A new TV watching experience

Jim Cooper

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Kai Ryssdal: Television technology marches ever forward. Just about every show comes in high definition now. Digital video recorders are more and more popular. And the Wall Street Journal reports Google and Dish Network are working on a set-top box partnership. Bringing us that much closer to the convergence of TV and the Internet. To figure out how that Google-Dish deal might work, and how they might make money off it, we've called up Jim Cooper. He's the executive editor at AdweekMedia. Jim, welcome to the program.

Jim Cooper: Thanks for having me.

Ryssdal: So I'd be sitting there on my couch, I'd want to know what might be coming down the pike on Dish Network, and then I would type that into a Google search engine kind of thing.

COOPER: Well, I think it would be partly based on your remote. You don't want to completely throw out the enjoyment of watching your expensive flat-screen TV in your living room.

Ryssdal: No, I don't. Absolutely not.

COOPER: But if you can toggle back and forth pretty seamlessly between your television and the functionality of your PC, it could be a relatively powerful application for consumers. Let's say you're watching a prime-time show, you're watching "Modern Family," and you have an idea, you want to search for something, you can pause the show, toggle to the Web functionality of your television, do whatever you have to do, and come back to the show.

Ryssdal: The topic at hand being Google, then ads can't be far behind, can they?

COOPER: Well, you know advertising in this space will be really interesting to watch. All these cable companies have grand plans for this sort of advanced address-ability and advertising based off the set-top boxes. If Google is in this space, too, that makes the ad race even more interesting and compelling. Actually it sort of surprises me that they would allow Google into that set-top box because that is really at the core of their business, and also there's a lot of rich data there that I'm surprised they would want to share with Google.

Ryssdal: User preferences, all that sort of thing?

COOPER: In terms of knowing exactly who watches what, where, the set-top boxes are a pretty good collector of that information.

Ryssdal: Play out the advertising implications for me just a little bit.

COOPER: Right now, passively you're watching television, 30-second spots come on, you either scan them by your DVR, or you watch them. Technology allows you to sort of make that choice. But if you can link up that viewing, that ad spot, with, hey, pause the show, we'll take you to a Web site, you can engage with this brand in a much deeper way, therefore it's a much more valuable proposition for the marketer who is reaching out to the consumer this way.

Ryssdal: I'm going to be a little self-revelatory here, but I don't necessarily want to pause my show and explore those ads. I just want to watch my show.

COOPER: Well, I think a lot of people probably are just like you. But at the same time, there are a lot of people who are interested in buying a new car, or checking out the latest trailer of a movie they might be interested in seeing and do have the inclination to do a deeper dive -- either into the content of the show they're watching or the advertising around it. It's going to really sort of fall on the people making these ads to make them compelling enough that you'll want to stop your show and go into them.

Ryssdal: Roll it all up for me then, Jim. You've got this potentially new technology coming on that Google and Dish network are working on. We've got 3-D television and who knows what else coming down the pike. Television is not the way it used to be anymore, is it?

COOPER: Technology waits for no one, and it certainly doesn't wait for television. And the end user is going to ultimately decide how they're going to function with this technology. But it's going to be offered in the space of a very short few years, and it's going to be pretty powerful.

Ryssdal: Jim Cooper. He's the executive editor at Adweek Media. Jim, thanks a lot for coming in.

COOPER: My pleasure guys, thanks.

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