TV Viewing HAS NOT Changed – The Gap Filling Has!


We have yet another set of statistics that declare the living room TV Viewing habits are changing.  Let us look at this from another perspective:  I would put it to you that it is not TV Viewing that has changed it is human habits that arhave changed due to the advent of ‘New Technologies’.  If you were to take away the smart-phones and tablets from a TV centric family (as I have done at home recently) you will see that the TV viewing on the BIG Screen once again takes principle place.  Not book-reading, or board-game-playing but TV, and it quickly becomes a fight for the remote control with unhappy, sulky members of the family who are not interested in what the others are viewing….however we noticed that slowly but surely a migration back to sitting as a group with sharing-as-a-group takes place and an agreement to share what is on the TV, as it did in the time before these other access devices entrered the fray.  As a family we searched for common-content that all the family could get a little something from, be it a documentary, a film or even a cartoon that pleased everyone .  We became part of our children’s TV world and they ours, once again.  We also adhered to the ratings and respected the different viewing options based on quality of content – NO MORE VIOLENT, SEX RIDDLED,  TRASHY OR STOOPID content.  It was a pleasant and fulfilling exercise.  During the ads we went to the loo, talked and did what we always used to do during the Ad breaks – Watched some Ads and not others… (BTW Ads do not require ‘viewing only’ for them to have effect – the audio part subcontiously enters the brain even if you are not watching!).

Allowing the phones back instantly became the new distraction thus proving that easy access to communication (messaging), access to fun & stupid videos (via the internet) and access to ‘work and private’ emails urghhh, highlighted a penchant for instant gratification and removed the need to ‘work to find common-TV Centric ground’ and once again enabled what we call ‘gap-filling’ .  Each to their own simplistic and shallow needs.  The IAB piece on chaging TV Viewing Habits IAB Article states the following:

extract: For example, the incidence of checking emails is consistent during TV programmes and ad breaks (both 34 per cent) whilst texting or Instant Messaging is only 1 per cent higher during the ad break than the programme. The device tracking showed, overall, there was actually more online activity per minute during a programme than an ad break.

The information in the article is not startling and supports the findings of the experiment we carried out at home . It shows that if the viewer is not fully engaged with the programme they will still feel the need to do something else.  We saw distraction in the form of speaking and fidgeting or leaving the couch when the TV show did not fully delight a particular family member.  So what does that tell us?  It only tells us that TV is all about engaging the viewer as much as possible.  It has never been that we all sat avidly from start to finish without some form of mental distraction, UNLESS it was a TOTALLY compelling content from beginning to end.

In the old days we had a lot less content to choose from and it was a lot less ‘same-same’, as it is now in the world of 24 Hour channel stuffing. It is not TV Viewing that has changed it is the enablement of filling the ‘distraction time’ without having to get up and do something else and it is the masses of same-same stuff on TV that drives people to look for fresh and exciting, different content elsewhere, which makes the stats skewed.  The people surveyed must have been sat in front of the BIG Screen for those statistics to have been gathered…The only difference is from yesteryear to today we have technology that has made it simple to ‘visit another place’ for instant gratification. The dwindling ‘attention span’ is bad content and boredom, no matter how minor, leads to ‘gap filling’.

And to finish: The Kettle Surge moment, written in the article, is also a just sign of the developing times – We have much more efficient coffe machines and probably hear the sound of corks popping much more, as NESPRESSO and WINE has replaced the TEA drinking of yesteryear. LOL.

 

 

UBER BE SCARED: Ordering a Taxi on Television


OpenMaps liftago-taxi-1-thumb

UBER BE SCARED –  It appears that you have a new competitor – The wonderful world of HBBTV has delivered its latest ‘App’ and it may rock the Taxi App World of the Smart-Phone … I cannot imagine when you might be watching TV and suddenly think – I will order a Taxi ! … Well the Czech Republic thinks so.  Good luck with that!

