CONNECTED, CONVERGED…AND NO LONGER CONFUSED!

October 16th, 2012

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at the EGTA (European Group of Television Advertising) AGM in Paris. For those who don’t know EGTA, they represent commercial broadcasters across Europe (and, increasingly, Asia and Africa).  The UK’s broadcasters are woefully under-represented within EGTA membership, but the remaining 34 countries and 82 broadcasters in the house were treated to two days of thought-provoking and generally uplifting perspectives on TV’s connected future.

As convergence is happening before our very eyes – with screens syncing together in seamless harmony – so we are beginning to see just how TV’s connected future is shaping up. On the final day of EGTA’s AGM, three evangelists for the connected living room showed their wares. Bruno Peirera of The TV App Agency and Tej Rekhi from DG Mediamind provided compelling examples of how content jumps from screen to screen, making the communal personal and the personal communal. Meanwhile, Miles Lewis of Shazam, showed how broadcasters are already using their audio matching technology to promote programmes and advertisers to deepen engagement. And the simplicity of the convergence to the viewer – buy app and point smartphone at TV – is what will make experiences such as these work.

There has been a step change in the creative & digital industries over the last couple of years, with an emphasis moving from trying to replace television towards trying to work with it, by deepening engagement, furthering interactivity and enabling sharing. The key to this has been the second (and now third, fourth, fifth…) screens that have sprung up in living rooms across the land. They allow all of these enhancements to take place without disturbing the communal and immersive experience of ‘watching TV’. That is why the main role of connected TV’s – once they finally get connected – is not to channel the internet into the TV set, but rather to send TV to the internet. Once it’s there, people can do their own thing with it, on their own screen.  I’ve heard it described as red button on steroids, but this is another level to the clunky, limited red button experience.

Of course, with technologies like Shazam, the TV doesn’t even need to be connected.

Not only does this have implications for the effectiveness of individual spots, it can also change the whole nature of the break, as Miles demonstrated through Shazam’s work on this year’s Superbowl. You can see some examples here (http://shazamadvertising.com/view/mail?iID=WHVEPW5QDBWHG2W7NJVH).

It offers some powerful opportunities to broadcasters and advertisers alike, if they embrace the technology, each commercial break could be a mini-Superbowl experience. But I can’t help thinking that the advertising breaks will need to do all they can to keep their audience from Shazaming off somewhere else…at a single wave of their smartphone!

 

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