Parks Associates Blog

Friday, January 02, 2009

Hot Topic for 2009: Widgets on the TV

Yahoo! and Intel plan to demonstrate their TV Widget Channel solution at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The channel will allow users to view photos and internet videos directly on their TVs as well as create customized tickers to show news, weather and sports on their TVs. Initially, the technology will be available on several models of Samsung and Toshiba TVs. However, both Yahoo! and Intel expect more consumer electronics (CE) partners in the near future.

Needless to say, bringing internet features to the TV is a gamble, as Microsoft, Apple, Sony and many others will attest. However, the idea has merit and can be successful with consumers if the provider offers the right features.

A recent Parks Associates’ survey, TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective, finds that a fair number of consumers are indicating interest in the ability to have Internet-like experiences on their televisions. According to the survey results, 20% of U.S. adults in broadband households (consumers) express a strong interest in having widgets on their TVs that allowed them to customize on-screen tickers to display information such as news, sports, weather and traffic. Twenty three percent desire media sharing capability on their TVs (for example, the ability to view pictures from a photo sharing site).

Consumers also want to interact with one another via their TVs, to enhance their viewing experience. Data from the TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective study indicates that 14% of consumers are interested in ability to chat with other consumers who are viewing the same program (25% of 18 to 24 year olds), and 13% are interested in ability to recommend (and receive recommendations) about programs (22% of 18 to 24 year olds).

It is thus safe to conclude that Yahoo! and Intel are moving in the right general direction and many similar products will be unveiled in the near future. Companies contemplating launching such products and services must keep several things in mind, however, if they hope to be successful:

1. New services must be very simple to set up and use
2. Every service/function must have a distinct purpose that makes consumers’ life easier
3. A solid business model must accompany every new service

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