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Next TV Summit L.A.: The ‘Gatekeepers‘ Talk TV's Near-Term Future

(From l.): Moderator David Bloom, Amazon Fire TV’s Jamia Bigalow, John Gee of LG Ads Solutions, Foxxum/rlaxxTV's Dirk Wittenborg and Adam Bergman of Vizio Ads at the Next TV Summit.
(From l.): Moderator David Bloom, Amazon Fire TV’s Jamia Bigalow, John Gee of LG Ads Solutions, Foxxum/rlaxxTV's Dirk Wittenborg and Adam Bergman of Vizio Ads at the Next TV Summit. (Image credit: Future)

Panel “The Battle for TV’s New ‘OS’”, part of the Next TV Summit in Los Angeles, looked at the competition to control the gateway between content, viewer and advertising. As the amount of programming available to viewers continues to escalate, the panelists spoke of making that process easier for the end user. 

Jamia Bigalow, head of brand and integrated marketing at Amazon Fire TV, spoke of a “content-forward” approach there, with the viewer seeing separate programming rows that are personalized, curated or sponsored. “How do we create a frictionless way for [viewers] to get in to see the content they want to see?” she said. 

Adam Bergman, VP at Vizio Ads, also described his outfit as content-forward. The SmartCast platform powers every new Vizio TV. Bergman mentioned how each TV in a different room in the house provides a different viewer experience. 

“If it’s good for the consumer, then it’s a business choice worth pursuing,” Bergman said. 

David Bloom of Next TV moderated the panel. 

John Gee, chief business development officer at LG Ads Solutions, spoke of the River OS and how it is designed to optimize the viewer experience. He also mentioned the OS recognizing different users, and different user expectations, based on their voices. 

“It’s all about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time,” said Gee. 

Dirk Wittenborg, chairman at Foxxum/rlaxx TV, shared about the TV viewing experience around the globe. The U.S. is dominated by big brands, he said, such as Samsung and LG, while much of the rest of the world is more like half well-known brands and half lesser-known ones. 

In terms of his company’s advertising components, he spoke of finding regional partners country by country. “They just basically market our inventory,” said Wittenborg. 

For Vizio’s part, Bergman mentioned “a completely integrated business” on the ads side.

Asked what TV might look like a few years out, Bigalow stressed the importance of live TV, including Thursday Night Football on Prime Video. “How do we make Fire TV the best place to watch those games?” she said. 

Gee said the future focus will be on “making it much easier to find and discover the content you want.”

TV of the near future, Bergman suggested, will be, in many ways, like the smartphone of today, where you can shop, place sports bets and pull off other tasks while watching. “How does the best screen in my house deliver the same things my phone does?” he said. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.