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3Vision Insight - Samsung launches Smart TV

25 Jul 2011
3Vision Insight - Samsung launches Smart TV

As part of our ongoing series of 3Vision Insights we have profiled Samsung as they launched a £7 million UK marketing campaign for its line of Smart TVs at the end of May this year - the highlight being a TV commercial inviting viewers to experience the future of television.

For a full copy of this Insight and to be included in our distribution list for the 3Vision Insight series, please contact us. 3Vision Insights is a series of profiles documenting and providing comments on interesting and significant developments in our industry - recent editions include Netflix, Hulu and Sky Anytime+.

Samsung's campaign is intended to support the launch of its 'Smart'-branded internet-enabled TVs, and with the increasing attention being given to connected devices we thought it was a good time to look at what was on offer from Samsung and how they were moving from being a hardware seller to a service provider.

Samsung have pushed internet connected TVs before, but this campaign centres around their ‘Smart TV’ label for connected TVs. The commercial is here - http://tinyurl.com/3tua99v - and the message is simple, “Enjoy recommended on demand TV and movies and browse the web with the new Samsung Smart TV”. Prior to this campaign Samsung led with the App Store message. This pushed key content services and features - examples in the US (where the campaign took place) included Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, Facebook, You Tube and Pandora. Apps take a big role now, but the change in focus (despite the manufacturer claiming great success with it’s app store) theoretically broadens the message and appeal of the TVs - and perhaps moves it away from a overtly technical position. Driving usage and understanding is however going to depend significantly on the content proposition. Convincing consumers that Smart TVs are worth a premium will require content services that offer something significant to the consumer - which today in the UK may largely be limited to BBC iPlayer.

Samsung are pushing multiple benefits from Smart TV:

Video - Using standard VOD language such as “watch what you want, whenever you want...”Samsung claim you can access VOD services from recommendations based on your previous habits, or catch-up on your favorite shows with BBC iPlayer and other services.

Social TV Stay in touch via Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging, and create your own online commentary on TV shows. Overlay it on your TV screen so you never miss out and if you are a Skype users you can now keep in touch via video calls on the big screen.

Search - Look through your TV, laptop, PC and other devices that are linked to your TV - providing a gateway to multiple entertainment platforms.

Surf - Not all models appear to allow it, but some come with a web browser. This allows users access to the open internet, save favourites, view multiple pages and watch Flash video.

In reality - and based on our current experience - the video options are limited to a few services, including iPlayer, Lovefilm, Picturebox and You Tube.Time will tell how well these services, and future ones, will enhance the video offer well enough to drive adoption. Our research snapshot of retailers suggest that right now iPlayer is the only service consumers enquire about.

Samsung have created a brand for Connected TVs (Smart TV) and a destination (Smart Hub) that may allow them to push the features and benefits of a product that is currently still carrying a premium - but maybe not for long. However the premium may not last and content partners may become more important as they differentiate in a competitive market and try to drive usage and awareness of the service. In the same way that iPlayer drove awareness and adoption of VOD on the UK Cable VOD platform it will support Connected TV, but to significantly drive usage they will need more - or will they move on to the next feature to try and drive sales. In the end the capabilities and features can be exploited by Samsung in many ways (including working with Pay TV providers to offer multiroom/home networking solutions) but the challenges around offering content services directly to consumers will be significant.

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