Five ways to capture TV audiences in the era of connected TV

As accessing online content becomes easier, TV audiences become harder to reach.

Time spent watching connected TV content is on the rise, with new figures showing that Netflix is now the 15th most watched channel in the US, and that over an hour of content is being watched each day. This trend is only set to accelerate when Internet-enabled TVs find their way into the majority of people’s homes.

We must qualify this by saying that most people will not completely abandon traditional TV for a while (Magnaglobal predicts that 9% will do so by 2015);  and as such a nascent industry, the connected TV space currently lacks both the reach and the infrastructure to make it worth spending a lot of time and money on. Nevertheless, for the forward-thinking marketer, it is absolutely time to experiment. Here are five ideas:

1. Games consoles

Games console devices currently account for more than 85% of Netflix viewing. Xbox is determined to maintain this advantage by expanding its content offering through a host of new content partnerships. Meanwhile Xbox is developing some very appealing marketing opportunities which include in-app pre-roll, exclusive brand apps which live on its interface, and NUAds which, through Kinect, add a layer of gesture and voice interactivity to a standard 30” spot.

2. Connected TV Ads

Rovi is leading the charge to create ad networks across the connected TV interfaces for different manufacturers. Rovi currently has deals with Sony and Samsung, and has Panasonic, LG and Vizio lined up for sometime this year. Display ads on the interface lead to a custom microsite that Rovi will build for you. Social “likes”, lead generation and click-to-buy functionality are also on Rovi’s roadmap.

You can also reach Samsung connected TV viewers through in-app video ads on the Smart Hub, Samsung’s own embedded app system. This will include the opportunity to run these ads in 3D within Samsung’s growing portfolio of 3D content.

3. Expand your notion of TV

TV content is being consumed across devices – and those devices are proliferating at an incredible rate, according to research from Pew showing that 1-in-5 Americans now own a tablet. You can take a three-screen approach with Yume, a video ad network, which has expanded its footprint into connected TV, with a (to-date) exclusive arrangement with LG to serve video ads on its connected TV interface. Yume also has a new deal to sell video ads on the Samsung interface, which is backed by a $12M investment from the manufacturer.

Tidal TV is another video ad network moving into the space with a deal to monetize the Roku connected TV platform.


4. Content!

Content is definitely an advantage in this space given that creating your own branded TV channel is now as easy as creating an app. Even though Google TV is focused on expanding its footprint through new partnerships with Samsung, Vizio, Sony, and LG this year, with monetization not the priority just yet, some brands have already made their way onto the platform, such as Kraft with its Cooking School app.



5. Social games

Some brands have found success in the well-toiled farmlands of certain social games, which offer the kind of mass reach once the preserve of the TV. Zynga games have arguably “stolen” the daytime TV audience, proving to be a more compelling proposition than the traditional soap opera, which has been somewhat killed as a result.  We may however soon see this audience migrating back to the TV as social gaming apps become available. Zynga’s Texas Hold’em Poker is  already available on Google TV, with more Zynga franchises sure to follow.