Last week I talked about predicting trends and it got me thinking…

…what could be next?

Television has been a stable part of the average household in Australia since 1956. It’s been through many evolutions from black and white to colour, from analogue to digital and now from standard definition to high definition. So where to from here?

Well you’re already seeing some of the innovations taking place on setups such as Foxtel with advertisers being able to use a level of interactivity through the use of the ‘red button’. From ‘in TV’ games to lodging to have brochures sent to you, these are just some of the uses that we’ve already seen but this is only the beginning. The concept of seeing a pizza commercial and then being able to select your pizza from an interactive menu, have it delivered to your address (which is already know from the box location) and charged to your Foxtel account automatically is only just around the corner!

The future holds a new level of integration that we’ve never seen before. Foxtel, to be honest, is probably in the best position in terms of television because they have more data than anyone else. Free2Air television conducts surveys but that is the only form of data they can gain to ascertain what is happening. Foxtel knows what you’re viewing.

Already an advertiser can be selective in choosing channels that are applicable to their clients demographic or target market but if most marketers are like us, then that’s just not enough…we want more.

My prediction is that tomorrow’s televison will bring providers the ability to customise content to each individual user. So Foxtel will be in a position to deliver you content that is not only generic in nature but also specific to your tastes and needs.

I can see this being developed in 2 very distinct ways. The first being the end user making the decision based on a form style system that you could check your level of interest in certain areas or industries.

The second is a more automated system that would intuitively look at what programs and genres you are viewing and then automatically tune your commercials to be more applicable to your interests.

This would allow an advertiser to be much more targeted than simple broad based demographic or physiographic brackets.

It’s the next step in the fusion of technology and advertising.

Allow me to blow your head a little more…

With further integration and globalisation, credit card companies will create links with the companies like Foxtel that will provide data on customer purchases that matches with their Foxtel account. The sharing or integration of this data will give further clues into the buying habits of the customer.

So for instance, if they are watching MTV, VH1 and MAX along with having a high weekly spend at Sanity then it’s fair to say that they have a keen interest in music. Now that’s not rocket science but how do you garner that insight without all the data?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – he who dies with the biggest database wins!

Don’t think this will be the end of it either with other integrations like mobile phone billing or internet visitations or even social networking sites, all buying and selling data to offer advertisers more powerful and wholistic data.

Look out for what’s happening on your Television next. This may well take a decade to come to fruition but it will happen.

So in the words of the late Bruce Gyngell,
Good evening and welcome to television“.