“Connected TVs”, that is TV sets with internet connectivity, have become mainstream. To better connect broadcasters to the outside world, the BBC’s Ralph Rivera explained how the corporation was implementing a concept of “connected studios”. That is to say the broadcaster opens up some of its content and starts providing APIs (interfaces for other services to connect) for external developers and production companies.
The UK’s ad-funded public broadcaster Channel 4 announced its plan to launch a new TV channel, 4seven, later this year. Its content will be rebroadcasts of those programmes aired during the last seven days that create the most buzz in social media. This is a new kind of approach that fits somewhere between traditional and on demand television.
Channel 4 CEO David Abraham said its strategy was also to make its viewers register for 4’s web services. Currently over 50 % of its on demand viewing comes from registered users. Registration helps to collect viewer and viewing data, which is used to provide personalized services such as recommendations.
Perhaps surprisingly, OTT (“over-the-top”; transmitting TV content over open internet) wasn’t discussed much and cord-cutting (cancelling cable pay subscriptions in favour of internet video) was barely mentioned. However, BSkyB’s Andrew Griffith said it was planning to launch an OTT service, where the pricing scheme would probably be built around some kind of mini-bundle.
Among interesting advertising innovators was Shazam.
Shazam is known as a music recognition service. Using a free app phone users can fetch information on a song that is currently being played eg on the radio. The Shazam algorithm recognizes the song and provides user information, which song that was. Shazam recently launched its advertising recognition concept.
Shazam can recognize TV or radio ads and bring its users to interact with the advertiser’s mobile or other website. It seems that in Shazam’s strategy music recognition is the key motivation for the users to download the app. Once there is a good base of users, Shazam can monetize its network with advertising service.
Tablets bring opportunities for media companies, but tablet still equals iPad
Tablets have now taken the role as an everyday delivery platform for TV, newspaper and magazine businesses. They are comfortable for users, they have brought new ways of charging for content and there are solutions available to integrate them to existing publishing processes.
For media business tablet in practice equals iPad. It is too complicated to support several tablet platforms and on the other hand iPad has become the standard gadget for media-savvy consumers.
Forget the apps, browsers will rule.
Forrester’s Josh Bernoff suggested a new buzzword to describe the multi-platform issue: “We’re not in the Internet era anymore, we’re in the Splinternet era”.
To address the issue of incompatible delivery platforms in multi-channel delivery everybody at the conference was strongly positive towards a browser-based approach. “At the end of the day, the killer device will be the browser”, said Pearson’s Juan Lopez-Valcarcel.
Today tablet and smartphone content is most often delivered with the help of a content-specific mobile app that the user needs to download at an app store. One app will cover iPads and iPhones, but in Android and other platforms the specifications vary from one manufacturer to other. Mobile apps are usually easy-to-use for users as they contain only those functionalities that are needed.
App store channel means also for media companies that they have to pay the app stores provision, typically 30 %.
The newest version of web’s HTML language, the HTML5 is expected to enable media companies to move to browser-based services. HTML5 boasts functionalities and interfaces necessary for handling rich media. Use of HTML5 means that media companies could provide their content in one standard format and device-specific browsers take care for adapting the content to each device.