By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Samba TV revealed at International CES a new way to increase revenue from sales of their television sets.
The company, formerly known as Flingo, has developed a TV middleware platform that works with apps and TV programming to bring a variety of interactive capabilities to smart TVs and second-screen devices.
Samba TV’s content-recognition system runs off the operating system in the TV and becomes part of the smart-TV platform to enable levels of interactive TV functionality and multiscreen interoperation, offering new benefits for both TV owners and manufacturers.
The integration of the Samba TV platform closes the gap between linear television and the web. Within a few seconds of a viewer’s request, Samba TV’s technology identifies related content and gives consumers a multiscreen TV experience through applications running on the TV or any other device within the home.
“Generally, we’ve found that the smart TV hasn’t been as exciting as it could be, because it is a completely separate world from traditional TV,” Ashwin Navin, Samba TV CEO and founder, told TWICE. “So what we are trying to do is weave TV and interactivity together in a way that makes for a better user experience.”
The company revealed at International CES that Toshiba had signed on to integrate Samba TV technology in Toshiba smart TVs, allowing owners to use their TV remote or a nearby tablet, phone or PC to interact with shows or movies.
Toshiba joins previously announced partners Sanyo, Insignia, Haier, Hisense and Changhong to support Samba TV technology in forthcoming products. Programming partners that have announced support include A&E, Showtime and the History Channel.
Viewers will have exclusive access to clips from their favorite TV shows, the ability to share them with friends on social networks, and even get an inside look with their favorite actors with access to photos and Tweets from TV show sets, Samba TV said.
The Samba TV technology also can be used to unlock exclusive video clips to supplement a live TV program on Showtime, to share TV clips from Twitter, check into social networks while watching TV, and other interactive experiences that combine the best of traditional TV with smart TV.
Samba-enabled Toshiba TVs will be available for purchase starting in the second quarter, with more units available throughout 2014 in major electronics retailers across America.
“Enabling multiscreen interactive TV addresses consumers’ changing media consumption behaviors, and Toshiba sits at the forefront of this innovation,” stated Scott Ramirez, Toshiba America Information Systems digital products division marketing VP. “Our strategic relationship with Samba allows us to not only offer a seamless, interactive experience, but also bring additional content to our customers.”
In addition to offering consumers greater added value, the technology may also lead to greater profits for set makers after the sale.
“We now have massive screens to work with, which gives us a lot of screen real estate to make more of an enhanced viewing experience for the traditional TV,” Navin said. “Traditionally advertising was purchased from the broadcaster, and then it flowed through cable to the display. The display didn’t get anything from the advertising on TV. Now there’s an interesting opportunity to completely transform the TV industry from a business model perspective, when major brands can sponsor the TV itself.”
As an example, he pointed out that American Express, The Home Depot and Toyota are working with Samba TV to buy advertising that can be displayed directly on the television platform.
This scenario will give TV manufacturers a cut of the advertising revenue stream to supplement the razor-thin margins they make on hardware sales. Set makers can that way generate the up to 30 percent to 40 percent operating margins that broadcasters and cable, satellite operators enjoy from TV ads, he said.
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