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Tremor Video at CES 2013: The Video Revolution

Monday, January 14, 2013

“It’s all about mobile.”

“TV’s still have room to grow.”

“The advertising industry will be screen agnostic.”

These are just a few of the reactions from Tremor Video executives after touring the exhibits at last week’s International Consumer Electronics Show.  Here’s our take on what we saw in relation to video advertising and content:

 1. Transmedia storytelling 

The myriad devices we saw on the tour reinforced our belief in the growing power of transmedia, or cross-platform storytelling, which we discussed in our Video Predictions 2013 report.

We are in a post-mobile world, with people using smart phones as their “personal control centers,” said industry analyst and two-time Emmy Award winner Seth Shapiro, who curated and guided our tour as part of the MediaLink/Shelly Palmer CES partnership. Yet, in an ironic twist, fixed screens are simultaneously getting bigger and bigger, seemingly destined to play an even more important role at  home. Sony’s 84-inch 4K Ultra HD TV is just one of many examples from the show. With all this “screen ubiquity and diversity,” we believe that brands have an incredible opportunity to tell stories across multiple screens.

Moreover, products such as Samsung’s AllShare enable people to search for and play video, photo, and music files across many devices, while Dish and Slingbox let people watch their content from anywhere in the world. The result is a screen mash-up, meaning content across devices, and continents, will start to blend. Here again, transmedia storytellers have an increasing number of ways to reach people by slicing and dicing their content across platforms.

Tremor Video executives said these and other innovations showcased at CES 2013 will have a big impact on content and how advertising is conceptualized and produced.

Said Kelly Hollis Brown, national sales director, automotive: “The proliferation of devices/screens and technology is greater than ever before. Brands need to consider the right message  — what it will consist of and look like — based on the device. Then, they need to make sure that all messages ladder up to tell one cohesive story with an interactive experience.”

Paul Sluberski, vice president of sales, consumer packaged goods, at Tremor Video, said that the growing size of TV screens, and the move to a 4K ultra high-definition standard, will mean that brands and agencies will have to look at their advertising in a whole new way. The 4K technology means viewers could literally see every hair on the back of their favorite TV character or every product detail in a commercial. As more people buy these sets — at $25,000, they are an early-adopter luxury for now — “brands and agencies will need to produce their ads, and test them, to make sure they’re compatible with the living room experience.”

2. Big Sister 

In Video Lives – Tremor Video’s 2012 global ethnographic study launched in partnership with L’Oreal at IAB MIXX 2012 – people around the world told us that they use technology to improve their lives. Teenagers and adults alike told us that they welcome advertising and branded content as long as the messages are relevant to them and as long as they can engage with the content on their terms.

Likewise, at CES, we saw the growing importance of benevolent technology that helps, guides, and counsels, just like a big sister. Take HealthSpot, whose private, walk-in kiosks in pharmacies and stores give acute-care patients live access to board-certified doctors via high-definition videoconferencing and interactive digital medical devices. The remote doctors can even prescribe medications. The kiosks are in trial now.

Also at CES, body-monitoring company BodyMedia announced the BodyMedia CORE 2, the next generation of the activity/health tracker armband used on The Biggest Loser®. BodyMedia’s monitors provide accurate measurements of calorie burn, exercise intensity, and sleep patterns that affect weight as well as health.

At the Verizon booth, we learned about Golden-i, a wearable computer headset developed by Kopin. Health workers can use Golden-i to see patient records on a virtual 15-inch screen, talk to remote colleagues, and use GPS and maps to track their location. Infrared, heat-sensing technology helps firefighters find people in need of rescue.

“These innovations provide important lessons to marketers of all kinds of products, not just those that are related to health and safety,” said Tremor Video President Lauren Wiener. “People are getting used to technology that serves up meaningful and helpful content — information that makes their lives better.  The more people interact with brands for this purpose, the more they will expect all products and services to behave in this manner.”

3. Modern Family, Modern Home

From devices that track a potential burgler or command a robot to vacuum, innovations at CES 2013 reflected the modern family: tech-savvy and multitasking. The exhibits we saw also reminded us of our Video Lives and Video Predictions projects, for both reports indicate that everyone in the family does pretty much everything now and that gender stereotyping is on its way out.

Indeed, at CES, products are increasingly gender-neutral, for everyone wants to be connected for one reason or another.

Take Iris Care, demonstrated by Lowe’s and Verizon, which lets homeowners monitor a person’s activities and routines remotely.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Lowe’s tapped into the fears of children living apart from their aging kin with its CES display of its new Iris Care system, which among other tasks can send an email to family members when an older relative doesn’t get out of bed at the normal time.”

At the booth hosting the Samsung Home Energy Management System, we had the chance to envision how all devices can talk to each other. You turn off the movie, the lights come back on. You’re not home and need the carpet vacuumed?  Alert your robot and it will do it for you. Samsung’s representative said it’s all designed “to give you a more exciting and fulfilling life.”

Said Tremor Video’s Sluberski: “Verizon, Samsung, Comcast, and others are gaining access to our entire home through connected devices. Things like home security, remote appliance control and other services may finally become a reality of sorts.”

Marketers No Longer Ignoring the Shift

As CES draws to a close, thousands of media and advertising executives are returning to their offices. We’re all eager to figure out how best to engage with the connected consumer of today and tomorrow. Here at Tremor Video, we’re placing a big bet on the power of interactive video advertising to inform, educate, and entertain.

One article, in particular, has made the connection between CES and our line of work. “Digital video is the key driver in CES’ importance, largely because the show focuses so much on the delivery mechanisms for watching video,” wrote MediaPost’s Rich Routman. “Aside from new innovations like Organic LED, the major focus for TV manufacturers right now is developing smart TVs with internet connectivity.”

Indeed, Routman linked to a Tremor Video study on connected TV to argue that “lines between digital video platforms and TV programming are blurring, as far as consumers are concerned, and marketers can no longer ignore this shift.”

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