Mobile challenges smart TV industry: It’s about value-add not replication

Reported in AdAge from CES in Las Vegas, the consumer electronics companies were touting their new interactive smart TVs while debate emerged about whether consumers even want them.

It does beg the question about how much UX has been conducted into the Smart TV industry. Do consumers want to Tweet or Facebook on their TV when they are sitting in front of the TV with their mobile and/or iPad in front of them? The whole concept of Social TV has emerged due to the consumer happily multi-tasking of devices.

The recent Nielsen report on social media usage in 2012 said:

Having a mobile device on-hand while watching TV has become an integral part of consumer routines—41 percent of tablet owners and 38 percent of smartphone owners use their device daily while in front of their TV screen. Twitter has emerged as a key driver of social TV interaction. During June 2012, a third of active Twitter users tweeted about TV-related content, an increase of 27 percent from the beginning of the year.

The value through TV today is the interactivity of multiple devices and also value-adds through both instant gratification and additional behind-the-scenes content.

The AdAge report goes on to detail some of what is happening in the industry:

Some TV properties such as HSN believe they can benefit from internet-enabled features. HSN announced a partnership with Panasonic this week that will make HSN’s entire inventory, more than 40,000 products, available on Panasonic TVs via a shopping app. The company is confident the program will be successful because of the popularity of the “shop by remote” offering the company rolled out in 2006.

“Our customer is device agnostic,” HSN CEO Mindy Grossman said in an interview. “What we want is to create as many opportunities for engagement and interaction as we can and let them customize it on their own terms.”

Imagine if the broadcasters and hardware consumer electronics came together to launch major e-Commerce platforms, letting the consumers sit in front of their TV and be able to buy what Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Aniston is wearing and so on.

It is about generating real value, not replicating functionality that consumers are habitually using on other devices. The research supports this with Nielsen adding:

Not surprisingly, social networking is a top activity on both devices [mobile & TV], but people aren’t just chatting with their social connections, they’re also shopping and looking up relevant program and product info.

The opportunity for both small and large retailers is huge when considering shopping apps via TV and, in addition, this could deliver some much-needed revenue for the TV broadcasters as well manufacturers. It’s not a matter of cramming as many gizmos on the TV as possible, it’s a matter of being smart about it.

Fi Bendall is the managing director of digital and interactive consultancy company Bendalls Group. With over 20 years’ experience, Bendall has worked with global brands including BBC and Virgin, and is an expert in how businesses can approach strategy in the digital world. You can follow her on Twitter at @FiBendall, and can contact her through Bendalls Group.



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