How to Reach TV Audience Through Apps: The New Ecosystem

The mobile ecosystem is becoming the hottest ecosystem for reaching out to consumers through mobile advertising. The in-app advertising, sponsored apps, advertising on mobile web, and other avenues are there.

In the latest first half IAB report for Internet ad revenues in the United States, mobile advertising has almost doubled its growth over the past year. It has grown to $1.2 billion from $0.64 billion from the previous year. The other big growth story is digital video, which is now $1 billion in revenues for the first half of 2012.

The emerging and interesting story behind mobile Internet and digital video is “Internet TVs” and “Internet on TV through connected devices.”

In India, I started working with major TV manufacturers and connected device players around two years back. We had to build specific apps for their platforms – Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG, and others have separate platforms. Today, as per market sources, there are over 2 million Internet connected TVs in the Indian market.

The connected devices story is starting to happen with five to six players launching Android boxes, with the latest being AKAI Android box. There is a rumor in the market that soon three to four organized players (including telecom players) are going to launch these kinds of devices in US$100 range.

Basically, it’s a PC/gaming/apps/digital video experience on TV through a connected device or through capability of TV itself (Internet TVs). The Android boxes allow users to get an app experience from the Google App Store, and with good remotes the gaming experience is really good. One such device is Woxi Media player, which comes with a motion remote (just like the Wii remote) – which allows you to play games like “Fruit Ninja” in a smooth manner.

Now most of the “Internet TV” users are consuming digital video and “connected device” users are consuming apps. These are premium and high-end users, who could be targeted for high-end products. As the numbers rise on this platform, the audio/visual advertising on the platform can become very meaningful.

Today in India, the TV advertising pre-evaluation and post-evaluation happens through third-party audience measurement. With this kind of option and servers delivering each advertisement that can be measured in a real-time and accurate manner, it is a far superior measurement system over the conventional system. Although the numbers are far from what can attract serious advertising, agencies and marketers should be awake to this opportunity.

Marketers and agencies that represent high-end products and services should immediately explore this channel. As this is like cross-selling to an audience that has bought a TV in the range of $2,000. They can buy expensive holidays, high-end gadgets, and watches etc. The key is to reach out to these audiences through in-app video advertising or creating useful native apps. The native apps could be promotional as well as entertainment-driven – for which brands need to tie up with TV manufacturing firms or their app ecosystem.

In the next six months, there are going to be eight to 10 solid connected devices that are going to push the trend of consuming Internet content and apps on television. In addition to this, there is going to be a consistent rise in number of “Internet TVs” in the India market. It is the right time to plan and penetrate early in this opportunity.