A recent survey found that 20% of U.S. homes watched online content through their TVs in the past month.
Then at the end of October, Google made a big upgrade to its mostly forgotten connected TV platform GoogleTV.
They added the Android app market.
What may seem like a simple change is actually a big step forward for the whole connected device ecosystem. Now Android apps can be optimized for TV, and the early apps released will bring about some interesting changes.
But it still seems like no one ever gets really excited about connected TVs. Has TV gotten that conservative and boring? Well, let’s look at how increased adoption of connected entertainment and TV apps should get us more excited about the potential of TV’s future
The March Toward Social Home Entertainment
Streaming home entertainment is now the largest segment of data consumption in the U.S. according to a recent report from Sandvine. Perhaps the more surprising figure is that the majority of that consumption now occurs from connected devices.
But I hate to point out the obvious: the Netflix and Hulu apps for TVs and consoles are boring. Static. Lonely. They don’t have the social bells and whistles to make the experience any more interesting than watching a dumb TV.
New apps will do more to connect audiences to shows and to each other. A GetGlue or Miso app for GoogleTV could popularize the entertainment check-in concept and make TV more social. For sports fans apps like Are You Watching This?! is the best friend a viewer could want on game day. It provides details on live games like scores, impact on standings, and other factors to recommend which games are worth watching or skipping.
Console Makers Should Be Nervous
With apps like Angry Birds available through new connected TVs, the game console is under attack. Portable game consoles have already been disrupted by the rapid growth of smartphone and tablet gaming, and TVs/set top boxes are on track to disrupt the home gaming market in kind.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Xbox 360 and PS3 are on the ropes, but they may miss an opportunity to hook new casual gamers, like stay at home parents, looking for simple, addictive time wasters rather than more difficult console blockbusters.
Advertisers Should Be Eager
Connected living rooms present great new opportunities to advertisers.
Connected viewing brings new data about viewers and ad performance. The idea of “addressable advertising” delivered through mass media can really come to life in this space.
Startups and TV makers alike have noticed the potential of connected TV advertising. AdRise is a new ad platform focused specifically on connected TV apps. Publishers and advertisers can both benefit from delivering ads to these apps while also gathering better data on engagement than ever before.
Yume and LG have also announced a partnership to bring ads to LG’s TV apps. Toyota is the first advertiser to test the waters. The platform will use a combination of display banners, in-banner videos, and in-stream videos as well as special ad units for search and the app store.
We’re quickly entering a holiday season that will come out with more people having access to TV apps through a wide range of devices in the space. With the promise of expanded TV content, cheaper access to games, and a new platform for delivering ads, the growth of connected TVs is something we should all be excited about.
Simeon Spearman, 11.06.2011