Despite Yahoo!’s waning success in the tech world, they still have their fingers in a number of pots – and television is one of them. Yahoo! has been playing with the idea of TV widgets and, more recently, a larger smart TV platform, and Connected TV takes it a step further by giving you ads for things you might actually be interested in.
The Connected TV platform is now in more than 8 million homes, which is nothing to sneeze at. The company is planning some major updates to the service, like the aforementioned ad personalization. Many Internet users are familiar with targeted ads, even if they don’t realize it; companies such as Google and Hulu will try to give you ads for things based on your interests and the content you’ve been consuming.
“Take our Yahoo! Fantasy Football fan. He or she is watching the game, tracking stats and talking trash on Facebook, when a commercial pops up on the TV offering a special on team apparel, with the option to link to more content on the teams, star players, fan blogs, and more. Content can be localized too. The nearest Pizza Hut or a neighborhood sandwich shop could offer specials on game snacks.”
More intriguing, however, is Yahoo!’s promise to deliver apps “in the coming months.” The applications will sell for between 99 cents and 99 dollars, which makes one wonder what smart TV software could be worth a hundred bucks. Like the current standard backed by most mobile app stores, the revenue will be split 70/30, with Yahoo! claiming the smaller part of the pie.
While many have already counted Yahoo! out, this one step could instantly catapult them back into cultural relevancy. Both Google, with its Android-powered GoogleTV devices and Apple (rumored) with the AppleTV are planning to put apps on the big screen. With the exception of a couple of models, that capability requires the purchase of extra equipment; sometimes, that equipment is pricey.
Next year, though, Yahoo! will have its Connected TV software built into televisions from Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, LG, Vizio, Haier, Hiense and Vestel. Before the end of this year, the new options will be available to 2011 models from Sony and Toshiba, and D-Link will be putting out an external box. It’s unknown at this time if Y! will be able to compete with the likes of Apple and Google – but this is certainly giving them a good shot.