Connected TVs have gained significant
attention over the last year, in particular at the recent Royal Television
Society’s Cambridge Convention and this week at MIPCOM, and it’s only set to continue.

The
BBC launched an updated version of its iPlayer for web-connected TVs, Sony and
Opera teamed up to provide web browsing capabilities on the platform.

Meanwhile, Audi
launched the UK’s first web-connected TV campaign to promote its A7 Sportback
range, not to mention the impending launches of Google TV and YouView.

While it’s clear the market is gearing up for the complete emergence of connected TVs, it seems broadcasters are still unsure about the platform.

It
was recently reported
from the RTS Convention that “broadcasters are not yet ready to embrace internet-connected
television platforms, due in part to the lack of control they would have over
the advertising appearing next to their content”. 

What broadcasters need to understand is that this phenomenon is happening
regardless.

Market research and consulting firm DisplaySearch has predicted
that, by 2014, 123m internet-connected TV units will be shipped worldwide
annually
, and In-Stat in the US estimates that over 60% of connected households
will use a TV app at least once a week.

In addition, Facebook has announced
that users will be able to discover and share music, movies and news reports on
the site and partnering with Netflix it now allows users to stream video from
the online movie service.

With the growth of connected TVs, Facebook could
dominate a large proportion of audience share and essentially edge closer to
becoming a broadcast channel.

For the connected TV to deliver on its promise it needs to reach its full
potential and become an indispensible tool for the customer to access, interact
and engage with content.

However, that content has to create and deepen the
viewer experience and relationship, whether it’s via traditional programming or
branded advertising. As David Abraham, Chief Executive of Channel 4 outlined in
his speech for the Royal Television Society, “we are here to serve audiences
and interests in new and innovative ways”.

As with most technology, TVs are getting smarter and the data is becoming
richer. Channel 4 has launched its Viewer Engagement Strategy in order to
provide better insight into viewer behaviours and preferences and this can only
lead to more targeted advertising.

Audiences don’t want to be served the same
ad, they already have the ability to choose their favourite TV programming and
films, and with greater personalisation it can lead to greater advocacy and
purchase.

EyeView research showed that online users who received a personalised
ad garnered a full 100% improvement in the level of favourability toward a
brand. Integrate social media as well, and programmes or brands can be
recommended to the viewer based on their likes and friends.
 
Each player for connected TVs has a role; the broadcasters and media owners,
brands and agencies. It could ultimately reveal a whole new digital landscape,
with new regulations and revenue opportunities for all.

Sir Martin Sorrell has
claimed there is a “disconnect between what consumers are doing and what
clients are doing,” however, it seems more prevalent from recent debates that
the disconnect is between broadcasters and advertisers.  

The industry it
seems is well aware of the benefits and significance of internet-connected TVs,
but appears disjointed in its approach to a strategy.

Connected TVs have
created a new playing field, one that will serve audiences in a smarter and
more engaging way. Until broadcasters accept this smarter platform, audiences
will be the ones to suffer.