apps2_commons_Sean MacEnteeApp developers have set their sights on smart TV platforms as the next area of significant growth in the digital media landscape, according to a new report from Parks Associates. In the search for new revenue-generation opportunities, app developers would do well to target video and gaming apps on smart TVs, according to the Austin, Texas-based market research and consultancy firm.

Nearly 80% of smart-TV owners regularly use apps, though app types and usage for smart TV viewers differs from that of smartphone and tablet users, according to Parks’ “App Development and Distribution Models” report.

“Smartphones have the highest penetration rate of app platforms at 60% of U.S. broadband households, but smart TV adoption will reach nearly 25% of all U.S. households in 2013,” Parks’ senior research analyst Heather Way was quoted as saying. “App developers are focusing on the smart TV platform for new apps, and TV manufacturers such as Samsung and LG already have their own app developer programs, which control app distribution and monetization.”

Seventy-nine percent of smart TV owners regularly use apps, but app usage differs from that of smartphone and tablet users, Parks analysts note. “TV viewing is a lean-back, shared experience, with apps as access points to complementary content, whereas smartphone app use is more personalized,” Way pointed out. “Apps will alter the TV-viewing experience by opening new avenues to discover content and also serve as means for content owners to push premium content to households.”

Among recent app developments among smart TV manufacturers, Samsung launched a new set of TVs at CES 2013, including a smart screen featuring apps from Netflix, Twitter, YouTube, Fox and Spotify. Panasonic showcased a smart TV controlled by a tablet-based app, Parks noted. Forty-three percent of smart TV viewers use an app to watch video and 45% use an app to play games on smart TVs, according to Parks’ research results.

“Developers must leverage existing skill sets to break down technical and financial barriers of delivering content across multiple Internet-connected devices,” according to Parks. “Emphasis on cross-platform app development will continue to increase as connected cars are also emerging as significant app platforms.

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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