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CES Heralds TV-Digital Convergence: What Marketers Need to Know

  |  January 13, 2012   |  Comments

Yahoo, MySpace, and Google bid for advertisers' attention.

ces2012Digital platforms and television continued their march towards convergence at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which ends today in Las Vegas. A parade of announcements at the huge industry event sparked the interest of digital advertisers trying to zero in on the future of their space.

Jeremy Lockhorn, an emerging media practice head at Razorfish and a ClickZ columnist, attended CES this week. Lockhorn said digital convergence would fundamentally change the way TV advertising is measured, while predicting that 2012 will see a lot of testing on that front.

"It's very exciting to see the power of the web coming to the TV in a variety of ways, but most of the platforms are extremely young and still haven't quite nailed the user interface or consumer value proposition," he said. "Still, the growth rate and engagement opportunities mean that it's time to pay attention now, even if it is relatively small experimental budgets.

Yahoo And Mobile Carrier Unveil New TV-Digital Efforts

On Monday, Yahoo announced that brands can target their audience via display ads that are viewable in the company's Connected TV apps. Test partner Toyota has been running a campaign around its Fantasy Football initiative, with display ads appearing in the apps. Yahoo also unveiled the ability for advertisers to offer e-commerce-styled purchasing to TV consumers, as well as the ability to order samples and read reviews through their sets.

And the Sunnyvale, CA-based Internet company introduced new Connected TV apps by the following media companies: ABC, AT&T Yellow Pages, Disney, ESPN, iHeart Radio by Clear Channel, and The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo introduced the first iteration of Connected TV in 2008; it was then called the Widgets Channel.

On Wednesday, a consortium of TV stations and networks announced a partnership with mobile phone company MetroPCS. Customers of MetroPCS in 14 major markets will be able to tune in to the stations' mobile TV signals in the coming months. However during the beta phase only Samsung smartphone users on an Android operation system will be able to access TV stations while on the go.

The most obvious advertising implication to MetroPCS's announcement lies in the mobile distribution of national and local TV spots. But the carrier will almost certainly test marketing opportunities that are born from the digital and/or mobile user experience.

MySpace TV Promises New Ad Model

MySpace made a splash at 2012 CES by debuting MySpace TV, which entails mobile/tablet apps that make the platform a combination of Shazam, Twitter, and Facebook. The beleaguered social network made the announcement with celebrity and co-owner Justin Timberlake on hand, promising to "bring MySpace back."

Scheduled to launch on Panasonic's Viera flat-screens by end of Q2, the MySpace mobile TV apps will - in one example - let users vote on music videos. Users will be able to interact with music content on any TV channel, according to MySpace.

Chris Vanderhook, COO of SpecificMedia, which owns MySpace with Timberlake, suggested that his Irvine, CA-based firm plans to soon overhaul its ad model.

"It won't be flashing, blinking banners," he told music business pub Billboard. "We've created a whole new experience for our users, so now it's, 'How do you create an equal experience for advertisers?'"

Google TV Signs Partners, Gains Traction Among Consumers

Google was one of the first to herald a digital-TV development at CES, pitching an announcement pre-show last Friday. The Mountain View, CA-based company struck partnerships with LG, Vizio, Samsung, and other TV manufacturers to implement Google TV for their new flat-screens.

Since launching in October 2010, Google TV has promised to offer advertisers more interactive TV spots as well as potentially heightened targeting. The initiative has had its share of starts and stops.

In the last three months, Google TV manager Mickey Kim wrote in a blog post published last week, his team has "seen our activation rates more than double."


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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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