CONTENT IS STILL ALL THE YESTERDAYS OF TOMORROW’S TV


This Was TV Yesterday-2Once upon a time we switched on the TV and watched a programme or two, in the evening after we had tea, when the kids were in bed and it was time to settle down to relax.  TV Time was limited as the TV signal would shut down at night and eight-year-old Carole Hersee would appear (in the UK at least).  We had a choice amongst Light Entertainment and Drama, Documentaries, News and Sport all chosen for us and delivered when somebody else thought best.

Life is a little different now because: 

Today we want TV at Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere and we want to watch What We Want, When We Want, Where We Want. We want to watch Live TV, with the use of Pause and Rewind Live TV.  And if we miss missed the beginning of something we need Start Over TV so that we can go back to the beginning of the programme that we have joined late.  We need Catch-Up TV for shows we have missed.  We need to Store Live TV programmes for later viewing on a Hard Drive (Personal Video Recorder) or a Removable Storage device with the possibility of using Series Recording for Binge Watching. We also want to be able to Side Load content onto a Companion Device to consume later when in the garden, or perhaps travelling on a bus or train.   We want a Whole Home PVR system or Network PVR so that we can have Follow Me TV that allows us to start watching in one room and then take the content into another room and join it from where we left off in the other room.  We want Companion Screen driven TV Everywhere so we can Throw and Fetch programmes from those devices to different screens in the home.   We want Over The Top TV so we can have non-Linear content and not be restricted to a Schedule.  We want Interactive TV with Applications that allow us access to Weather, or Horoscope or Games and a lot of other stuff all delivered over the Cloud and Home Network.  We want to be able to Search for, and Recommend content to other people on Social Media.  We don’t want this on a STB or CPE we want all of this on a Smart or Connected TV, in 3D or Ultra HD 4K or perhaps Super Ultra HD 8K.  We need it in High Dynamic Range, so that we get the best quality on a Curved OLED, millimetre thick, Flatscreen TV:  24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, 365 Days of the Year completely uninterrupted.

TV Content has however NOT broken the boundaries that technology has.  Geo-Blocking, Distribution Rights, Landing Rights, Syndication, Franchising and all that shenanigans is hindering and hampering not helping, other than to further slow the transformation of TV – Perhaps that is a good thing?

People are the Problem in Connected TV, Companion Screen TV, NOT the Technology


Fluxx Connected TV White Paper (link below) is a supposed guide that explains how the industry can solve the Connected-Companion Screen buiness.  Page 18 highlights exactly why there is a problem and does not give a credible solution, it merely points out technologies and what technology punters need to marry, fix or invent.   For example the IPG – OK an IPG and Search – Which IPG, Which Search Engine there are lots of them and they are all different and they all claim to do the job!  The UI/UX has been the fight of 2011 with NDS, TIVO, Inview, Espial, and many others all claiming they have the best system.    A one size fits all is what is needed – harmonised, standardised system…but human beings will never allow that to happen.  You can have any colour you want sir as long as it is black! Hahah!

I have been in Interactive Digital TV since 2000 and the Future of TV has little to do with the TV technology industry but more to do with the people working in this industry and their inate inability to work together for the good of the industry and the consumer.  I have seen many a company representative overly complicate initiatives, work negatively in consortia so that initiatives fail, create situations that inhibit harmonisation, becasue they have a proprietary solution or preferred partner that they want to sell ahead of all others…and I have seen corporations get greedy when it comes to IPR and obtaining their slice of the pie to the detriment of these harmonisation initiatives.  All the available technologies are iready for today’s successful interactive, 2nd screen market,  however people are unable to make it happen.  CE Manufaturers want to go it alone, Broadcasters want to go it alone, Operators want to control it all, Vendors believe they have the winning technology,  Programme makers and Advertisers are lcaught in the quagmire of technology gurus all claiming they have the answer.

The Interactive Companion Screen jigsaw is being put together by people who are blinkered by their company loyalty.  Only an independent, neutral technology body could ever harmonise the future of TV.  If we can align the people we can create the environment and head in the right direction with the right technology.  The latest round of attempts with Tablets and Smart-phones interactivity are failing miserably as everyone invents a new mousetrap and the interactive TV mess repeats itself once again…this is one phrase fluxx managed to get spot on.

