The Final Frontier: mobile and the connected TV

What can mobile offer the connected TV arena?

The platform ecosystem for consumer entertainment is shifting, and mobile is becoming a core part of those experiences. Television and mobile have long been considered as separate independent industries, but this is all about to change. The television is now the final frontier for the mobile industry. The operating system players – Apple, Google and Microsoft in particular – are investing significant R&D dollars in developing solutions that can carry their platforms across to the main screen in the living room. They are incredibly well placed to do it, leveraging their significant global scale and rapid innovation cycles to bring new functionality to the TV screen. And they will use their position of strength in mobile as the “way in”, either by licencing technologies such as Airplay and Smart Glass to TV manufacturers, or more likely by convincing consumers to buy an inexpensive box (gateway) to plug into your TV HDMI.

The mobile device is no longer purely an “out of home” device. It is becoming a core part of our living room experience and there are a number of vivid examples of this today. In my mind, there are four clear cut opportunities for mobile…

1.  As sophisticated remote control devices, the mobile can offer greater functionality to help consumers discover and search for content they want to watch in a seamless manner, without disrupting the main screen viewing experience. And we can see mobile emerging as a “master controller” of the in home media and entertainment experience (e.g. Sky+ app, Sonos);

2.  As dual second screen devices, delivering complementary and value enhancing content to the viewer to build on the television experience (e.g. Zeebox). This also presents new monetisation opportunities for content providers, device platforms, operators and advertisers looking to evoke a response from their target consumer;

3.  As the drivers and originators of new content experiences;  mobile devices now carry far greater processing power than your average smart TV or set-top-box. The gaming industry has already recognised the significant value this offers, driving true dual screen experiences that originate on the mobile device, and we fully expect this to extend into television. But there are many other sources of content that can now find their way to the TV screen thanks to the economic and access barriers being far lower in a broadband world. In particular, there are opportunities for publishers, retailers and brands that I’ve commented on in previous posts;

4.  Personalisation and unique identification, two fundamental capabilities that very few platforms can offer seamlessly but that mobile has built into the core of its proposition. Whether through the SIM card on the phone or user registration on the device (e.g. Apple ID), the mobile device can act as a point of identification and authentication enabling a range of new services and functionality previously unavailable on the TV screen.

This convergence between mobile and TV could present a significant growth story for the mobile industry – entertainment and technology spend in the home far outstrips what is currently spent on mobile, and there is now an opportunity for mobile to capture a piece of this market. Operators should consider ways in which they can leverage these unique capabilities of mobile to capture a greater share of wallet in the home.

  (source: Ofcom)


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