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.