TV Innovation Better Come Soon

by Dean DeBiase

TV Innovation Better Come SoonEarlier this week, as anticipation for Cyber Monday reached a fever pitch, some interesting bits of news largely escaped notice.

First was the speculation that Microsoft’s Kinect motion and voice control systems might be integrated into TVs. Next came word that Apple’s long-awaited iTV might make its debut at this January’s CES show, with a Siri application and an iCloud content storage and retrieval capability being the main features.

These innovations can’t come fast enough.

This week Nielsen reported that for the first time in the history of its Television Audience report, which dates back to the 1970s, the number of households with a TV declined.  It’s just a 1% decline, but it’s a decline and it’s the first time that has happened.

Why? What does it mean?

Well, back to Cyber Monday. As you know by now, this past Cyber Monday was the biggest on-line shopping day ever, including us at Entertainment.  And many of those purchases were made on mobile devices.  Paypal Mobile reported a 552% increase over last year in global mobile payments for the day, while mobile traffic to e-commerce sites rose from 3.9 percent on Cyber Monday 2010 to 10.8 percent this year.

That’s in keeping with estimates that say mobile purchases are set to increase by 91% this year over last ….and, interestingly, according to Paypal, 60% of mobile-influenced buyers are inclined to make their purchases on their mobile devices at home.

And that’s the uphill battle facing television.  Consumers now have a new best friend, and it’s a mobile device.  They can not only watch videos on them, but communicate, shop, play games – and bring them to whatever room in the house they want to be in.

Maybe Kinect or iTV can save TV.  But if they can, they better do it fast.  Because the tide is turning against what has long been the content and marketing platform king.  And consumers are quickly becoming accustomed to life with a screen that they can do more with than just watch.

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Dean DeBiase is the Chairman and CEO of entertainment.com, the leading provider of the most recognized and purchased consumer discount, promotion and coupon service. He is known as an expansion phase CEO with a track record scaling emerging growth companies and embedding entrepreneurial-grade talent into multinational corporations. He’s a co-author of the best-selling The Big Moo.