The TV App revolution will be fast and furious in 2011, so hang on! This week Samsung announced that its TV Apps store reached 1 million downloads. Not quite an iTunes download number, but still impressive for a marketplace that only has an estimated 2 million sets in consumers’ homes – some of which are likely not hooked up to the Internet. So if you’re in the market for a new TV, opt for built-in Internet connectivity so you can access a growing array of available TV Apps, from games and social networks to documentaries and news.
As a cord cutter (no cable) and admitted periodic moocher of friends who have Showtime, HBO and Starz, my purchase of a Samsung LED TV Series 6400 in September has radically changed my viewing habits. (Just to be clear, I’m a total TV addict.) Not only do I NOT care what time it is during prime time hours (because I’ll watch my shows on Hulu before the time off for Hulu Plus paying customers), I’m spending more time watching shows and movies, and discovering new programs via my TV apps. Add to this set-up an appified Blu-ray player, AppleTV, GoogleTV, Roku and/or Boxee Box devices and welcome to TV nirvana! And if you have a Wii, Xbox Live or PlayStation, look for new content programming to be available as well.
The more entertainment options, the better for consumers – though it will get confusing to track which apps are on which sets or devices. Eventually I’ll add a Web browsing ability to my TV, but I don’t feel an urgency to do this at the moment. Apparently, others don’t either. In fact, Sony Bravia sales with GoogleTV embedded are struggling. (There also serious user experience issues with a complex remote to overcome.)
Next year, I anticipate Internet-connected TV manufacturers with App stores, such as Vizio and Sony Bravia, to begin announcing their app store stats, a la iTunes, as well – though Samsung appears to have taken the lead in selection and downloads. With industry analyst firm Forrester estimating that 43 million US households will have at least one Internet-enabled TV by 2015, growth is set to take off.
At this year’s NewTeeVee Live Conference by GigaOm, Samsung’s Director of Content, Olivier Manuel talked about their approach and vision for bringing TV apps to their TV’s and across all of the brand’s TV-connected devices.
My Favorite TV Apps
TV Apps I use most include Pandora, YouTube, Netflix ($9.99 monthly subscription), Rovi, Accuweather, TED TV and VUDU (which offers a credit for new users, without having to enter credit card info.) Finally, Hulu Plus now offers a free one week trial period, so I’ll be checking that out to see if a $7.99 monthly subscription is worth it for my particular viewing habits.
TV Apps & Web Series
TV Apps open up a promising new distribution platform for Web series. Let’s face it, all entertainment looks better on a large HDTV. So when will this happpen? Right now, Internet TV networks Revision3, Blip.tv, and Dailymotion have free TV apps in a variety of TV app stores and devices. (Visit their Web sites for details.) It’s pay-for-play to have a presence in an app store. YouTube also has a strong presence across TV app stores, more so than the Internet TV networks previously listed, but they have deeper pockets than the upstart Internet TV networks thanks to parent company, Google. Give it time.
Get Your Web Series In A TV App
So how can you get your Web series included in one of the Internet TV networks’ TV Apps? Keep in mind that TV apps do not replicate a Web site by offering all of the same content. Just like mobile apps, all content is “curated” or selected because it meets certain quality standards and/or has a large follower base from past episodes or previous series. Since this is a new distribution platform, raise your interest with the networks you’re distributing your show with. If you have an exclusive distribution deal for a set period of time, ask for inclusion in their TV App for that period of time. This gets back to developing a distribution strategyfor your show that will leverage your current fan base, maximize ad views and build buzz to attract online sponsors and earn future series offers for your cast and crew.
Coming up! The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
In January, the geeks convene at the annual CES where consumer electronics giants and content partners preview and announce their hot new consumer products scheduled to roll out in the coming year. I’ll be there again with Tubefilter News, as I was last year, to update you on interesting trends that will excite content creators and fans!
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