Smart TV’s may have set-top streamers on borrowed time

 roku xs streaming media boxApparently over-the-top (OTT) set-top boxes aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes, and it may be the Smart TV that is to blame. 

We recently came across an interesting Media Daily News article which acknowledges that the OTT set-top box platform is imperiled , but, despite its apparent obsolescence, is still plenty important to TV advertisers and channel providers.

Though it would seem that gaming consoles and TVs with built-in Smart functionality will soon render set-tops superfluous, advertisers and providers are no less determined to collect accurate data on their usage. It seems that these interests are essentially agnostic as far as delivery method is concerned, and anything that can provide more ad space, or create more ad revenue, is something they want to explore. 

For now, penetration of new media devices is dominated by gaming consoles (56 percent) and even Smart TVs (22 perecent) which have set-tops (11 percent) doubled in this department. Still, with the difficulties that networks and advertisers have had with respect to measuring Internet-based television content, set-top boxes like the Roku, Apple TV and Boxee Box fit nicely into the kitchen-sink approach that the industry is looking employ. “Both the buy and sell sides have the expectation, and rightly so, that all devices on which tuning occurs — not just traditional television sets — be measured and ultimately used as ratings currency,” Patricia Liguori, ABC TV’s senior vice president of research, told Media Daily News.

Reports like this are less interesting for what they say about the future of Smart platforms, and more so for what they say about technology’s ability to out-pace those who profit from it. Though set-tops have a relatively minor market-share right now, networks and advertisers alike are content to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. That reality stands in stark contrast to that of the past few decades, in which they’ve had a reliable, set-it-and-forget-it formula for measuring viewership. It’s fascinating to see experts in a field suddenly thrust back to the drawing board.

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