We’ve been hearing a lot about the convergence of television and the Web this year. From second screen apps and Twitter chatter about TV to set-top boxes and Internet-connected HDTVs, the two worlds are colliding in a big way. Apple is even rumored to be planning to get in on the game, launching an HDTV set of its own next year and possibly making a big impact on the market.
So what does this mean for future of television advertising? That piece of the puzzle is still emerging, but marketers aren’t wasting any time figuring it out. Today marks the launch of the Connected TV Marketing Association, a trade group focused on digital advertising on Internet-enabled television sets and devices.
Recognizing that television is “an old industry, about to born anew,” the CTVMA is setting out to help advertisers and marketers face the “unique set of challenges” posed by the convergence of TV and the Internet. It’s an international body comprised of representatives from ad networks, operators and companies in the broadcast and entertainment industries.
About 350 million connected TVs will be on the market by 2014 and the players making up the CTVMA aren’t taking that prediction lightly. They’ve seen the digital disruption that’s already occurred in areas like the music industry, newspapers, magazines and other formerly one-way channels of mass communication, and they’re not about to let the TV world be taken by storm without ensuring they can still profit from the medium.
The big challenge for marketers moving forward is weathering the transition from traditional broadcast and cable to Internet-connected television while still effectively monetizing both. This is something that has not played out especially well for print publishers, who have seen their print revenues decline more quickly than digital rates have risen.
The founding of the CTVMA is of obvious interest to those in the marketing and advertising industries, but it also says something bigger about the impending growth of connected TVs and how the Web is merging with broadcast. That process is only now in its infancy, with big changes expected by all over the next few years.
To date, set-top boxes like the Boxee Box and those powered by Google TV haven’t quite flown off the shelves, but the trend is inescapable: people are streaming more content from sources like Netflix and Hulu rather than viewing it from broadcast or cable, the latter of which is slowly starting to lose customers. Even if their TV sets aren’t connected to the Internet yet, their tablets and smartphones are, and they’re increasingly staring at them while the TV is on.
The organization was founded by James Grant Hay and Zachary Weiner, both of whom have backgrounds in digital marketing and the emerging field of social TV.