Broadcast TV in the U.S. is on the decade-long transition to ATSC 3.0, aka NextGen TV. However, there is an alternate broadcast TV future. What is more, it is here and now and already in tens of millions of homes.
Part 1: Smart TV manufacturers integrate linear internet TV (0:37)
Smart TV manufacturers are taking a pragmatic approach to linear channels on their TVs. Top manufacturers are integrating linear Internet TV directly into native apps on the televisions. For example, there is VIZIO SmartCast, Samsung TV Plus, and LG Channels. All have plenty of free ad-supported linear channels available.
Part 2: VIZIO SmartCast Watchfree (1:17)
VIZIO SmartCast includes 70+ channels in its Watchfree section. The channels are available across many genres, including news, movies, home improvement. There are even channels dedicated to streaming a single show 24-hours a day.
If a viewer has Wi-Fi, there is no more natural way to watch TV. He or she need only plug the TV in, hook up to Wi-Fi, and start watching. There is no signup, no charges, the TV remote is all that is required, and there is a familiar TV guide for navigation.
The channels are proving popular. According to VIZIO’s VP of Business Development Katherine Pond, the company has seen a 108% increase in usage of the channels since March.
Part 3: Top TV producers starting to take note (3:04)
Endemol Shine, which is responsible for such shows as Deal No Deal and Wipeout, has just signed a deal to distribute some shows through VIZIO smart TVs. For example, Deal no Deal will be available as a live 24-hour per day channel through VIZIO Watchfree.
Part 4: Could this be the future of broadcast TV? (4:32)
There are issues for content providers distributing through linear Internet TV apps on smart TVs. The market is fragmented, and content owners will need separate deals with each manufacturer. As well, TV advertisers are not yet spending a lot of money with the channels.
That said, it is still easy to get on the platforms, and the fragmentation issue should ease over time. Kasia Jablonska, Head of Digital and Monetisation at Endemol Shine Group, thinks the approach has a great future:
“It’s a major change in viewing habits, and I think the industry needs to catch up with this.”
Part 5: Free live webinar: dewexpo.com/webinar (5:36)
If you would like to hear more, Katherine Pond from Vizio and Kasia Jablonska from Endemol Shine will join me to discuss the issues on Monday, June 15th, at noon Pacific. The live webinar is part of the Let’s DEW Lunch series from Digital Media Wire. Click here and scroll down to find the session and register for it.