Measuring connected TV
Connected TV – or “smart TV”, if you prefer – is no longer on the horizon. It’s on our doorsteps, and in many cases in our homes.
Viewers now have the option of watching TV content when they like, where they like, and on a device of their choosing. Just ask the BBC, whose iPlayer service attracts 1.8 million daily users. It’s available on a variety of platforms, from PCs and internet-connected TVs to tablets, game consoles and mobile phones. This is one of a handful of advances that are changing the television landscape.
In the United States, major broadcasters have made their flagship shows available online, while web-based services like Hulu (www.hulu.com) provide on demand streaming video of clips, TV shows and movies.
Millions of TVs are already linked to the internet via set-top boxes. But smart TVs, with connectivity built in, are being rolled off production lines by the likes of Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, LG and Philips. Some sources suggest that 60 million connected TVs will be sold this year, rising to 125 million in 2014 (DispaySearch). Very soon, the borders between broadcast TV and online content will have vanished.
Dalia Gereis, commercial director of Kantar Media Audiences in the UK, says: “The industry accepts that connected TV is important. Now the key is encouraging our clients to work together and adopt the measurement tools that are currently being developed.”
For the moment, Audiences has two solutions in the public domain. One is a much-hailed partnership with Google, which as the owner of YouTube is one of the main drivers of connected TV. Google and Kantar Media are creating a 3,000-strong UK panel that will measure online and television viewing in order to monitor cross-platform usage. Google is in talks with the media and advertising industry about how to make the data available.
Meanwhile, Kantar Media is also providing metering software to BARB (the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board in the UK). The software, which appears as a virtual meter on screens, tracks television viewing on computers. A panel of 100 homes will have been extended to more than 1,000 before the end of 2012. A panel is also set up and running in Singapore.
While viewers are keen to download their favourite shows, live broadcasts – from big sports events to talent shows – remain immensely popular. But connected TV has a role to play here, too, bringing the social media element of viewing (comments on Twitter and Facebook, for example) onto a single screen, controlled by a single device.
As Dalia Gereis says: “Gone are the days when online was a separate thing. It’s very much part of TV now. The two go hand-in-hand: they complement one another.”
Ron Jacoby, the chief architect and vice president of Yahoo! Connected TV, recently wrote on Mashable (www.mashable.com): “Connected TV is a Holy Grail scenario for an industry that has been trying to bridge the emotion and effectiveness of television advertising with the metrics, interactivity and audience targeting of Internet advertising. For example, rather than distributing a standard car commercial, the company could run the same ad with the option for connected consumers to pull up additional information on the car, read consumer reviews and find a local dealer — all with the click of the remote control.”