Ex-iPlayer chief: The smart TV market is not in a good way

Ex iPlayer chief: The smart TV market is not in a good way
Smart TVs not so smart

The former head of iPlayer Daniel Danker has told TechRadar that the smart TV market is suffering because it's become too complicated.

Now chief product officer at Shazam, Danker revealed that when he worked on iPlayer the service was launched on to hundreds of TV makes but this strength in numbers couldn't compete with just a handful of mobile devices.

"Connected TV as a category is a very complicated one," noted Danker. "I brought iPlayer to over 650 different devices, the majority of which were connected TVs.

"But I can tell you a small handful of devices, the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3, those three devices offered more bang for your buck than 600 different TV models that we had worked with.

"The connected TV market is not in a good way today."

Numbers game

When asked about his move from iPlayer to Shazam four months ago, Danker explained that it may have seemed a surprising decision but Shazam's numbers convinced him to leave the BBC.

"Coming from the BBC and iPlayer, a lot were surprised, what with iPlayer being a household name," said Danker.

"But, these are the facts: we have over 70 million monthly active users and 350 million users. What's interesting is the rate that Shazam has grown. We are adding about 2.5 million users every single week and that is astonishing.

"When you think about numbers like that for a global product, it is huge. And that is one of the reasons I left."

Live and let die

Danker joining Shazam is the latest signs that the service is investing heavily in television. Last September, Shazam's audio-recognition technology has been used in TV and adverts in the US.

Given Danker's views on smart TV, however, it is unlikely we will see Shazam integrated into televisions but we will see the app feature heavily in the TV experience.

"I think less about connected TV and much more about what Shazam can deliver to television across a variety of times," he said.

"Many of the apps that try and create a companion experience for live TV - they depend on it being live.

"If you Shazam a show or an ad when it is live or when it aired a week ago, you get the same quality of experience. That's important as we don't want to force users using our product when they are watching live TV only."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.