What is likely to happen is that a dominat force a lot like Apple  will be selected over all others as happened in the digital Music industry download debacle.  However it may be someone unexpected such as Intel Media who are gathering the right minds to put the right strategy together for this particularly complex subject.

http://fluxx.uk.com/2013/03/why-the-connected-experience-revolution-is-yet-to-be-televised/

Playing into the CFOs hands with Quantifiable Digital Marketing – ROI


Playing into the CFOs Hands with Quantifiable Digital Marketing – ROI

People are hailing ‘Digital Marketing’ as the new paradigm for Marcomms.  The inevitable search for quantifiable marketing results in companies that want to make sense of their marketing spend is clear.  I will however argue that Digital Marketing has already started to ‘expose’ the marketing theories of the world’s digital marketing gurus and the plethora of Social Media experts who are committing to it with all of their might, even boldly claiming Traditional Marketing is dead!   They are  merely all shooting themselves in the foot because the truth about marketing ROI is perhaps best left buried under the carpet.  Sometimes it is better not to ask for quantifiable results because you may soon find out that you are exposing yourself to unwanted CFO scrutiny, followed by budget slashing and potential job loss.  When it comes to tangibles in finance nearly ALL  CFOs are heartless and cold towards the world of Marketing (a certain intangible).  With measurement comes accountability and as such you are all playing into the CFOs hands with your fabulous Marketing ROI claims.   Cutting the marketing budget is the first thing that happens when Revenue drops n’est ce pas, fighting for marketing budget each year is an uphill battle isn’t it?  I have read many an article on the work lifespan of a modern CMO,  which is now, on average, 2 years,…why?  Perhaps it is due to modern marketing accountability!

In this saturated digital media world the majority of digital marketing campaigns fall on stony ground.  OK some will be successful but the % is tiny…ROI is generally negative.  Studies of Facebook campaigns and  ‘Likes’ highlights this and it is only the tip of the iceberg.  If you were to use finance driven Project Indicators, Rates of Return,  NPV, IRR and Payback calculations in Marketing you would soon stop all projects before they start. ( The PI > 1).

Digital Marketing can be equated to our attempts at the introduction of Digital Interactive Television – i.e. Not many people really cared and did not click on the buttons as we first expected.  I suggest that the ‘new’ Social Media gurus do a psychology and sociology course as part of any marketing course in order to understand human beings.  Why?  Because people are actually NOT interested in this ‘engagement’ aspect in the main, as you are interfering with the task in hand (Surfing the web, looking for something, facebooking, blogging etc.).  In digital TV we were/are able to monitor, gathering deep information from this Digital system long before it was called Social TV.  Analytics was our new business, or was it?   We actually buried the results across the industry (still do) because whilst it is obviously the way we are all heading in Digital Media it is unjustifiable in terms of spend.  Yes it will grow, change,  and we will see positivity but not for many years to come.  Interactivity/Engagement = Perseverance and Re-Education (Changing Habits).

What people fail to understand is the bigger picture in Marketing.   The fundamentals of any Corporate Marketing initiative is ‘Presence’ and that should embrace both Traditional and Digital Marketing.   Traditional message generation or Brand Exposure is only a brainwashing of the masses who are in general doing ‘other things’ when you offer up your Brand.  Making them engage when they are in Facebook is not what you should be trying as it is distracting from the fun of Facebook so the mental state of the recipient is not tuned in.   The need for ‘presence’ in the market is paramount and a marketing cornerstone for all the marketing mix.   So what if 1000 people click on your Ad, so what if a 1000 people send a tweet does it really matter?  It is only a miniscule  % of the amount of people who have probably consciously and subconsciously  registered your ‘presence’ without interaction,  which therefore does not mean that you have failed in your campaign.  It does however if you do the math’s.

Here is something you can convince the CFO to do as a Marketing ROI exercise – Stop your Traditional Marketing and see where you head – I know that your  Company will suffer and lose market share, possibly fold and collapse.  Presence is primordial!  I  also suggest that Social Media gurus work in Companies where ONLY Digital Marketing is done to see how long they last…I furthermore suggest that they stop telling us that Traditional Marketing is dead because they do not know what they are talking about!

