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Connected TV: Giving global brands the chance to hit their target

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The rise of the set-top box offers an opportunity to achieve unprecedented scale and reach. Research house Informa predicts that consumer use of connected TV sets will grow from 82 million worldwide in 2011 to more than 890 million by 2016.

In July, blinkx was part of the group that launched YouView. Sky has announced its internet TV service, and Google and Apple are joining the fray.

Global audiences are more accessible than ever, as connected TV has shaken up the linear TV model and undermined its advertising base, which not only has an impact on content, but also on brands. Brands can no longer pay huge fees to guarantee reaching a primetime audience during peak viewing hours. As viewers begin to schedule their own channels—watching what they want, when they want, across services— brands have to be smarter.

Streaming services such as Netflix offer a chance to create content that targets specific demographics and raises awareness in new markets.

In line with the evolution of digital, consumers have reinvented themselves as social and ‘better connected’, expecting nothing less than engaging and relevant content. So organisations from publishers to brands have to become more sophisticated content providers, creating consumer experiences that translate into the digital space.

These experiences can be delivered in a highly targeted way as advertisers now have the opportunity to determine what adverts consumers see and when they see them, and programmers and publishers can boast increased interaction and engagement around their shows.

Connected TV apps are among the most powerful opportunities available, but so far they have been far from inspiring. Marks & Spencer took a straightforward but limited approach to its first foray into this world, using the app to showcase its product range, but failing to enable viewers to make purchases.

CNBC’s smart TV app gives live stock updates, news alerts and video reports globally 24 hours a day. However, it is not available across all smart-TV providers, which fuels critics’ arguments that app creators are still falling short in effectively integrating TV and web strategies.

Suranga Chandratillake is founder and chief strategy officer of blinkx