UK NMA on Connected TV - Single Screen Lagging Behind Two Screen Solutions

written by: Richard Kastelein

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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 - 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.

There's much more at NMA - head over and have a read - it's great stuff and a well researched piece by freelancer Adrian Pennington.

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

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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