The VCR/PVR was supposed to kill advertising … it didn’t!  TV killed the radio star… it didn’t!   Just remember this: Web Pop Ups which annoyed people so much and disappeared were the sign that Digital Marketing is in the main an interruptive, distracting nuisance that is heavily ignored.   All Digital Ads are just a new form of  popups that I have called Popins.  Uninvited guests!

HbbTV Needs to Up Its Game If It Wants To Win!


There is many a debate (especially on the TV Forums of LinkedIn) surrounding the Interactive TV Specification of HbbTV.  Many people are already hailing its success due to the fact that it has been selected in a handful of countries with interest and deployment growing elsewhere.  Even the DTG in the UK has added an HbbTV profile to its D-Book Spec.

Like Docsis versus the DVB-Return Channel specification the industry driven HbbTV spec has beaten a DVB consortium developed product.  Notably the same supporting Companies are in both camps in order to hedge their bets.  Actually  they are merely choosing sides and subversively working against the specification that they do not actually support as a business?  I have, in the past complained about this act to no avail.  I have also highlighted this issue of fragmentation at SDO level, to no avail, especially as the world of TV and Broadband collide!  No organization (i.e EU/EC) has evoked any initiatives around the need to  ‘merge’ these disparitive groups in order to harmonise all the work, thus avoiding, in the main, huge Corporate wastage of effort and manpower.  Millions upon millions of dollars are spent in duplicated tracks of work.  We live with it.   The DVB and OIPF/HbbTV divergence will possibly cause more fragmentation than is necessary despite liaison between the groups.  The DVB must address this issue quickly in order to help the market roll-out of this homogenised interactive system for DVB networks – Perhaps it is too late for that?  Docsis managed to be successful without the DVB, so was CI+ until it was pulled back in to the consortium.  Has a precedence been set?

I was an evangelist for MHP in those heady days, which now bear a striking resemblance to the HbbTV rollout. I am still a firm believer in Interactive Value Added Services for the viewer and therefore it is good that HbbTV appears to be growing in stature. I said it is moving ahead in the same way as MHP did 10+ years ago i.e. a disparitive smattering of Countries, Channels, Broadcasters, Operators – Many, Many Tech suppliers – a further smattering of Content Developers and several all encompassing HbbTV experts such as HTTV in France.

However like the MHP initiative there is no cohesive nation-wide plan in any country despite what others may think; nor any EU mandate (nor will they ever mandate anything in this area now the market has reached such massive digital fragmentation) – the digital Interactive TV horse has truly bolted!  This may cause a problem for HbbTV to become a true nationwide or global standard.

As I have also previously highlighted the very nature of TV software evolution (HTML5, Companion Screen, Second Screen, Zeebox,  SaaS technology etc.) and the margin fueled business of high volume selling at retail i.e. Zappers and alternative solutions (Hulu, Netflix, AppleTV and all the varieties of Connected TV, WebTV and the Toys-R-Us channel type offerings) it may take longer for it to be fully mainstream in Retail…

However for the first time it has a larger ‘Broadcaster’ following than any other previous standard. The EBU is firmly behind it. The markets are the problem. Where there is an incumbent like the lonely MHP in Italy, change will take longer, but there will be change; it is inevitable!  Unification with a forward drive at a higher level is required.  Someone needs to really drive it forward but NOT as a technology; which is the present modus operandi!  One of the biggest problems of HbbTV is that  after tens of years of experience, we know full well that selling Technology Acronyms for the Interactive TV business to Consumers – DOES NOT WORK. Even MHEG5 and OpenTV in Sky were converted to “Red Button” to make it consumer palatable. HbbTV needs to do the same for it to go truly mainstream before it becomes outmoded especially ‘vis-à-vis’ the general public who are used to ‘new services’ each 6 months. If HbbTV wants to win as a mainstream universal technology it has to up its game.