Report offers some food for thought

While it’s not necessarily must-see TV—although in some instances it might actually be better, considering some of the stuff that was considered must-see—and it will never compare with Oprah’s book club suggestions, occasionally I feel I should offer up my own must-read opinion.

So here you have it, Edgar’s Report-of-the-Month Club suggestion, for want of a better name. It’s my way of highlighting what I’ve found that reinforces my opinions, of course, and validates the interactive TV space. If you’re interested in interactive TV—and who isn’t?—you really should tap into a report written by TV research firm Nielsen that says (drum roll here) there’s a bond between Web and television.

“What we’re finding is that there’s a connection between the two media and that innovative marketers can take advantage of that,” Nielsen spokesman Gary Holmes told Reuters. “One medium can be used to reinforce the other.”

If that information sounds vaguely familiar it’s because it’s what I’ve been saying in this space since I started: there’s content on the Web that belongs on the TV and content on the TV that belongs on the Web. The trick is to make best use of both media to the benefit of the end user and, of course, the provider.

The Nielsen study threw up some of the expected cautions. While broadcasters can send their viewers to the Internet to learn more about their shows, they must be careful they don’t lose the attention of those viewers. The study somewhat surprisingly—if you listen to the doomsayers—pointed out that TV consumption is continuing to increase. The average American now watches about 141 hours of TV a month, up 1.5 percent over the last year. At the same time, the study found that a TV viewer who uses the Internet simultaneously does so for about 2 hours and 40 minutes a month spending about 28 percent of the time on the Web while watching TV.

In an unrelated note that may come back later, FLO TV, the Qualcomm mobile video provider used by Verizon and AT&T, recently estimated that its subscribers look at video on their cell phones about 30 minutes a day in snippets that range between two and six site visits. That’s compared to about 28 minutes a day these same users spend talking on those phones.

All put together, it’s becoming increasingly evident that there is a link between the Internet and television and that that link is a bond, not a distraction that leads a viewer from one source to the other. As such, the most logical way to tap into that bond is to make it as easy as possible for consumers to get the content they want when they want it on the medium they use most often: the TV.

If you don’t believe me, ask Nielsen. After all, they’re the TV experts and have been for decades and they say 128 million U.S. consumers watch TV and the Internet at the same time.

           -- Edgar Villalpando, SVP Marketing, ActiveVideo Networks