Written by Emma Vetriano • Published 27th February 2012

According to the rumour mill, Apple are working on the launch of a Smart TV. Several companies have already launched their product, so even without Apple getting involved it is a huge and rapidly expanding market. That trend is likely to continue and will probably become the biggest tech story of 2012.

Image Smart TV

Image Smart TV

Smart TVs are more than a bit of fun, they will alter the way that we engage with video content and will ultimately revolutionise the television industry in the same way that tablet computers have revolutionised the computer industry. All of this change will have a profound effect on Digital PR.

The most tangible effect will be the confirmation of the social media adage that video content is King. A large part of Digital PR is creating and optimising great content that people will want to watch and engage with, but one of the main benefits of Smart TV will be the integration of user-generated content such as YouTube channels, as well as a much higher usage of content on demand rather than according to a television schedule.

YouTube and other user-generated content sites will become established broadcasters alongside networks such as the BBC, and viewers are likely to skip between short clips and longer shows. As a result, the traditional advertising model will probably be re-thought, with more product placement and more sponsorship of television programmes. It’s also highly possible that related videos and content will be flagged up on screen to viewers, so paid for links or promoted video content will become important.

Smart TV’s are likely to allow viewers to do a few things at once, so interactive viewing will probably continue to rise with Twitter becoming an important platform for live debates and comment. If you’ve watched an episode of TOWIE or the X Factor lately you’ve probably noticed ITV encouraging viewers to follow certain hashtags – this will probably become a lot more common and better integrated.

Improvements in technology may well mean that it will become possible to send messages, images and content suggestions direct to other people’s TVs, so word of mouth and ‘the viral factor’ will be more important than ever. It’s also possible that shorter programmes will become more common. Big networks may well begin creating a range of different length programmes for different attention spans and situations.

In short, television is about to undergo a revolution and the possibilities are endless. It’s impossible to predict the true impact of this new technology, but it’s safe to say that it’s going to be huge.

Will you be buying a Smart TV in 2012? What features would you like it to have?

Cover image Courtesy of WOfoto, flickr.com