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TV App Agency (TAA) has set its sights on the nascent connected TV market with a new product that allows developers to create apps that will work across six different manufacturers.

TAA’s new technology creates apps for Samsung, LG, Philips, Sharp, Opera and Google TV sets from a single source code.

In the past year, the company has created TV apps for Absolute Radio, Spanish broadcaster RTVE, National Rail Enquiries, and for property companies Rightmove, PrimeLocation and Findaproperty.com.

Co-founder Bruno Periera said that as connected TV is a new space many of the apps currently on the market are essentially research tools to find out what functionality and content consumers want.

You get people like National Rail who are coming in to be an early adopter – they are willing to go early, get their brand out there and learn what customers are doing.”

Periera said that property brands are well suited to smart TV apps as searching for a new home is a family activity, and the larger screen is good for viewing images.

Rightmove’s app is also integrated with its Android, iPad and iPhone apps so saved searches can be accessed from each platform.

But while the amount of apps is growing, we reported in February that those created for Google TV are failing to find a user base.

Periera said that though download numbers of its own apps are still low, they need to be taken in context of the overall size of the connected TV market.

Rightmove's RTVE app got 100,000 downloads in four weeks. If you look at the number of people who have a connected TV, then numbers really aren’t that small. One of our property apps is used by 5,000 people each day.”

He said the key to creating a successful app is making sure it tailors to the connected TV audience – early adopters with high disposable income.

However this is easier said than done, so for the immediate future it is likely that we'll see more services like the one from the National Rail that simply allows the user to check train times.

This limited functionality echoes a recently-launched M&S TV app that plays video of the retailer’s products without enabling users to purchase any of the items they were viewing.

Such basic apps hardly seem likely to get consumers excited about connected TV, and suggests there is currently a lack of innovation in the app market.

Hopefully TAA’s new software will make the cost of entry lower and encourage brands to push the boundaries of what's possible within a connected TV environment.

David Moth

Published 20 March, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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