Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is your website ready for socialized TV and tablet use?

I got myself one of them-there newfangled Internet-capable teevees (a Vizio), and it's done something to my vision: Suddenly, I can see a range of new options for communicators to consider with television, a medium that you might not have been focusing on as much, lately.

Here's just one change it's made in my viewing: Instead of looking at two screens (one on my laptop), I followed my Twitterstream during the president's State of the Union speech in an on-screen widget. Vizio's Internet-capable TVs come with preloaded content from a variety of providers and I'm expcting more web-based options soon. I can watch photos from Flickr, my Facebook feed, Netflix and Amazon streaming movies and documentaries, and much more. 

This week, Amazon--already offering streaming video on my new TV--has quietly rolled out free streaming movies and TV programs for those who have memberships in Amazon Prime,which costs $79 and gives you unlimited two-day shipping. Adding free movies and TV to that membership might just drive me away from Netflix and Hulu Plus. (To see what's available, click on "Amazon Instant Video," then click the box to the right in that search result to see what's "Prime eligible.") And it's unlimited free streaming.

What about your website?

But is your website ready for me to watch on my new teevee?  It's worth checking, if you want to get a step ahead of this new option that combines the lean-forward and lean-back audiences.  Handily, Google has just issued resources to help you optimize your website for TV, including new templates and a UI library.

The same goes for tablet computers. If you haven't yet tested your website on tablets, ReadWriteWeb offers Is your website ready for the coming tablet explosion? with practical recommendations that range from getting rid of flash to making your website more "app-like." 

Next weekend's Oscar broadcast will be a good time to watch how TV network providers are working to integrate socialized viewing, as ABC is planning a wide range of social options for that broadcast as well as other shows. From the New York Times coverage:
“In a sense, you are in the living room, watching together,” said Jeff Probst, the host of “Survivor,” who used Twitter to talk with fans during the show’s season premiere last Wednesday while flying from New York to Los Angeles. Mr. Probst plans to make such viewing a weekly habit this season.
The article made me think that a next step in your communications strategy might involve finding ways to "watch along" with your audience when your company or organization is featured on a broadcast.  Note that the TV world is now counting on promotions not just before and after a show, but during it--and it's reviving the medium, according to observers.  (Affiliate links)

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