The Web is Dead. TV Apps on the Rise?

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Studies are showing that more and more... people are spending time using the Internet - but without a browser as the  digital world makes the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display. Our machine-to-machine future will be less about browsing and more about getting... and how will TV applications and the Connected TV fit into this emerging forecast? My feeling is, it will be huge. Sure... Tablet and mobile apps have been a raging success, but TV is the last great frontier for the Apps World.

It is estimated that some 4.5 billion people across the planet have access to TV.  That's 75 per cent of the planet. And statistics in the UK show that TV remains the dominant medium for all adults in terms of average hours consumed per day (3.7) and has a weekly reach of 98 per cent - for example.

American research shows very strong TV numbers:

Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99
Number of TV sets in the average U.S. household: 2.24
Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66
Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
Value of that time assuming an average wage of S5/hour: S1.25 trillion
Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56
Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
Total spending by 100 leading TV advertisers in 1993: $15 billion

Chris Anderson writes at Wired in his latest, and brilliant article, the Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet:

It’s driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it’s a world Google can’t crawl, one where HTML doesn’t rule. And it’s the world that consumers are increasingly choosing, not because they’re rejecting the idea of the Web but because these dedicated platforms often just work better or fit better into their lives (the screen comes to them, they don’t have to go to the screen). The fact that it’s easier for companies to make money on these platforms only cements the trend. Producers and consumers agree: The Web is not the culmination of the digital revolution.

...The Web is, after all, just one of many applications that exist on the Internet, which uses the IP and TCP protocols to move packets around. This architecture — not the specific applications built on top of it — is the revolution.

...Today the content you see in your browser — largely HTML data delivered via the http protocol on port 80 — accounts for less than a quarter of the traffic on the Internet … and it’s shrinking.

Futurist Dan Burrus has also tapped apps as becoming more part of the fabric of our daily lives in the near future noting the app revolution:

Realize that apps represent a major tectonic revolution in hardware and software. We went from servers, mainframes, and terminals to having our own desktops and PCs to having our own laptops.

See full image here.

How many of you, like me, use TweetDeck to organize your Twitter feeds because it’s more convenient than the Twitter Web page? That's the best example in my digital world where an App has replaced the web in a profound way.

TV is ripe for change. Google is banking on making the web smarter for TV rather than dumbing it down with Apps and Widgets. And it starts with HTML5 — the latest version of Web-building code that offers applike flexibility because — if a standard Web browser can act like an app,  their proposal for Google TV has some wheels as it's true web and TV integration. And it's truly open source. Android will also play a large role in their proposal. 

The other take - as most are following (Yahoo, Samsung, Apple etc.) is to simply utilize the internet to gather data, rather than integrate with the web - and Internet Connected TV is perhaps the most sensible lexicon to use - as they simply use the pipes to access databases, via custom built widgets... rather than truly integrate with the web and allow for surfing etc.

In support of the controlled SDK and API open models (Yahoo, Samsung, Apple etc.), rather than the full blown Open Source strategy (Google TV), Anderson writes:

"Openness is a wonderful thing in the nonmonetary economy of peer production. But eventually our tolerance for the delirious chaos of infinite competition finds its limits. Much as we love freedom and choice, we also love things that just work, reliably and seamlessly."

"The story of industrial revolutions, after all, is a story of battles over control. A technology is invented, it spreads, a thousand flowers bloom, and then someone finds a way to own it, locking out others. It happens every time."

The big screen in the living room and the smaller screens in the bedrooms will be the battleground for the next chapter of the digital frontier. There's simply too much reach and an enormous amount of money involved for it to remain dumb, passive and wrapped in the walled gardens where broadcast TV sits today... planted in their patch of artificial scarcity.

Last note from a thoughtful article and analysis at Mediapost from Diane Mermigas:

The networks as content distributors and producers are being disintermediated at every turn by the plethora of video options and access. Consumer response to evolving video alternatives from Apple, Google, Netflix, TiVo, Vudu, Amazon Video, Boxee, Roku, etc. continue to reset the rules of play. In the months ahead, more potent alliances will occur among service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, advertising and content managers, and premium video producers and distributors to supercharge connectivity - especially at home.

Many points of contention remain, such as: Who controls the all-important user interface? How will advertising be creatively and economically reinvented? How will personalized functionality (including social text and video, target marketing and commerce, maps and calendars) be integrated?

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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