Monday, January 19, 2009

Hot Topic for CONNECTIONS™ 2009: Widgets on the TV

CONNECTIONS™ has followed developments in interactive and digital entertainment for several years, and at each event, we highlight the new television features the industry is offering to consumers. This year CONNECTIONS™ will feature multiple sessions on the key TV 2.0 applications generating market attention – and widgets (and, more broadly, customization and Web-based applications) will be a key point of interest in 2009.

Parks Associates, the host of CONNECTIONS™, recently completed TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective, a study examining, among other things, consumer attitudes toward new television services. The study, which will figure prominently in several upcoming CONNECTIONS™ sessions, finds that a fair number of consumers are interested in the ability to have Internet-like experiences on their televisions. Twenty percent of U.S. adults in broadband households express a strong interest in having widgets on their TVs. These widgets would allow them to customize on-screen tickers to display information such as news, sports, weather, and traffic. In addition, 23% want media-sharing capability on their TVs (for example, the ability to view pictures from a photo-sharing site).

Consumers also want to interact with one another via their TVs. Again, TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective finds 14% of consumers are interested in the ability to chat with other people viewing the same program (25% of 18-24 year olds) and 13% like the ability to recommend (and receive recommendations) about programs (22% of 18-24 year olds).

Needless to say, bringing Internet features to the TV is a gamble, as Microsoft, Apple, Sony, and many others will attest. However, the idea has merit and can be successful with consumers if the provider offers the right features. Yahoo! and Intel are moving in the right general direction, and many similar products will be unveiled in the near future. At CONNECTIONS™, we will drill down further into this topic, but at the outset, companies contemplating such products and services must keep a few things in mind if they are to have a winning strategy:

1. New services must be very simple to set up and use
2. Every service/function must have a distinct purpose that makes the lives of customers easier
3. The company (or companies) behind the launch must have a solid business model to accompany every new service

At CONNECTIONS™, we will look further into widgets and other TV 2.0 topics – and you will be able to see what other companies are planning in this space!

Is your company planning or about to launch a new TV 2.0 feature? Sponsor CONNECTIONS™, and you can show your new offering at the CONNECTIONS™ Showcase.

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