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Adrian Pennington from New Media Age (NMA) has written a fine analysis of single screen Connected TV solutions and the market in the UK - noting clearly - that broadcasters have been focussing on two screen solutions, but not really addressing the single screen possibilities with Connected TV which are now being pushed to the market by all major CE players including Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG and others.
But Sheffield's BIBC is building with Samsung and Yahoo Widget SDK's. And there are certainly other smaller players in the UK in the space building for brands. It's just the major innovation and creative agencies that have not seemed to address it - and the broadcasters themselves. Companies like BIBC don't even need to deal with broadcasters in a sense. They are getting in front of viewers globally via TV manufacturers directly via Connected TV.
Part of this could be due to the turtle crawl and squabbling over BBC's Project Canvas open IPTV proposal - and its slow process making it to market - therefore not firing up the single screen scenario for UK broadcasters. Canvas, has been given the nod as Paul Johnson recently reported for Appmarket.tv - and the BBC Trust has given 'thumbs up' only last week.
Project Canvas is a joint venture between the BBC, Arqiva, BT, Channel 4, Five, ITV and Talk Talk to develop a single standard for on-demand internet TV viewing via a broadband connection that echoes of HbbTV - a standard being used by the French and Germans. Two million HbbTV-powered TV sets are expected to be sold in Germany in 2010 and double that in 2011.
Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV or “HbbTV”, is a major new pan-European initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through connected TVs and set-top boxes.
It seems there's going to be two platforms in Europe, rather than one - unless the two bodies meet and find some synergy.
Pennington writes at NMA:
One of the hottest areas for convergence is connected TV: the media platform that’s emerging as TVs and Blu-ray players join set-top boxes in adding internet connectivity. A host of companies are integrating web-based content for living room entertainment and, unlike previous forays into web TV, this emerging ecosystem looks like it’s here to stay. But it’s raising questions for content creators and brands alike.
LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp and Sony are all releasing internet-enabled TVs this year, featuring broadcasters’ catch-up services, Skype video calls, LoveFilm movie streaming and widgets that offer news, weather, social networking, gaming and internet radio.
Utku Can, creative strategist at Mint told NMA:
The market is still far too young to be able to judge what audiences will respond to, but the potential to deliver new forms of content is one eyed by digital producers like Oil, Somethin’ Else, Six to Start and Mint Digital. “TV is becoming increasingly social,” says . “Interactivity and engagement with the public, utilised in real time to augment viewing, could be the next big thing in TV.”
Mike Bennett, CEO of Oil Studios, whom I met at Social TV Forum 2009 in London added:
“Even Channel 4, outside of C4 Education, is still rigorously TV-centric,” says Bennett. “All broadcasters want to add a layer of social activity around programming with Twitter or Facebook APIs, but the dual-screen approach, where audiences watch TV while interacting via laptop has limited appeal. I don’t think any broadcaster has yet grasped the implications of a two-screen merger.”
One of the main problems for proponents of the single screen solution for interactive TV is - it seems - there’s no mechanism to monetise converged TV/WEB content and no one to cut a deal with because, in the UK at least, there’s no one financing larger-budget converged content projects.
Some quick facts from NMA
- By the end of 2010, an estimated 3.8m UK homes will have an internet-enabled TV
- There’s potential for new forms of converged content, but questions over who’ll fund it
- Lack of hardware and software standards is the biggest hurdle for widget developers
- Third-party advertising is currently limited on web-connected TVs but this will change within a year