneous release via both broadcast and catch-up windows via video on demand services. This further helps us break our demand on EPG’s and fit out favourite shows into our lifestyle. The Apple iTunes content store for TV has become a de-facto catch up platform for many viewers and allows networks and producers a method to extract further value from the shortening long tail.
The challenge for many viewers now is that there are so many ways to watch their favourite content on so many screens that you need a degree in engineering and user experience to migrate many of these new services imbedded into our games consoles. and “Smart TV’s ”
Discovery search, ease of use are all challenges that the market will need to address if the average consumer is to break the nexus from the traditional managed service and EPG but there are glimmering hopes from Google and Apple that have already redefined how we engage with our content.
Siri better get a whole lot smarter.