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Getting Kids' TV connected

At next month's Children's Media Conference, a panel session about  the 'connected living room' will discuss how connected TV will affect kids' television. Here the speakers preview their thoughts

Marc Goodchild
Independent digital strategist and former editorial lead, BBC IPTV
With the new(ish) phenomenon of 'media stacking' - where kids are watching, playing, reading, chatting, voting, contributing on various devices at the same time, is TV becoming more ambient? Many see connected TVs as an opportunity to reverse that trend. The killer application has to be new TV formats that enable social interaction, incorporate play-along and are as immersive as games consoles. And once the TV is connected you can then tie in all the other connected devices too. Traditional TV may get squeezed out but this technology opens up the opportunity for a new breed of 'tele-centric experiences' for the 21st century.

Matt Locke
There are two key questions about the connected living room. What products will people buy in the current economic climate? And what will people actually 'do' with them? For most of us, the second is a lot more important than the first. In the last few years, social technology has grown exponentially, so we are starting to see new patterns of behaviour that are maturing and becoming mainstream. Kids are leading these changes and broadcasters will not always be the first movers to take advantage, and make money, from these new behaviours, so it's up to content creators to do the innovation themselves, and in return, reap the rewards.

Hamish McPharlin
Director of research, Decipher Consultancy Ltd
Connected TV has been around for years - we call it Red Button, but it's hindered by the constraints of the delivery mechanism, something which connected TVs and devices potentially overcome. A major influence in all this will be the pay platforms. Our research suggests a pay TV box trumps a connected TV in pay homes, and Sky et al will always innovate to keep it this way. So connected TVs will see more usage in non-pay homes. It will be a slow process to get good kids interactivity as current apps are slow and clunky and need to be developed for each manufacturer. Getting apps to work hand in hand with broadcast is still looking some way off.

Richard Kastelein
CEO, Agora Media Innovation
Connected devices will radically change the living room over the next few years as not only connected TVs enter homes, but also consumer pick-up of both smart phones and tablets will allow for dual screen interaction - providing a much more ergonomic and practical tool over the traditional TV remote. Though most TV remotes shipped by 2015 will likely be touch screen. TV apps on connected TV and companion devices are going to rattle the TV broadcast industry - the traditional value chain of brand/agency/broadcaster/consumer will drastically change. Some call it democratisation, others scream disruption. But for indie producers of kids' TV, there are going to be new paths to the consumer that fall outside of the norm.

Posted 15 June 2011 by Jon Creamer
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