Are Tablets a Threat to TV as We Know It?
With the advent of tablets and smartphones, viewers are starting to change the way they watch TV. According to a study released by AC Nielsen, 70% of tablet owners and 68% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television.
Accelerating AdoptionGlobal tablet shipments are expected to double to hit 47.9 million this year.
Research by Olswang showed that tablet adoption is still in the nascent stages; 3% own an iPad and 2% own some other kind of tablet. However, tablets are the device to keep an eye on.
Tablets like the iPad and Motorola Xoom are positioning themselves as a media portal, especially for TV and video. And the strategy seems to be working; According to a recent study in the UK, iPad owners are big consumers of TV:
- 87% watch YouTube
- 74% watch catch-up TV
- 52% watch iTunes videos
- 38% watch live TV
So how can TV operators respond?There are three main ways that TV operators can use connected devices to their advantage:
1. Offer TV through connected devicesMany operators have responded to threat of tablets taking eyeballs away from the TV by offering TV on the tablet. BBC, HBO, BSkyB, and Hulu are just a few operators who have recently released video-on-demand and live TV content through iPad apps. The competitive space looks to become even more cluttered, with rumours of Channel 5, Film4, Boxee Box and ITV rolling out similar TV apps for tablets.
Of course, as more and more viewers start watching TV on their connected devices, ratings will be negatively impacted. As a side effect, TV ratings companies like BARB and Nielsen will have to figure out how to include viewing figures across all devices, not just the traditional TV
2. Personalise the TV ExperienceWhat a lot of operators seem to be overlooking is the chance not only to offer content anytime, anywhere, but to personalise the entire TV experience.
While watching the main TV tends to be a group experience, watching TV on an app is much more intimate and personal.
This means that unlike on the TV screen, there is no need for complicated facial recognition or fingerprinting technology to customise the experience. For the first time, TV operators have the chance to offer the right content to the right people at the right time.
Many of the TV tablet apps have taken a few tentative steps toward personalisation, but no one has fully embraced the potential of TV interfaces that can learn and change according to an individual’s preferences and tastes.
3. Enhance the TV experience on the second screenInstead of putting TV onto the tablet or smartphone, another approach is to enhance the traditional TV watching experience.
With new technology, Tablets can connect to the set top box or smart TV, detecting what is playing. Additionally, the rise of “TV check-in” apps provides a less technologically-intense way for the tablet to know what people are watching. Once it's known what a viewer's watching, it's simple to serve up content related to the show.
For example, a viewer watching American Idol could see the latest gossip columns featuring the contestants, polls, and what people are saying about the programme on Facebook and Twitter.
The tablet and smartphone revolution is changing the way people watch TV, but it certainly isn’t killing the TV experience. Instead the second screen offers new ways to make TV more compelling and relevant than ever before.
Of course, it’s important to remember that tablet adoption is only in the very early adoption stages – this trend is set to grow and change rapidly over the next 12 months.
What impact do you think tablets will have on TV?
Emma Wells, Marketing Manager