Parks Associates (News - Alert) has found that 45 percent of Western European households equipped with broadband own a smart TV. Widespread adoption of the connected TV model fits the narrative of evolving, smarter TV viewing, while spelling a major shift in the market.
Germany leads European countries in smart TV ownership, with over 50 percent of its connected households jumping on the smart TV bandwagon.
Western Europe is proving an early adopter of the emerging technology. Smart TVs and their ilk – Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple (News - Alert) TV, and Roku – are poised to reshape our relationship with our television sets. Not only will users be able to use their television like a personal computer, but connected TVs allow access to users’ preferred streaming services. The cable monopoly of our screens has officially been shattered, and the service must adapt or change to keep up.
The new television service poses a serious threat to the traditional television models. Cable has already been rushing to partner with streaming services in an attempt to stay relevant, but their primary source of income – once-unavoidable ads inserted into regular programming – is fast becoming obsolete.
Advertisers have been quick to shift into placed promotions, in which products are implicitly peddled through the plot of the show (think of the Dunphy family’s reliance on Apple products and Toyota vehicles) but television purists tend to resist such integrated marketing. That leaves cable providers and paid streaming services with a tough riddle: in an age of ad-blockers and TiVo (News - Alert), how do you get viewers to willingly pay attention to an advertisement?
With streaming services now producing content preferred to the censored, FCC (News - Alert)-regulated cable offerings, the industry needs to begin adapting. Cable will have to fight for time on the new wave of connected TVs, and Western Europe’s viewing habits will be a vital experiment in connected viewing habits.