TVXperience World Summary

In mid-July TVXperience World ran in a hot and sticky New York City.  The conference examined how multiscreen is influencing the evolution of the TV User Experience. It’s an important issue for telcos, cablecos, broadcasters, content producers, OTT TV providers, as well as the many device and technology vendors looking to where the money really is on the second, third, fourth and fifth screen experiences, i.e. your PC, Roku, tablet, phablet, and smartphone (collective noun for the later three being handheld computers).  This weblog has discussed the precarious position OTT TV is moving the whole TV industry over the next 5 years where a tipping point could happen quite disruptively; and shared my family’s experience on moving to OTT TV.

The following presentations stood out:

  • Daniel Danker, Shazam on TV.  Who’s that actor? What’s the recipe? How do I buy those shoes? All answered with just one click.  Shazam has 10M new users per month, and is responsible for 10% of all online music sales.  They showed how they’ve extended their engine to TV, to take viewers straight to the online content for adverts or programs.  No URLs, apps, searches, hastags, or navigation.  After this presentation I understand why Carlos Sim invested $40M in Shazam, its Google without typing for media discovery, with likely Google being the exit.
  • Jess Redniss, NBC Universal, USA Network.  Showed their multi-screen experience.  In particular for Psych and the online events they ran around the 100th episode.  They claimed using in-sync second screen app with Psych raised viewing by 25% in the 18-24 demographic.
  • Mitch Feinman, Google.  Showed Google continues to play the long game with the TV industry. TV content will all come to the internet, and they’re going to control the gateways and advertising.  Though I’m still waiting for my Chromecast to play with.  They did show some examples of adding YouTube to PayTV line-ups, using Virgin TV as an example.  Virgin has been doing this with BBC iPlayer for many years.  Google’s technology dogma of HTML5 has stopped Roku getting a YouTube channel, but that should change this year.  But there again Google is now in competition with Roku with Chromecast, so the motivation is perhaps low.
  • Bruno Pereira, TV App Agency showed North American operators are massively overpaying for their multiscreen apps.
  • Alec Iskold, GetGlue, showed we’re still a long way from correlating online activity to TV ratings, it varies quite significantly by show type.

Some of the things I found interesting from the conference were some presenters still think it’s the TV screen and then second screens when really TV is a service that runs across a number of screens.  Content remains king, some service providers were talking about their ‘Netflix-like’ offers even though there are orders of magnitude difference in the content inventory. Its the usual delusion of incumbency creates a view of the world that underestimates the impact of disruptive services.

I left thinking the UI is important, but actually the skill / opportunity is creating complementary services, like Shazam and GetGlue – the middleware battle of the core TV service is mute.  I was surprised how few of those talking about smartphone / tablet video content consumtion discussed the importance of Reddit, 9GAG and other social news sites have in driving snackTV away from YouTube, which is anyway going more mainstream with its channels and original content.  The time spent watch TV / video content continues to change and diversify, enabling individuals to get the best entertainment return on the time they have available.  The days of people complaining “there’s nothing to watch on TV” have gone, there’s always something relevant to watch wherever and whenever you have the time – supported by a diversity of business models.