Research firm Xyologic released a bunch of statistics about Google TV today. And those statistics point squarely at the amazing lack of app installs on the platform. Granted, these aren’t official numbers from Google or anything, but they seem quite believable (except for the whole Napster as #1 app thing, which is just bizarre, but then again, so are apps on your TV). Here’s the top 10 chart:
So, people don’t want to download apps on their TVs eh? I guess I’m going to go with the whole “I told you so” as my commentary (and I wrote that piece well over a year ago).
TV isn’t about apps. It isn’t about technology. It isn’t about “interacting.” And most tech startups seem to want to make it a lot more about apps, technology and interaction. Which is probably the leading indicator of why most TV-related ventures crash and burn – unfortunately too many of the folks involved are far removed from the typical TV audience.
I’d go so far as to say “TV isn’t about entertainment” when push comes to shove. I think the best word to use to think about TV is “escape.”
There’s a reason channel surfing still beats out DVR usage, and why cord cutting is still not really a mainstream behavior. Using your DVR or browsing content lineups is not about “escape”. It’s about “work”.
The more the industry tries to get people to “work” for simple, enjoyable TV viewing, the more the industry will be littered with failures. The same is true in the Smart TV space, the Social TV space, the Connected TV space, etc etc etc. Keep in mind, as it is so very relevant, the concept of the paradox of choice: the more options and “power” you give a consumer, the more you will probably just be frustrating them. It’s pretty hard to beat the experience of good ol’ TV today, period.
So if you are building a platform, an app, an experience, a gadget, a whatever to “improve” TV, think about the concept: “are you helping people escape?” If not, it might be time for a “pivot.”