Remember the Macintosh TV that was released in 1993?
No, you don’t and it comes as no surprise – the product was a flop. It does represent one of the first attempts by a computer manufacturer to turn a large computer monitor into a casual television.
2006 saw Apple return to this sector with the Apple TV, a hard drive based box that plays streamed content from your iTunes library on your television. The equation changed – this time Apple were turning to TV into a computer, not vice versa. It’s a brilliant of technology, but commercially, it’s been a flop compared to Apple’s iEverythings.
Web TV is a sweet dream; it’s fascinated us for a long time, but has never been able to meet audience expectations. Times are changing: last month’s “Google TV” announcement attests as much. The idea is simple: bring our computer-like experience on to a friendlier screen through internet-enabled television or digital set-top boxes. Basically, TV will become an extension of the internet.
Google has expanded out of its usual business sector by investing the TV market, which gives Apple the opportunity to counter attack with an updated version of its Apple TV. Though still largely unsubstantiated, the rumour mill is churning out prognostications of a flash-memory based device running iPhone OS that will cost a lot less than the current Apple TV. Rumour, yes – but Apple rumours have a tendency of coming true (at least eventually).
The idea of a Google or an Apple TV is seducing and will imply big changes in our viewing habits –A keyboard in my living-room?! No more fighting over the remote?! No more buttons on the remote?! We’ll be able to find related streaming videos instantly. Ad targetting will take a huge leap forward. Forget your phone or pad – web apps are about to invade your front room. We can probably agree that the information overload we’re now presented with could soon replace the modest pleasure of sitting in front of the TV while hanging around the net with a laptop on our knees.
Google is first and foremost an advertising company, and its TV offers many advertising opportunities. Google’s model will allow TV advertisers to target specific keywords searches to reach their audiences precisely. Audience demographic information is going to become a lot more useful.
The concept of web-browsing on television would enable advertisers to have a privileged access to our viewing habits and the ability to offer ads based on what we are watching. It would be the best way to collect data and to enjoy lovely bespoke ads. It’s a win-win situation. But there is more.
Businesses will have to start thinking in a different way. With the apparition of a browser tool on TV, businesses have to bear in mind the optimisation of their online content to fit on a TV screen. Search engine optimisation on Google and YouTube should be a top priority because obviously users don’t perceive information on the web and on TV in the same way.
We are not putting the cart before the horse, but if Google TV does really take off, there will have a lot of implications for businesses; not least because advertising will become more attractive (and potentially more effective) than ever before!
See you in 2012.
Camille le Goff is a Junior Brand Staffer with Vivid London