The impact of connected television, which fuses television and the Internet, is the focus of an intense debate which has been discussed in the meeting “The present and future of connected television”, organized by the Cluster in the Audiovisual Market of Catalonia (MAC), in the city of Granollers.
The session, which is part of the Digital & Media Forum program, was moderated by Quino Fernández, new media consultant, with the participation of Geni de Vilar, product manager in the area of digital media of CCMA; Samuel Fabra, project manager of Sony; Xavier Redón, product manager of Cellnex Telecom; and Oriol Solé, CEO of Tviso.com.
It is not easy to assess the impact of connected television. It is still not a single, consolidated device, although some experts predict that in a few years it will play a central role in content distribution and viewing practices. In fact, according to data presented by Quino Fernandez and Samuel Fabra, the acquisition rate of connected TV´s is rising (34% of the Spainish population have one). Even though it still does not represent a significant level of popularity (in France up to 60% of the population have one) and despite the fact that few device users connect it to the Internet (only 44% use connectivity, which results in only 17% of the population using fully connected TV), it is predicted that its use will reach broader European levels.
Data from TV3 is also revealing: According to Geni Vilar, 48% of the consumption of TV3 digital products is through mobile and tablet use (this proportion is constantly growing), while 44% is on computers, and 8% is on connected TV.
Given this situation, Quino Fernandez said that the situation of connected television is still unclear. “There is an overflow of devices that baffle the user. Just as we saw six years ago with mobiles or twenty years ago in the case of television, people do not know what to buy.” Furthermore, Geni de Vilar (CCMA) stated that, from the perspective of television stations such as TV3, a lack of standards hinders the development of applications and services. “Suppliers are not making it easy,” he said. Samuel Fabra then alluded that Sony has for some time been promising to manufacture a type of device that fully integrates HbbTV (Hybrid broadcast broadband TV), a European technological standard that allows for the sychronization of all devices and that, according to the speakers, should be the primary method of accessing online content through the TV.
In this vein, Xavier Redón (Cellnex Telecom) focussed on the evolution of HbbTV in recent years, in which it included increasingly more features and entered into more European countries. He also presented, some examples of the varied uses of HbbTV in Europe, where applications for children, TV shows, sports scores, weather data, games, etc. are featured Finally, Redón warned that one of the reasons that HbbTV is still not widely known in Spain is among other things, the absence of advertising.
From the perspective of a firm based strictly on Internet activity, Oriol Solé, CEO of a firm specialized in the cataloguing and personalized managing of audio-visual content (Tviso.com), warned that it is still too early to be sure about the user behaviour related to connected television and its interaction with other devices, especially given that the more traditional use of TV is not likely to disappear.
Accordingly, Geni de Vilar indicated that TV3´s best bet for the future is based on the full adaptation of content to the user’s needs through a multi-deviced and personalized experience. That is, it is committed to a range of content that always considers each type of device in relation to the specific situation of the user (such as being in the subway on the way of work, or at home at night, etc.) The product manager in the area of digital media CCMA also concluded that, in any case, one of the biggest challenges of this model of user experience is, and will be, to monetize the content itself.