With Rovi's recent announcement that its TotalGuide will be on yet more connected TVs - specifically on Panasonic Viera Connect platform televisions headed to Europe - I thought it was a good time to take a look at Rovi's second generation TotalGuide, expected to be released next quarter (Q2 2012).
First, check out my video of Rovi's Richard Bullwinkle demonstrating TotalGuide G2 during our meeting earlier this year at CES.
What struck me most about Rovi's TotalGuide - particularly viewed in the context of the single screen vs. dual screen debate - is how they are pursuing objectives similar to those we see in dual screen campaigns. That reaffirms my belief that single & dual screen iTV campaigns share similar end goals with the "winners" being those campaigns that serve up the best viewer experience.
4 Viewer Objectives Whether You're Single or Dual Screen
1. Content Deep Dive: This is to be expected from Rovi as its guide continues to be powered by robust metadata covering, per Rovi, 2.5 million television programs and 120,000 celebrity profiles. What I liked best was the advantage over smaller screens that a big screen has in giving viewers a ton of information at one glance. I also think Rovi has a leg up in that it vets and edits related content so viewers are not as often faced with Google overload. Rovi's single screen has the overall edge here.
2.Social TV: As you saw in the video, Bullwinkle was particularly excited about the integration of social media, what they term social discovery. Viewers, for example, can read the most relevant tweets about a particular movie they are considering watching. Rovi brings its editing expertise to this feature set as well by providing viewers with only the most relevant tweets. To my first point, you see all of this along with content on the big screen. But when it comes to two-way social interaction, mediocre TV user interfaces may handicap single screens. Where are those motion remotes and voice activated commands when we need them? Time to fire up the second screen!
3. Getting Personal: Rovi lets viewers customize their search process. Sorry but I can't comment extensively on this as I haven't had the opportunity to check this out. Suffice it to say that numerous dual screen apps also recognize the importance of allowing users to tailor their iTV experience (whether through personal Facebook feeds, providing a choice of interactions, etc.). The comparison isn't exact but my point remains the same: different viewers will want to do different things so customization is key to increasing usage rates. Perhaps as important to Rovi's business, Bullwinkle emphasized how customizable Rovi can be for its own customers.
4. Advertising: EPG ads have been around for years so the more engaged Rovi can get viewers the more revenue it can drive. In terms of impressions, I'll take the big screen any day but in terms of the ability to further engage, the second screen (particularly tablets) currently provide greater opportunities for advertisers to connect with viewers.
A big swing vote in all the above is whether or not we are considering connected TVs (which I have obviously assumed with Rovi's guide). Disconnect the TV and second screens have additional advantages in terms of viewer experiences.
Do you believe that certain viewer experiences will always work inherently better on dual screens? On single screeens? Which ones?
Will Keller, President, Interactive TV Commerce, is the go-to expert for t-commerce sales strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, subscribe to Inside the Screen or follow him @iTVcommerce.