Envisioning the TV of tomorrow is like sending a Delorean back to 1955. Two different worlds collide and live delicately together. But will the course of TV be dramatically altered if it keeps running into digital at the malt shop? Will digital ever make it back to present day in one piece? If we only had a simplified flux-capacitor to use, I think it could.
At a recent TV of Tomorrow conference, one of the more exciting conversations was centered on the adoption of HTML5. HTML5’s promise is similar to that of a superhero’s (just look at the logo it has adopted). But the realistic benefits of adoption from the multiple system operators (MSOs) to the content providers and hardware creators are incredible. It’s an opportunity to unite what’s possible online with the power of the TV screen. Think about the power of using standards for video delivery, data storage and recovery, dynamic video creative and, of course, measurement. Combined, this will help create scale, inspire more innovative formats and improve measurement reliability for advertisers across screens.
Content providers like NBC Universal are rapidly creating apps built on HTML5. From online video players to mobile applications, the same technologies and systems can be leveraged to keep a consistent user experience and maintain measurability across platforms. Comcast and Time Warner also both recently revealed roadmaps to integrate HTML5 into their set top boxes (STBs). Digital ad technology providers are able to quickly integrate into HTML5 environments to help manage ad campaigns cross-screen. If the same technology is available on a Connected TV or STB, then the same ad delivery and measurability mechanisms translate over from online.
But there are dangers in moving everything we do online onto TVs. How ads are presented, how users interact with ads and how advertisers value ads would all change. Will advertisers still place more value on reach and program ratings versus targeting audiences based on more reliable addressability? Will ad formats just be a banner ad on TV like current requests for information (RFIs)? Let’s hope not.
This brings me to a similar subject: the cross-screen app marketplace. A single login lets users access app content from anywhere. I love this concept, and marketers should love it too. The app marketplace structure opens doors to device fingerprinting and an increasingly fine-tuned cross-screen measurement approach for a single consumer/viewer. Plus, Samsung, LG and Apple will all offer devices with app marketplaces soon enough. Technologies like Shazam and zeebox take this a step further, allowing marketers to see how and when consumers are engaged with brands on each device and which consumers are advancing the “conversation.”
Dynamic creative optimization will also change the way we think about TV today. The app marketplace generates great user data that will help shape the television ads of tomorrow. Using dynamic video creation powered by advertiser data, we can bring true relevance to consumers like we’ve done online. Great storytelling that elicits emotion from consumers will always be important to great advertising. But, if we can personalize that story to reach another level of engagement, that will be truly valuable.
The TV of tomorrow will unite consumers with engaging and data-driven ad content, give digital marketers truly measurable results, and connect us across multiple platforms. For brand advertisers, homepage takeovers will become a thing of the past as TVs advance. What we’re in store for is a complete home takeover.