Consumers Want More Interactivity & Personalization From Broadcast TV

Study: Smart Broadcast – Consumer Perceptions & Attitudes

In March, Sorenson Media teamed up with Frank N. Magid Associates, a preeminent media industry consultant, and completed a primary research study focused on consumers’ reaction to new broadcast television capabilities called Smart Broadcast. These cutting-edge capabilities include the ability to provide TV viewers with more personalized and interactive TV viewing experiences. The qualitative research was conducted in Nashville, Chicago, and New York City with a mix of one-on-one sessions and focus groups.

What is Smart Broadcast?

The Smart Broadcast industry combines the best of digital including data, interactivity, personalization, etc., with the vast scale and powerful impact of broadcast television. Smart TVs, combined with ACR (automatic content recognition) technology, enables Smart Broadcast, which empowers broadcasters with near-real time insights and the ability to tailor content to specific audiences for the first time.

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What was tested?

The research consisted of five Smart Broadcast formats including Alerts, Push to Mobile, Start Over, Viewer Polls, and Broadcaster Portal. For a description of each format see the image below:

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Smart Broadcast Research Formats

What were the results of the research?

Going into the research sessions, we really weren’t sure what consumers’ reactions would be. We knew that consumers were used to many of these capabilities on the plethora of digital devices that exist in the home including computers, tablets, and smart phones. However, broadcast TV has, for the most part, stayed the same for years, lacking the ability to measure engagement or personalize content beyond large geographical regions. Ultimately, the results came back extremely positive and had the participants looking forward to having these capabilities in their own living room.

Below are some of the top-level findings:

  • Smart Broadcast overlays are positively received overall

In general, the participants did not have top-of-mind previous experience with overlays. Those that did recall past experience with TV overlays found them to be irrelevant or distracting, but these same respondents responded very positively when interacting with the new Smart Broadcast overlays.

  • Smart Broadcast drives interest in Smart TVs

The study included participants from all ranges of TV ownership including those with multiple Smart TVs in the home, those with one Smart TV in the home, those that have considered buying a Smart TV, and those that have never considered a Smart TV. A consistent theme across all sessions was that consumers felt Smart Broadcast overlay features would increase their interest in purchasing a Smart TV.

  • Participants acknowledge that the presence of Smart Broadcast features may drive interest in a specific brand of Smart TV

If all other things were equal, consumers suggested that the presence of Smart Broadcast capabilities could sway their decisions around which brand of TV they might choose to purchase. This included consumers that were extremely loyal to one specific television brand.

  • Smart Broadcast capabilities show potential to positively impact consumers’ perceptions of broadcasters

Consumers indicated that an improved viewing experience spurred by Smart Broadcast capabilities could sway them to choose one channel over another, especially for local TV content such as news and morning shows. The research suggested that consumers generally consider existing local TV programs as relatively similar offerings and would consider the broadcaster offering Smart Broadcast interactivity and personalization as more “savvy” or more “with the times”.

  • Localization and personalization does not raise privacy concerns

When provided with localized information through alerts or other Smart Broadcast features, users did not raise privacy concerns. Instead, they were more concerned with how they can optimize the localization to ensure they get the information that is most relevant to their needs. Furthermore, many participants indicated willingness and the desire to share additional information about themselves in order to customize the information and overlays they receive.

  • Consumers want reassurance they will have control

The key caveat to consumers’ interest in the Smart Broadcast formats tested was their desire to maintain control. Desired controls included items such as frequency, types of overlays, types of programming or time of day, and how long the overlays stayed on the screen.

The image below lists more top-level findings and supporting quotes from study respondents:

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Ryan Walker
Ryan Walker
Director of Marketing
Ryan has over 7 years of marketing experience including digital marketing, content marketing, PR, and branding. Outside of work, Ryan is an avid golfer and fly-fisherman.