Commentary

Samba and Bravia Make A Good OTT Couple

Samba TV wants to be at the intersection of two mushrooming trends—SmartTV  content apps and second screen companion usage, and consumers will see that strategy at work in a new alliance with Sony, offering new apps on Sony Bravia sets and and Blu-ray devices.

That creates a much larger Samba universe that already operates on some  30 million devices worldwide.   “That’s a very large footprint for us,” says Ashwin Navin, the CEO at Samba, which was formerly called Flingo. “We married a lot our tech with theirs,” which wasn’t so easy because they are all Sony products, each of them presented separate technical challenges  for Samba. The integration took about two years to get together.      

The most ad relevant part of the deal, actually announced Wednesday, is that Samba arrangement allows streaming of  additional  advertising material about a product you’re seeing on your “first” screen to reach the other one—like the tablet or iPhone where you’ve been browsing through some altogether different site.  See a movie trailer on one screen—get the showtimes on the other.  That’s the pitch.  Some 75%-%85 of viewers are also preoccupied with a second screen at the same time, so they’re out  there.

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But just as big is that Navin thinks the Samba TV and Bravia Internet  Video will “significantly increase the number of  content developers on their platform, and sponsorship on the content providers’ channel. “  He’s expecting  an increase in excess of 75 providers on Sony devices.  Apps from TVGuide and TMZ and others, including Vimeo, College Humor, Fox and A&E that are part of Samba TV’s Launchpad.

The apps themselves are free to consumers, paid for through sponsorships with a slew of brands like American Express, Home Depot, McDonald’s and Nike.

Navin, not surprisingly, is an executive  who thinks the key to OTT and Smart TV is really its second screen applications.  “That’s what will separate OTT from traditional TV,” because he reasons, it’s more important to get advertisers excited about OTT’s sales possibilities; consumers are relatively easily sold on devices that give more and new ways to access content. Given Sony’s position in the OTT universe, and the coming holiday and Super Bowl seasons--when Sony would like to see Bravia sets fly off shelves, despite some dour industry predictions--the Samba connection might be timed just right.

pj@mediapost.com

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