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Simon Andrews 

Mobile Fix: The unlucky for some issue

Simon AndrewsSimon Andrews, founder of the full service mobile agency addictive!, on last week's CES, connected TVs and Sky's new deal with Zeebox...

New TVs + new advertising economics

Last week Las Vegas was full of people gambling on what new tech products are likely to take off. The Consumer Electronics Show is now the tech trade show and most of the big players - other than Apple - were there.

But the hot area this year isn't mobile, although Nokia made a big impression with the Lumia there... It's all about connected (or Smart) TVs, with Samsung, LG and Sony pushing new hardware and coming out as Google TV partners.

As background to the emergence of new TV - connected TV, 2screen and TV delivered over mobile devices - some new research heralds the decline of traditional broadcast TV.

Research from Accenture suggests that less than half the population watch broadcast TV on a TV - down from 72% in 2009. Instead people are watching TV on other devices - 33% on PCs and 10% on smartphones.

And new Nielsen data shows that 145 million people watch video online in the US, compared to to about 290 million who watch traditional TV. Of course much much more time is spent watching on traditional TV but Netflix is getting 10 hours a month and YouTube almost three, which is only going to grow.

Of course there is a way to go here - some data suggests that 25 million US households have internet connected TVs - but only around half are actually connected.

But around a third of the people who watched Downton Abbey, ITV's most popular show over Christmas, did so on timeshift - using Sky+ or ITV Player. And as we reported last week, people are being weaned off cable subscriptions to find content online.

We continue to believe that traditional TV is losing the war for attention - and that mobile devices are capturing that attention. And the interesting thing about this theory is economics - as the attention shifts from one device to another, does the money follow?

Last week Sky made a big investment in 2Screen pioneer ZeeBox. As well as adding social functionality to their already impressive range of mobile services, Zeebox gives Sky a lever to disrupt the TV ad market in the UK. Right now advertising is a relatively small part of Sky revenues - they make most of their money from subscriptions - and as most of the audience is watching channels other than Sky, they only get ad revenue for a small portion of their customers viewing.

But now they can go to big advertisers and offer what they call Synchronised Ad Inventory, which means that when the ad appears in the middle break of The X Factor on ITV, Zeebox will know which ad is on (by using the soundtrack to identify it) and can offer advertisers a way to offer additional content - for example, a response mechanism or a part two to that ad. And that deal doesn't involve ITV at all.

Sound a little futuristic? Shazam is already offering a similar service in the US where their app (now on around 175 million smartphones) recognises the ad from the soundtrack and serves up related content. Around a third of all the ads in the Superbowl are expected to use this service.

Our key prediction for 2012 is that smart brands will use mobile to deliver participation opportunities, where TV ads act as the invitation to participate.

New economics for mobile network operators?

A business in France has launched a new service that is being lauded as the future for operators. Having ran a successful broadband business, Free combines 3G, WiFi, Femtocells and its own fibre network to deliver a fast mobile service at a very competitive price. One very smart feature is that each of the five million set top boxes in customer homes share a proportion of their bandwidth with other Free customers over WiFi - meaning they have one of the biggest WiFi clouds covering Paris and Lyon etc. Ewan Macleod has called it the most exciting announcement since Steve Jobs launched the iPhone.

So as operators prepare to bid for the 4G Spectrum, in the UK they have to factor in how tech players are going to change their business. And the auction rules Ofcom have published are a little surprising as they don't feature the expected guarantees for Three and Everything EveryWhere.

Managing social

Some of the smartest thinkers on social work for Altimeter and one of their people has shared a good report on how to manage the proliferation of social media.

Still on social, Booz & Co have produced a new metric for measuring the success of social - likes per $million of revenue. Whilst the industry desperately needs some smart thinking around the real value of social, we're not sure this makes much sense. The data would probably be more interesting if they used number of customers rather than the revenue.


John Battelle has produced a very interesting chart looking at how the GAFA companies (and Microsoft) compare across product categories.


We're on the board of the MMA and wanted to tell you about the next event. It's taking place between 8.30 and 11 on 1 February in Central London and features speakers from Groupon, Nielsen and Evans Cycles.

If you work for a brand we can get you a free ticket - just let us know.

Click here for your full Mobile Fix (complete with links to background articles).

Your Comments

Friday, 20 January 2011, 14:33 GMT

It's depressing that Simon can't enjoy the burgeoning relationship between TV and mobile without trying to turn it into a negative story for TV. I won't bore you by rehearsing Robert Heath's theory of low involvement processing in full, but few ads get attention, whatever the medium, and yet they work, partly because they don't get attention when there's the risk of rejection. Call it the Derren Brown effect.

But if anyone wants to see Zeebox being explained and demoed you can watch Anthony Rose speaking at our TV and mobile event on our website in the events section.

Can I also say that the Accenture research he mentions is highly suspect, as are most studies that rely on claimed behaviour. Do you really believe that only 48% of people watch TV each week when all the major TV measurement services in the developed world have the number above 90%. Forget the TV stats; do you believe that 50% of South Africans have a smartphone as the research states? I am aware that they are a major global consultancy, but this genuinely appears very flawed and we have communicated as much directly to Accenture. We await their response.

Tess Alps
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