It’s amazing to see the changes that have occurred in the TV industry. Just a few years ago we were evangelizing a plethora of new methodologies and platforms that had just started picking up steam with buzzwords flying off our tongues quicker than most people skip through a slow commercial. Social TV since then has seen some amazing integrations, Broadcast interactivity can be found across the multiscreen space, and smart TV has seen some pickup as far as novel Apps, advertising, and consumer adoption are concerned.
That said, with all of the developments and evolutions, there is also a deep lacking. Many crucial developments have fallen by the wayside due to a poor understanding of consumer behavior, R&D work that has been poorly orchestrated, business driven initiatives that have superseded audience driven initiatives and failure to properly position new endeavors to both the industry and consumers.
This week my firm launched a new division called Emerging Insider Communications focused solely on the emerging TV space to help launch, brand, position and bring to market new TV products and services from established organizations, as well as innovative startups in the space. Our reason was simple. There is an amazing amount of potential in the space, and we want to see new initiatives skyrocket, but before that is possible there are some barriers to overcome. Today, I am going to keep this focused strictly on Research and Development.
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The emerging television marketplace is filled with some excellent research as far as consumer adoption is concerned, as well as some as limited angles of audience behavior. BUT….
Don’t: Rely on just part of the picture. We simply don’t have the stats and understanding about what it is that audiences actually want and want specifically drives their actions. As an industry we need to be able to better pinpoint the motivations, drivers and deep behaviors that can be enabled by emerging media. To rely on particles and pieces of underdeveloped research holds back true innovation that leverages full insights. We need to stop throwing darts at individual emerging technologies and discover how we can tie new behaviors and possibilities into cohesive experiences with a high level of predicative analysis for future trends.
DO: We need deep psychological research dives to understand how to tie so many fragmented possibilities/platforms/services into one audience driven journey that is not an eight headed hydra. What specifically compels one user to multitask while another wants to engage in a correlated viewing experience? What are the psychological effects of social TV enadeavors on programming/advertising recall and retention? Most importantly, what is it that audiences actually want to interact with?
Multiscreen/2nd Screen Apps: Most of the “2nd screen” apps on the market came in with a roar and are existing with a nothing more than a whimper. It’s been discussed, but trying to create the next big social platform on an app that exists solely to correlate to television will always get destroyed by the bigger platforms (twitter, Facebook) that have larger mass functionalities and focuses
Don’t: Keep sticking with the same failing models and trying to reinvigorate them with baseless bells and whistles. It’s time to abandon these models and create functionality that audiences actually want. Stop with the check-ins, stop trying to create social platforms that are strictly relegated to TV, stop with the TV chat rooms, reward gimmicks and low functionality items that don’t drive forward the entertainment experience.
Do : Create ways that television can become an even more riveting entertainment experience for it’s audiences. Immersive gamification is an amazing example of transcending and elevating the experience. Same with new expressions of deep transmedia experiences that could parlay the best of all digital screens. We have the technology and methodology to craft Interactive functionalities that allow the user to control, steer and drive their own personalized experiences. These is where TV must head.
Don’t: Look at social TV as a layer to add onto television after production. Crafting Social TV endeavors must run far deeper than most current integrations. Enabling hashtags, launching tweets on screen, crafting social side conversations. These are minor functionalities. They have their place, but that place is a small.
Do: Create Social experiences from the ground level up. The bigger game is crafting digital social TV integrations at all levels of the production process and not just as an afterthought. This would be truly Social TV.
Don’t: Replicate the experiences of Mobile, tablets, and computers and just launch on a larger screen. While connected TV may have some issues with items such as navigation and clunky-ness, the biggest lacking is in novel experiences that users can’t get elsewhere. Launching an App that mimics a tablet is a not going to provide this revolutionary functionality.
Do: Innovate with deference to the amazing possibilities a huge screen in the middle of social space can encompass. Innovate to create in-person living room socialization, innovate to create amazing new experiences that leverage the power of that massive screen. Mobile and Tablets are personal, but the TV set, can be used/played with/watched/ and engaged with as a group. This is where it’s power lies.