U.S. retailers reported raking in a record $7.9 billion in online sales according to Adobe Analytics. As Cyber Monday results come in, it is expected to drive an additional $6.6 billion in internet sales, and all of this is primarily concentrated on popular devices like laptops, toys, game consoles, and the most popular which was a surprise to me, - TVs.
Apparently, high-quality TV sets are offered during these sales at a significant discount -- 15 percent to 30 percent, in many cases. 'Connected TVs' - the high-quality screens that are constantly connected to the internet, and which many call 'Smart TVs.' In fact, these connected TVs have surpassed laptops, smartphones, and tablets in their popularity of growth as the preferred device over which we all stream video content. From Hulu, to Amazon, Netflix and YouTube, when it comes to entertainment, we still want and enjoy it most on the bigger screen.
Between 2012 and 2017, Connected TVs have grown 75% on a Year-over-Year basis, shipping software by Vewd on over 50 million new Smart TVs globally. There are now roughly 200 million connected TVs in the market, allowing consumers to stream video directly on their TV screens, without requiring the extra hardware like Amazon Fire sticks, Roku, Apple TV sticks, or your PlayStation.
So why is it that we still take a perfectly-capable video streaming device, and connect it to another piece of hardware? "It's the ultimate redundancy," says Aneesh Rajaram, CEO of Vewd. "Consumers are rapidly realizing this, and are growing fonder of what their TVs can do", - he says. Aneesh is passionate when it comes to our video entertainment. Vewd, formerly known as Opera TV, is the company that brings you channels and 'apps' with video content on the 'OTT' (Over The Top) model. The new model allows companies to start offering 'skinny bundles,' 'a-la-carte' menus of channels based on your viewing habits.
Back in the early 2000's, Aneesh was part of a division at Opera called 'devices'. "No one knew what we are responsible for, what we did, and why we existed", he recalls. Opera was getting popular with its software and platform solutions, while devices were not really where the world seemed to be heading. But Aneesh and his team focused on their niche solutions: streaming video capabilities on hardware. Then a call came from Japan. The Nintendo company wanted Aneesh and his team to come figure out how they could add a streaming capability to its early Wii consoles. "It was a fascinating experience I've ever had." Aneesh and the Nintendo team rolled out the world's first streaming device the Nintendo Wii. Today, you will find the Vewd software on any of the 50 million TVs shipping in the US every year. Vewd holds over 30% of the US streaming video software market, in comparison to Roku's 19%.
Content creators, established and new, are no doubt keeping their attention to these trends. It is likely we will see a wave of new original content, and a flourishing expression of the film and TV arts - since it no longer takes a conglomerate production company now to get in front of millions through their TVs. Thanks to companies like Vewd and Roku our TV is going to get better and better.