According to The Nielson Co., 106.5 million people watched Super Bowl XLIV. Our kids grabbed most of their favorite Winter Olympics events on their smartphones or notebooks. With less than 100 days to futbol’s World Cup, we’re all looking forward to the South African event.

Content Insider #138 – Interactive TV

THE Insider

February 2010

Content Insider #138 – Interactive TV
TV Isn’t a Contact Sport

Author: The Insider

According to The Nielson Co., 106.5 million people watched Super Bowl XLIV.

Our kids grabbed most of their favorite Winter Olympics events on their smartphones or notebooks.

With less than 100 days to futbol’s World Cup, we’re all looking forward to the South African event.

Tons of thrills, chills, spills, action.

Lots of spectacular viewing quality; but according to the reports, we’ve responded about the same as everyone else.

Networks and stations expected us to be all over the action.

My point exactly. Goddamn rules are running this game,”George Clooney, Leatherheads (2008)


Whether it’s with the TV set, a notebook, smartphone or with the iNet, we are attached to TV viewing.

Sporting events have always driven big screen sales, and this year is no exception:

  • 115.5 mln LCD TVs to sell in 2010
  • 144 bln digital TVs will sell by 2011
  • 75% of HDTVs sold by 2011 will be LCD TVs
  • Flat panel TV spending to exceed $100 bln in 2010
  • 1080p LCD TV to generate $75.4 bln in 2011
  • 30% of cable subscribers would drop cable if shows were available over broadband
  • 78% of mobile TV users are in Asia-Pacific
  • 85% of HDTV owners are happy with picture quality

Figure 2: Digital, Flat – Almost everywhere around the globe television content is being distributed in digital high-definition. The conversion sparked flat screen set sales, sales enticed competition and competition brought us lower prices. Now manufacturers and retailers are encouraging you to have sets throughout the house. Source -- iSuppli

Big Screen Lust

What’s not to love about the big beauties ?

The new flat panel sets are testosterone pumpers…the bigger the better!

The stations and networks are also getting to like the web-based download idea.

Kids find it an excellent means of staying up with the news of the day. They also like the idea of being able to grab event highlights when they want.

Stations, networks are starting to dream of a time when they can bypass the cable/satellite folks all together.


Unfortunately, advertisers (and agencies) expected all of us to be all over the ads!

That’s right…watch the ad, immediately interact.

You know…share the ads with friends, visit the web site, Tweet with all of your followers, do your social media thing

Maybe all of the social media and advertising smoke and mirrors is just…smoke, mirrors.

Or, as Lexie said, Sorry if what I said today upset you.”

You watch the sporting events at home with a herd of friends or at the pub with other enthusiasts…it’s a social event.

Or, as Faith Popcorn, renowned futurist said, you cocoon and click in the security of your home.

You know what to expect from your TV.

Figure 3: Viewing Your Way – In the “old days,” you were happy to watch something, anything on your TV set; but with so much demand on your time and the freedoms people experience with the Internet, you want/expect more. Increasingly, consumers expect television their way…when they want, where they want, how they want. Source – Parks Assoc.

Being in Touch

None of it includes jumping online to chat with someone at the company or Twits Tweeting their joys and anguish over the iNet.

Folks are talking about great interactive TV (like a PC), but if you’re watching the stuff on your computer or smartphone, response isn’t much different.

These folks just watch stuff online.

Figure 4: Same Habits – In addition to watching more of your sports and entertainment on your TV set, people (especially the younger group) have added another screen the computer. Often, one doesn’t replace the other, it becomes additive. But whether it is combined viewing or just on the computer, the results are the same…just watching! Source -- eMarketer

In the case of the Super Bowl…in real-time.

For week-long events, like the Olympics, online (and on phone) is the only way to catch the action.

Our kid watches when (and where) he wants, so he doesn’t miss the snowboard and hockey events.

He’s not alone:

  • 69% of Americans think PCs are more entertaining than TV
  • 38% of US consumers watching TV shows online
  • Ad engagement for online shows is 25% higher than TV shows
  • 52% of urban males do not get enough international content on their TV

The younger generation finds it “natural” to watch shows, news and events on the Internet.

