LAS VEGAS - While plenty of
consumer electronics products continue to be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show, what they mean for marketers can still be a mystery.
The lack of media and marketing vision can be a
problem, says John Muszynski, chief investment officer for Starcom MediaVest Group’s Spark Communications. Marketers want to know how products can make for better communications and
That said, he readily admits: “This isn’t an advertising forum -- this is CES.” Still, Shazam, the music identification mobile app, was one of the few CES
exhibitors that did stand out in this area. “They give you ideas for how they would help marketers,” Muszynski says.
Chris Boothe, CEO of Spark, gave high marks for some new
place-based advertising platforms, such as Qualcomm efforts at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium.
For example, season ticket holders can be alerted with certain messages on smartphones --
everything from deals on food, jerseys and products to alerts on where shorter concession stands and in-stadium stores lines are available.
CES product manufacturers at the big Las Vegas
event continue to inch forward on connectivity -- everything from refrigerators that can talk to your smartphones to Bluetooth toothbrushes.
But for the most part, Irwin Gotlieb, global
chairman of Group M, who led a CES tour, noted that one key missing ingredient is in looking at the bigger picture: “What are the implications?” he asks of these products. Other companies
are just plain missing. While CES continues to attract a large crowd from a wide area of media and marketing industries, Gotlieb says two big players, Google and Apple, are nowhere to be found as CES
Key players of consumer electronics past have made big comebacks in recent years, says Gotlieb, such as Sony -- which now leads in many cutting-edge technologies, including
professional TV-film production to its state-of-the-art digital technology in movie theaters.
Many new 4K TV screens were on display at this year’s CES, including one 8K TV, which
roughly delivers eight times the quality of current HDTV sets.
But Gotlieb says current video bandwidth constraints could cause problems for these new sets -- noting, for example, that
Netflix usage can suck up to 30% of the U.S. bandwidth for just 1% of the population. He says: “4K is going to put pressure on this.”
The whole idea of a set-top box with DVR
storage capabilities are changing. For example, TiVo is offering new network DVRs -- units that can store video content for cable, satellite and telco operators, eliminating the need for many
home-based DVR units.
Jeff Klugman, executive vice president/general manager of products and revenue for TiVo, says new network DVR units can be used in many configurations, depending on
the needs of pay TV providers and their TV network programmers partners. This includes storing unique copies of content for consumers; offering an archive of TV and movie programming content; or as
the backbone for video-on-demand services; among other formats.
In talking up the product’s business prospects, Klugman says: “Ultimately, given the opportunity and given the
reduction and the need to put expensive CPE [customer-premises equipment] in the home, it will be cheaper to consolidate storage and use the cloud. Second, you can offer it to any device -- a set-top
box, a DVR, a Roku box, a smart TV, an iPad. Once you have full network DVR capability, you have a whole home multiscreen solution.”