Consumer Electronics Show Observations

January 10, 2013

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA

I just attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 150,000 attendees. 20,000 new products launched. Wow! Here are some observations:

  • Fluidity of Content: TV is now everywhere, not just in the living room, and a big theme was the fluidity of content from device to device.  One high profile example at CES was the next generation of the Dish Network’s controversial commercial-skipping DVR, the Hopper.  The new product allows subscribers to view recordings from their living room DVR on their mobile devices anywhere in the world.  Interestingly, I heard at the show that there are twice as many mobile phones in the world than televisions, cars, and PCs combined.  And Dish was everywhere at the show – front page ad of the CES Daily, mobile billboards, and a giant blow-up kangaroo (the icon for the Hopper) outside the convention center.
  • Facial Recognition: Companies including Hisense (China’s leading TV manufacturer), LG and Samsung have televisions with a built-in camera that recognize your face and logs you in to your profile, giving instant access to your favorite apps, your personal Skype address book and more.  At some point, this will provide an opportunity for marketers to better target ads based on exactly who’s in the room.  I think this has interesting applications for the television audience measurement industry as well to give a more accurate count of viewers in front of the TV.
  • Marketers as Media Owners: Samsung demonstrated how swiping a phone in front of the television during a commercial brought up an interactive ad for that advertiser.  I asked, “Who gets paid for that?”  The answer—in addition to the media outlet, Samsung would share in this revenue, paid by the advertiser.
  •  Patent Trolls: Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association, noted the threat of patent trolls in his opening keynote, saying that they stifle innovation and awareness of this issue needs to be raised. A full panel titled “Fighting the Patent Trolls” followed later in the show.
  • 3D: I attended the ESPN viewing of the national championship football game, presented in conjunction with the International 3D Society—a terrific viewing experience, but a lousy game.  The Society also had a presence at the show, offering a full afternoon of content.  And one of the most congested spots in the exhibit hall was the ginormous 3D screen at the LG booth—the LG Cinema 3D Smart TV.  Everyone stopped to put glassed on to view.
  • Innovation (and ad agencies): A theme through the show was innovation. Intel invited me to their Marketing Innovation Awards that capped off their “Agency Day.”  The awards celebrate great agency work in categories including creative, paid media, and earned media.  Most impressively, Intel talked from the heart about how they want partners rather than vendors, saying, “You pay vendors but invest in partners.”  (BTW,I recently blogged on “Your Agency: Partner or Vendor?”)

And thanks to my friends at Starcom MediaVest Group / Publicis, I was able to attend a terrific guided tour of CES.  More on that from Ad Age here

P.S. – On January 16, ANA will offer a webinar titled “CES Topline: What Marketers Need to Know” led by digital guru Shelley Palmer. The webinar will also be recorded and archived for future on-demand playback.





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