Apps, the future of a new TV experience, and the death of the old.

What if apps did for TV’s and the entire viewing experience what apps did for phones?

It was not so long ago that the idea of loading an app on a phone was not possible. The first iPhone did not allow this and it took some time before the API and developer kit was opened up. Today, this is commonplace…and the same is now happening to our connected TV’s.

This is significant, because it brings us closer to an à la carte, on demand, one on one engaged world…even in TV land.

New research from Parks Associates shows US smart (connected) TV owners who watch online video increased by over 30% in six months. 75% of US smart TV owners who connect their TV’s to the web watch on-demand online movies monthly – up from 57% in 2011. 71% watch online TV shows monthly, up from 51% in 2011. From a daily perspective, 30% watch movies and 32% watch TV shows. Parks Associates projects that the number of internet-connected TVs shipped will jump from less than 1% in 2008 to over 45% in 2012, and that’s a big jump in a relatively short amount of time folks.

Add all of the X-Boxes, Rokus, Google Nexus Q’s and Apple TV’s and you suddenly have a television viewing revolution as people start to download the apps of the networks or content partners they love as opposed to prescribing to hundreds of channels pre-packaged by the cable operators they don’t.

For now, there is just one problem, content creators and the networks cannot afford to spite the hand that feeds them (cable and satellite companies) by selling directly. However there is no doubt that the pendulum will swing in that direction once a majority of folks start to connect to their programming in this way, and online advertising has the potential to exceed traditional and there is evidence of that. ComScore’s monthly Video Metrix report shows more than 11 billion online video ads were viewed in June, up from over 10 billion in May. In addition, each of the top five online video advertising properties delivered more than 1 billion video ads in June. Google properties came in first (1.41 billion ads delivered), BrightRoll (1.39 billion ads), Hulu (1.33 billion), Adap.tv (1.15 billion), and TubeMogul (1.04) billion. ComScore finds that video ads reached 53% of the total US population an average of 68 times during the month. 

Another report argues that real-time buying of video ads may be a superior method for buying digital video, something cable cannot do to the same degree based upon habits and real-time detailed demographics information (

. “Real-time buying puts marketers in the driver’s seat, not only in terms of seeing exactly where an ad is running and for what price, but by reducing media waste by allowing for real-time adjustment based on impact and budget”.

As for live TV, operators such as Aereo are offering connectivity via remote antenna rental. I’m also sure that digital antennas will start to pop up within TV’s and digital boxes. If you have not tried a digital antenna yourself, the free signal that the major networks broadcast delivers a better picture than you get via most cable or satellite companies. Give it it try!

In addition to cheaper bills and better control, apps will give us innovation that cable has never been able to deliver in an efficient manner; such as the ability to purchase directly from in-program product placement or from advertising, which, by the way, will need to become much more adaptive in format to the new medium. Meaning the traditional :30 and :60 will change or disappeared entirely. One example of this is how TiVo has partnered with PayPal to develop interactive TV ads that would allow viewers to make purchases with their remotes while watching TV.

There is not doubt that this future is upon us. Watch for my next post on the opportunity of PR with social TV and the second screen.

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