Figure 5: Because It’s There -- TV viewing is no longer hit-or-miss, thanks to the growing number of shows and news coverage networks and local stations posting on their web sites. There’s no longer a need to fight over the remote, master the DVR or drop everything to watch a show. Increasingly, people like to watch on their terms. Source: Nielsen

Viewing on Their Terms

Other reasons include:

  • “To watch a specific show” was the main reason cited for 21% of all visits to major network websites. Of the major network sites, received the highest user experience score among those who streamed a TV show, with 52% rating their overall experience as ‘excellent,” followed by (44% “excellent”).
  • Top major network TV shows viewed online included Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Ugly Betty, Chuck, CSI and House, Kitchen Nightmares, Smallville and Gossip Girl.
  • Those who viewed one of the leading 20 prime time shows in the past 24 hours said 25% of prime time viewing was time-shifted using broadband, mobile or similar. Among viewers 18-34, one-third (34%) of viewing was time-shifted.

As Lexie said, “You know, you have a real knack for showing up at the perfect time!”

Face it, there’s just more variety online (professional, semipro, amateur, other). And you get to pick and choose what, when, where rather than having someone tell you when to be entertained, informed.

Ok…you’re watching all this stuff, but you’re not doing your part !!

Companies measure their marketing programs (that includes ads) on you taking some action.

Sure a nice warm fuzzy feeling is nice, but they dropped bundles for the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics. So will the advertisers who support Futbol’s World Cup.

They want more from you…lots more.

Figure 6: Big Ads, Big Returns – Companies that advertise their products/services during the big events, as well smaller events/activities – including web sites, email, print, radio, blogs – do it for one reason…sell stuff. The wheels of commerce work because people learn about new items, are reminded they need things, build a feeling of wanting/needing. Don’t say advertising doesn’t influence you…it does! Source – King Fish Media

So do the networks, because they’re basing their rates on the big numbers of viewers, not on the few click-throughs from your PC.

George Clooney reminded us, “I guess I should get a couple of diagrams of the plays we run.”

Not a Replacement

Sure, the iNet folks will say they’re killing the TV model, but that isn’t quite true:

  • Despite the proliferation of computers, video-capable mobile phones and similar devices, TV in the home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those ages 18-24
  • TV users were exposed to, on average, 72 minutes per day of TV ads and promos, dispelling a commonly held belief that modern consumers are channel-hopping or otherwise avoiding most of the advertising in the programming they view.
  • "Environmental" exposure outside the home, while still relatively small at just 2.8% of total video consumption today, could nearly double during the next few years.
  • Although the composition of consumers' screen media time varied across age groups, their total screen time was strikingly similar
  • 99% of Nielsen's Three-Screen Time is TV. Even among Adults 18-24, TV was more than 98%

If you’re not responding and interacting as “you should,” maybe it’s the content they’re showing you:

  • Remember Apple’s 1984 ad? Ran once, you still remember it!
  • Recall the Budweiser ads? Interesting, entertaining, draw you in
  • Google’s real-time ad? Convinced us…we switched to Bing

Maybe they’re just trying to tap into you too often with their Tweets, their banners, their interactive ads, their email pitches, their phone messages, their…

Might jut be too much; or, as Clooney said, It's too bad we know each other so well. We might have gotten along.”

After a while, they become “white noise.”

Maybe the problem is you’re always connected, always on.

You’ve got your YouTube videos to post…your postings to Facebook…your blog update…Tweeting all of your followers…

Disconnect, Watch

Faith may be right…you have to set aside time to crawl into your cocoon and regenerate.

Your entertainment, news gathering/absorption isn’t a contact sport.

Figure 7: Just Unwind – Whether it’s a hard day at the office, tough day at school or simply a backbreaking schedule, nothing beats coming to your own castle and kicking back to watch some “educational” television.

Kick back by yourself or with friends…pop some cold ones…watch the action.

They might even do what Lexie asked, “Put her in shoulder pads and a helmet and knock her brains out?”

If they do, you can email ‘em…later!

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