I loved this Forbes Article. Because after 30 years working with consumer goods and technology, I don’t think tech companies have yet figured out how to listen to what matters for consumers.
Here’s some things they should hear:
—> TV works pretty well today. It’s fun, compelling and interesting. And the latest studies indicate that it’s paying out better than ever for consumers, for advertisers, for networks, and for cable systems.
—> People are watching more TV than ever. The internet has settled in their lives as the top secondary activity – replacing radio.
—> More channels don’t help. Looking at the jump from 75 channels to 250 channels, consumers told us they didn’t think more channels would help (they were right). The “what’s on” issue isn’t solvable by jumping to 6 billion channels. In fact, TiVO plus any of the many types of on demand combine to solve most of the problem.
—> TiVO almost blew it – by focusing on their least meaningful value: “pause and rewind live TV”. Fortunately their customers figured out you can watch what you want, when you want, and as you want. But TiVO’s mistake let cable companies bring out less effective DVR’s. If TiVO had known consumers, that would never have happened.
—> DirecTV also nearly blew it – by focusing on techie enthusiast value. They pitched digital picture quality and bunches of channels. But consumers were okay with the existing picture and had lots of channels. Eventually DirecTV discovered a better value: offering passionate sports fans access to games they couldn’t get on cable or broadcast.
—> WebTV proved that browsing the internet and checking email is not an audience activity – it’s more private.
—> HDTV shows us picture quality is merely one of many factors. HDTVs offer three things: (1) picture quality, (2) better convenience (size/weight), and (3) more attractive sets. I’ll bet that a majority of sets are bought to get a good looking big TV in the living room without calling Allied Van Lines to bring it in. Oh, and the picture is better when compared with than those crappy projector TVs.
To be clear, it’s not that I don’t care about convergence. But if convergence matters, it’s not for it’s own sake.
It will matter because it delivers products that make consumer lives better – with better viewing experience and minimal hassle at a good value.
Copyright 2010 – Doug Garnett