As this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) came to an end, the shiny, light-weight, thin gadgets were packed away and the technology industry took a step back to evaluate which ground-breaking development will really make a difference to consumer’s everyday lives.

While the in-car technology, digital health devices, ultrabooks and smartphones will all undoubtedly impact and improve our lives, it was the connected TVs that created the greatest buzz.

Back in the UK, this week also saw the BBC release its iPlayer viewing figures for December 2011 across connected TVs, mobile and tablet devices.

The broadcaster revealed that 7m BBC programmes were watched on the iPlayer via connected TV sets, up 1,000% year on year.

BBC iPlayer’s general manager David Danker said that the growth of audience viewing across TVs, mobile and tablets was “outpacing” that of the PC.

Various other research revealed that at the end of 2011 there were 82m connected TVs in homes worldwide and by 2016 that number is predicted to reach 892m.

Connected TVs have long been touted as the next ‘big’ thing but has predominantly been the home for catch-up viewing.

In last year’s Adjust Your Set and IAB research, marketers voted “watching catch-up TV” as the most frequent activity on connected TVs. But this could be about to change.

This year’s CES show allowed the various technology manufacturers to showcase the future of smart TVs and even games consoles, such as Microsoft’s Kinect, revealed a future of touch and voice control for the TV set.

With the latest technology innovation, increase in cloud services and faster internet speeds, audiences have greater freedom in the type of content distributed into their homes and the screens they watch it on.

However, while the technology may have arrived, the content propositions are still in their infancy. Broadcasters will continue to distribute scheduled programmes and catch-up services, but connected TVs will really come into their own when brands develop complimentary content.

As 2011 showed, the amount of money spent on online video advertising increased and 68% of marketers in 2012 intend to boost their budget in this platform, according to a report by Break Media. 

As YouTube continues to push professionally produced channels, the shift toward online spend across internet-enabled devices will increase. Connected TVs will become, not only the centre of the connected-home, but a strong influence over advertising budgets for brands.

The gap between a consumer’s first exposure to a brand and their final purchasing decision has shrunk.

While CES 2012 showcased the technology to make this happen,  to instantly convert a consumer’s internet in a traditional TV ad to a purchase on a companion device, we’re still waiting for brands to develop the content strategies to bring that journey to life.  

Chris Gorell Barnes

Published 18 January, 2012 by Chris Gorell Barnes

Chris Gorell Barnes is CEO of Adjust Your Set and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can also follow him on Twitter

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