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Last week at IFA in Berlin, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt announced that later this year Google TV will go live in the US.
This week Intel chief Paul Otellini in an interview in the Wall St. Journal said that the first Google TV devices should start shipping in September.
Apart from all the hoopla and buzz, it was this quote from Otelline that resonated for me:
“My son is probably going to go buy a Google TV, simply because it’s cool,” Intel’s leader said. “He wants to be able to do his Facebook chat and talk to his friends saying, ‘Hey, are you watching the game?’ in real time. You cannot do that on Apple TV.”
In other words, the Millennials want to integrate social media with TV. Of course they do.
And that's one disconnect I have been seeing at IBC with a number of offerings for the reinvention of TV.
"It's all about the entertainment... TV is about watching video and live entertainment, not for chatting," one vendor told me. He was baby boomer.
Meanwhile, Three Quarters of 18-24 Year-Olds Regularly Browse the Internet While Watching TV - via mobile, laptops and PCs.
And Deloitte pipes in with:
“The phenomenal pace at which social media and social networks have become entrenched within our everyday lives raises the question of their possible long-term impacts on television. The current relationship can be characterised as predominantly complementary, but limited in reach. The future relationship may be more adversarial, with advertising the battleground.
And the report suggests that the younger age groups reveal where there may be the greatest synergy between social networks and media - or essentially that this is the playground of Generation Y.
“The twin genies of social media and social networks will not be popped back into their bottle. And this means that television needs to adapt to Web 2.0’s existence, exploiting its opportunities as much as it prepares against the threats.”
Facebook and Twitter are the behemoths of Social Media online. It's where Generation Y want to play and, though it's nice to include chat and some other features in a few of the vendor's IPTV and Connected TV cases, it's not what they want. They don't want to reform their social graphs yet again.
What's even more interesting. This from the New York Times:
According to the site insidefacebook.com, the median age of a Facebook user is 26, but the fastest-growing user group is women 55 and over, up more than 175 percent since last fall. Men 55 and over are right behind, having increased almost 138 percent during the same time period.
It's not rocket science... at least according to New Scientist, who say that TV networks are to become social networks eventually.
Yet many researchers and tech analysts say the most profound change to our TV habits will come via technology that allows us to share and socialise via our screens. The winners of the battle for digital domination in our living rooms, they argue, will be those who work out how to draw on the success of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. New Scientist has spoken to some of the activists of this potential social TV revolution to get a glimpse of what will be on the box tomorrow.
Wise words from the event organizers of upcoming 2Screen in London:
We are watching more TV than at any time in the last five years. That statistic is usually followed by 'despite the rise of the Internet'. We're in the opposite camp. We believe TV viewing is increasing because of the Internet. The social web turns TV into an event, a shared experience.
At IFA in particular (a bit less at IBC) there has been so much focus on 3D despite researching showing that 3DTV Sales forecast are dwarfed by Connected TV to the tune of 27.7 million units in 2010 for Smart TVs while 3D set shipments will total only 4.2 million this year. By 2014, global connected TV shipments are anticipated to reach 148.3 million units, accounting for 54 percent of the total flat-panel TV market.”
The hype around Avatar in 3D and other major 3D blockbusters in the cinemas has undoubtedly build a fire under the CE 3D logpile, but it's a bit baffling as to all the chest beating about it - while Connected TV seemingly lies in stealth mode, as the invisible 600 pound gorilla in the room.
And not many vendors in the Connected TV arena at IBC were delving deep into social TV. Recommendation engines yes. Sure. But real Facebook integration or Twitter? Samsung with its Smart TV's yes. But the majority of the STB and OTT crowd are not getting overly creative with methods of integrating social media into their wares.
I will have more time to spend tomorrow and Sunday with exhibitors, as the first two days were chock full of seminars and meetings - and will give a more detailed analysis.
For now, let me leave you with some more wise words from Philip Bourchier O’ Ferral, Senior Vice President MTV Networks International:
The Future of TV is search, recommendation – leading to findability. And social media is the tool to do this.