TV of Tomorrow Reveals the Future

The TVOT, to me, is to cutting edge media intellectual property what the CES is to electronics - standing on the cusp of new innovations for the media industry. Even its conference location this year in a warehouse building near the new Hudson Yards development spoke to an early insider’s look of what the future will bring.

The jam packed, fast paced day covered advancements in TV Everywhere, Enhanced Advertising, Big Data, ACR, Smart TV and even UI design. According to Tracy Swedlow, CEO of Interactive TV Today and programmer of the TV of Tomorrow conference, one of the big changes from last year is that “the broadcasters are doing more exploration into interactive content platforms. They are heavily involved in TV Everywhere.” And the consumers are helping the industry move forward. “Viewers are more and more savvy. They understand these platforms. They expect more. They want more interactively. They want more options. They are using more second screen.”  Staying ahead or even keeping pace in this fast moving industry environment is critical to success.

The conference addressed the following issues: Where is the industry headed programmatically? What is holding back the business model? Where are the business opportunities? And this year, according to Swedlow, the conference included a “focus on Big Data because it is of critical importance to everybody in this community.” Panels on Big Data included “Big Data: Friend or Foe?” and “How Big is Big Data?”

But the Wild West atmosphere of groundbreaking interactive, addressable and analytical companies that give TVOT its unique energy was also evident. Companies included wywy which tracks and targets TV viewers online via measurement of synchronized advertising, ipowow which pushes out instantaneous communication in real time to harness audience participation and engagement, jinni which offers a personalize-able remote control via an app and Lingospot which offers a sync companion that pushes additional content to viewers as they watch TV.  

See videos from the full conference here:

Here are the top five big takeaways from the conference:

TV Everywhere is Alive, Well and Embedded into the Corporate Strategy
According to Comcast’s Matt Strauss, "TV Everywhere is one facet of our overall strategy. We want to give our customers what they want when they want it." But, he adds that TVE has to work for everyone involved, whether it is with rights, research, programming, devices. “We are now seeing the pieces come into place.” And Time Warner’s Chris Faw sees future possibilities in TV Everywhere as they work on the advertising model for it.

Standardization Facilitates Scale
There is a pressing need for standardization in such areas as metrics before true scalable growth can occur. Jeff Siegel of Rovi believes that “advanced platforms will not scale until consumers use the devices and agencies can access the data easily. Right now there are no standards across devices.” And ABC’s Pooja Midha said that the industry has “got to make it easier to buy across platforms.” Panelists agreed that advertising has to go beyond just the pre-roll and should facilitate interactivity across platforms.

It’s All Video, Just Different Screens
It’s official: Television is no longer defined as the hardware of the box. It has transcended to a more universal concept of video without borders. Tal Chalozin of Innovid saw the media landscape as “all video, just different screens. Consumers don't care what device it is. They know they are watching (a specific program).”

Break Down All Silos, Including Metrics
Whether it is the media companies themselves or the agencies, selling, buying and stewarding media by platform is labor intensive and inefficient. Alex Terpstra of Civolution sees that the “work is on the organizational side to make the package easily steward able for the agency. We need to stick to traditional TV metrics and make it work for the web.” Christopher Gillet of advised that we “need a data management platform. Everyone has their own datasets and we need to join these sets together.”

Big Data is More Important Than Ever – But We Need Interpreters!
Panelists agreed that age and gender has been a proxy. Now we can target consumers using big data. But analyzing Big Data is as much of an art as it is a science. Jane Clarke of CIMM, explained, “The research community has always had access to data.  But today we have all of this new census data coming from digital servers and set top boxes, and the analytics that go along with that data require a new set of skills in order to apply it in smart ways for business purposes.”

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