Multi-channel confusion

I’m starting to get a little bothered by the marketing straplines being communicated by broadcasters looking to promote their multi-channel offer. All they do is perpetuate what I call channel confusion.

Sky is the biggest offender. It frequently promotes the ability to watch online or via mobile.

Think about this for second and then try to figure out what they mean by online.

The only thing I can figure is that they are referring to the bearer technology through which I connect; ie: a mobile network or a fixed [ADSL for example] network.  For the average consumer the noun, ‘online’ therefore seems to mean anything other than a mobile device. So when they say online do they mean a PC or laptop?

No, that doesn’t work as the terms can’t refer to form factor. What if I use my mobile device to access an ADSL network using wifi? I’m then online right? And what if I use my laptop but connect via a 3G modem?

And what of tablets?

Sky (among others) now proudly displays the opportunity to view via iPad. Does this mean I can’t use my Android tablet to visit the Sky website and stream content in the same way I would via a PC?

I know I’m being a little pedantic. But it just plays to the lowest common denominator and marketing bosses like getting terms like iPad into their messaging because it sounds ‘on-trend’.

Really? We can do better than that. In most cases it doesn’t matter what device I have. Long gone are the days of specific mobile WAP sites, it’s (largely) all HTML served over HTTP.

I’m sure that my assumption (that the nouns ‘online’ and ‘mobile’  refer to the bearer technology) is correct and yes I’m being enormously pedantic to make a (sort of!) point. But is this type of delineation actually helpful? I’m sure it’ll fade over time.

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