As attendees to the Smart TV Summit in San Jose last week learned, it is estimated that by the end of 2015 there will be 350 million computer-driven, Internet-connected televisions in the world.
Even if these estimates are off by 20%, it will still be an enormous number and will likely have extraordinary impact on the media and marketing industry. Today, for fun, I have created my list of the Top 10 consequences of there being 350 million connected TVs in the world in 2015. Here they are:
1. More TV viewing. Nielsen just told us that live viewing of TV in the U.S . grew once again in Q1 2011 over Q1 2010. Imagine what the numbers are for all TV device usage if you include Netflix, gaming, and over-the-top web video viewing? Connectivity and computational power means more content choices and a more robust experience. That means more TV.
2. Video becomes app-packaged. Just as we have seen content and services become "app-packaged" for delivery on smart phones and connected tablets, so too will we see video become app-packaged on smart, connected TVs. Much of our TV channel paradigm will give way to TV apps.
3. Consumer electronics companies race to become the Apples and Googles of TV. Consumer electronics companies like Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Roku, Microsoft, TiVo and many others will try to emulate what Apple has done in smartphones and tablets and what Google has done on the Web.
4. A la carte programming will pressure the business models of cable and satellite companies. If you're in the business of bundling dozens or hundreds of networks for packaged subscription sale, the inevitable emergence of a la carte programming -- HBO Go, ESPN 360, MLB.com, Hulu, YouTube, etc -- will create enormous pressure on companies that depend on consumers buying the entire package. The cable companies are already developing stand-alone offerings.
5. Not enough quality video content. As carriers, devices and networks scale up to serve more video content and services to connected TV users, producers of quality, branded content will find it a seller's market. They will find more buyers than they can serve, and lots of control over margins and pricing.
6. Companion Web services to video viewing. Unlike phones and tablets, TVs have enough screen space to support multiple simultaneous services at once. Anticipate a future where we're watching a prime-time show, viewing tweets from our friends and getting GiltCity offers all at once.
7. Less desktop screen use, which will mean more use of other screens. I am with Steve Jobs on this one. The personal computer as we know it is going to be demoted. People will spend less of their time with computers. TV screens, along with smartphones and tablets, will be promoted. People will spend much more time with them.
8. More device coordination. With the largest screens in the household now connected, we can expect much more coordination of services among the devices. Smartphones and tablets will become remote controls. TVs might become video phones (yes, I know Ma Bell started promising us this one 40 years ago, to no avail).
9. TV swallows set-top boxes. The set-top box -- the bastion of cable company control -- may move into the TV, and programming subscriptions may become just another app, like Netflix is today. At the same time, we may see new set-top boxes -- maybe in our phones or tables? -that will fight for control of the consumer video interface.
10. Disruption to all in the TV and video entertainment industry. The one certain consequence of a world with 350 million connected TVs is that every single company in all industries touching TV and video entertainment will be disrupted. Either they find a way to thrive in this world, or they will not survive.
What do you think? What will a world of 350 million connected TVs look like?