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Dual-Screen Viewing Is Now an Everyday Reality
The rise of connected TVs is only now beginning: 2013 will see viewers doing more than ever with their televisions.
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Simultaneous use of the internet and TV is now a common occurrence, with connected TV bringing increasing numbers of online services directly to the largest screen in the home. The popularity of on-demand and second screen services are changing the broadcast space. Advertisers must adapt quickly if they're going to thrive in this evolving media landscape. At the same time, broadcasters need to work harder and constantly innovate to pull in an audience.

Recent research carried out by Smartclip shows that nearly two-thirds of respondents use the internet frequently when watching television -- 26 percent of all respondents -- are always online while watching TV. Internet-based multiscreen viewing was important to the respondents, exceeding TV viewing in length of time.

Over half the respondents already owned the devices necessary to access the internet through a TV screen, whether directly via smart TV devices, or via a connected device such as a Blu-ray Player or a gaming console. Moreover, 70 percent already use the online capabilities at least occasionally, and the research suggests a strong increase, with 55.1 percent of respondents planning to purchase connected TV devices. This figure even outpaces the predicted rise of smartphones, which currently sits at 50.2 percent.

Shirlene ChandapalConnected TV users heavily consume a range of digital offerings. Connected TV online content, in addition to YouTube and Facebook, consists of weather, gaming, music, and news apps, which are used by nearly a third of owners at least once a week. All that online content takes time away from traditional TV viewing. Time spent engaging with the television screen appears to be shifting, with more opportunities for interaction. User interest in connected TV is extremely high. For the consumer, connected TV signifies a greater freedom of choice. Non-linear viewing of series and films leads the rankings with interest from 84 percent of viewers; being able to view content at a time that suits the viewer is a major advantage of connected TVs.

Connected TVs are becoming the control centers of the living room. Consumers have more choice, deciding when they want to view content. Consumers use the TV for research, chatting with friends about a series, or viewing photos. It's easy to access personal content, call up videos, shop online, or chat over Skype. 

We live in a digital multi-screen world, and sooner or later all of our TV screens will become interactive. This will have a profound impact on how television and internet content is consumed, and it will have an equally important impact on the world of advertising, offering brands a new way to introduce consumers to their products. Broadcasters will be able to track viewer reaction in real-time and learn more about audience behaviour from social networks. As a result, brands will have to work harder to target specific demographics and keep audiences engaged. While we may watch the same TV shows, we might not see the same advertisements. Content can be targeted to individual sets with connected TVs.

Research also found that connected TV users are a mainstream target demographic, with above-average education. They are family oriented with a high proportion of males in the 20- to 39-year-old age group. This group is highly sought after by advertisers, but is often difficult to reach via linear TV. This group uses connected TVs, tablets, computers, and smartphones, combining them so that each screen's strength plays to the others.

Looking to the future, the strongest growth areas for connected TV will lie outside traditional TV broadcasting. A helpful comparison is the evolution of the smartphone. Five years ago, app stores didn't exist, but now there are over 500 million apps. At one point, people couldn't imagine a mobile phone doing anything other than making phone calls. This is the current stage of connected TVs: people are only beginning to see themselves doing more than watching programs with their televisions.  

For many years, TVs have become more like computer monitors, and computer monitors more like TVs. TVs have increasingly complex graphical user interfaces, while computer monitors have improved size and resolution for watching video content. It was only a matter of time before the two converged. If early indications are anything to go by, 2013 will see this convergence taken to a new level. Connected TVs are becoming a mainstream reality.

Shirlene Chandrapal is vice president of connected TV and mobile at Smartclip.

TV image via Shutterstock.

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