Will on Wednesdays: Get Off Your Ads and Mobilize! - Part 2: Multi-Screen Orchestration Tunes Up
Moving from an Era of "What's in Your Wallet?" to "Who's Your Mobile Wallet?"
In our last installment, we looked at how Apple, with its vertically integrated products, identity architecture and cloud stack, may very well be the first company to bridge the TV advertising to mobile retail experience divide. From Apple TV to Passbook, we anticipate the company will opportunistically optimize their iAds platform -- using the awareness-generating power of TV ad impressions to both mobilize and shift branded experiences to the iPhone in as few clicks as possible.
In this week's Part 2, we'll look at the rest of the field--Google, Samsung and Amazon -- and how they might opt to extend and embrace the concept of TV Advertising/Marketing to the Mobile Wallet.
"...Google Now and Google Wallet...may well extend the reach of interactive ads units placed on Android-powered STBs or Smart/Connected TVs"
With Google's recent ditching of the Google TV brand name and embrace of Android TV, it is clear that they are not giving up on TV as another screen to conquer. And while handy, Google Chromecast's screen-sharing dongle is not the missing link. What's unclear right now is how their multi-screen ecosystem might play out, from a seamless content-marketing/ad-experience POV. While they may control their Nexus 4, 7 and 10 devices in a manner similar to Apple and the iPhone/iPad, they also compete with dozens of Android mobile licensees. So, where apps like Google Now and Google Wallet may work in perfect harmony on the Nexus platform -- providing choreographed interactions and customer/retailer opportunities that may well extend the reach of interactive ads units placed on Android-powered set-top boxes or smart/connected TV's -- there are other players in the game who want to drive the TV-to-mobile-wallet bus, namely...
"...what we do know is that Samsung's mobile and TV divisions are being pushed to interoperate like never before."
Welcome to The Fifth Screen -- that's what Samsung has recently planted a flag on. Like the race to the Moon in the '60s, Samsung has staked their claim to your wrist with the new Galaxy Gear watch -- ahead of Apple, Google and all the inevitable other wannabes. But in adding a fifth screen to users' lives, have they added true value the ticking hours of our day? The jury is still out, but what we do know is that Samsung's mobile and TV divisions are being pushed to interoperate like never before. For the past 2+ years, Samsung has been building Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication across all their Galaxy-branded devices. This kind of identity architecture is something Apple ID's and Google ID's have been providing for years (that is: the same login for all their OS, apps and devices -- all synced in the cloud) but it's a relatively new concept for CE makers of Samsung's product-line diversity and scale. Their new HomeSync STB offers some clues on how users with Galaxy phones can use the built-in NFC chip to "tag" (i.e. sync) their phone's unique ID info with HomeSync by holding it near the box. With affordances for both multiple users in the home and mobile devices (up to 8 users and 6 Galaxy devices), there's no indication that personalized/tailored rich media content and marketing experiences will be offered up any time soon at the individual level (watches notwithstanding). Nor how this will sync with they Samsung Wallet (which basically does most of the things the iPhone Passbook does). That said, the Boxee acquisition could possibly pump some OTT innovations into HomeSync over time.
"...not satisfied with Amazon Prime Instant Video being just another app it seems obvious that Amazon wants control – of the usage data, of the experience, of the roadmap – for Amazon's suite of services."
The kings of personalization can never be counted out. From the rumored Cinnamon STB due out this holiday season (aka "Firetube"), we see that Bezos and Co. are not satisfied with Amazon Prime Instant Video being just another app on Kindle Fire, iOS, Roku, PS3, Xbox, and all the major connected TV's. With "shelf space" already on so many existing platforms, it seems obvious that Amazon wants control -- of the usage data, of the experience, of the roadmap -- for its suite of services. Just as Google bought Motorola Mobility with the same intention, Amazon is assembling a team to own the TV-watching experience--and the feeling is that you can't get there without hardware and an OS (Amazon's Fire OS 3.0--"Mojito," their own version of Android).
Back to the value of SSO: On the Cinnamon/Firetube STB, with your Amazon ID and password, you'll be connected not only with streaming the latest Hollywood epic or TV must-see -- but you'll be able to buy/wish list the deconstructed product SKU's/ASIN's of the shows (per the existing X-Ray feature on Kindle Fire tablets). And the Wish List concept is analogous to "Passbooking" something for later retrieval/sharing/purchase. Expect to see Amazon apps on all mobile devices sync with the live viewing experience of the Cinnamon/Firetube STB, which will most likely have some kind of content watermarking/ACR technology built-in.
In our third and final installment next week, we'll talk to industry analysts about the deep challenges and opportunities in the mobile wallet space and the point-of-sale retail space, and with veterans of the long, slow road to tcommerce nirvana -- getting their viewpoints on how all the tech and behavioral puzzle pieces will possibly come together to make TV Advertising/Marketing to the Mobile Wallet a reality.
Will Kreth is a multi-screen interactive media strategist based in NYC, working at the crossroads of Connected TVs and Mobile experiences that are powered by innovative brands and digital storytelling. You can reach him on LinkedIn or Twitter.