If you get the reference to the title of this piece, than you’ve no doubt seen lots of changes in TV. Here is where I see TV headed in the not-too-remote future: 

  • Second screen viewing will be the norm for everyone, not just the easily distracted. Smartphones and tablets will be synced with our TV (or whatever we decide to call our first screen).
  • E-commerce integration to browse and buy wardrobe and props from a show with a simple tap of our second screen or voice command. It can be pinned to a Pinterest board. Or better yet, right to a shopping cart on Amazon Prime Time. If Mr. Bezos hasn’t coined that yet, remember, you read it here first.
  • IMDB integration so we can instantly get cast and crew information for any scene with a simple tap of our 2nd screen or voice command. Opt in for preferences that either gives you an overlay (a la “Pop Up Video”) or bookmarks it for later. The latter is better for uninterrupted viewing.
  • Deeper content with second screen. What if we could follow storylines of secondary characters? For example, if you’re watching a show like “Downton Abbey,” you may be curious to see what Mrs. Patmore is up to. Choose to watch her cook and get her recipe for Yorkshire pudding. 
  • When watching sports, you can choose from a variety of camera angles. Perhaps you want to view the game from a hockey goalie’s point of view. You may want to see what is happening on your team’s bench. It’s up to you to customize your viewing experience. Too much to think about? Of course you can just choose the default broadcast. 
  • Choose your preferred commentators. Today, a game is broadcast in different cities (home and away) with different announcers. In the future, you’ll be able to listen to the commentators of your choice. In fact, you may prefer to have no commentators at all and just listen to the sounds of the game and the crowd. Or you can subscribe to any superfan’s live play-by-play. 
  • While I believe commercial breaks will still exist, I don't think every sponsored program will have them. We will see embedded advertising that never cuts away from a show. Ads will play within a show’s environment (like on the TV in a sitcom family’s home or on the characters’ devices). This will be called naTiVe advertising. 
  • TV will watch you and therefore deliver more relevant advertising. It will know who is watching and what their preferences are. No dogs in the house? No dog food ads. Does someone in your house have a severe peanut allergy? Your TV will skip the Skippy ads. TV advertising will be as targeted as today’s retargeted display ads. 
  • TV will not only watch you, but TV will watch over you. Fitbit will have a feature called Unfitbit, which will remind couch potatoes and binge watchers to get up and take some much needed steps. Maybe we can even power the TV with a treadmill.

The future of TV is bright but with plenty of contrast from today. While I still hope Smellevision comes to fruition, I’m not holding my breath. 

Rob SchnappBy Rob Schnapp, Executive Creative Director at Coyne PR