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The web has changed the way customers communicate, consume, create and share information. Traditional mediums like newsprint, Yellow Pages and magazines have already faced upheaval in both form, distribution and usage. In turn, these changes are having an effect on our marketing strategies and advertising tactics as we try to stay in front of consumers. As it was with printed traditional media before it, I’d argue that the future of TV is online.
Before we can speculate how TV advertising will change, lets examine how the TV viewing experience has already changed and speculate how it may continue to evolve through the lenses of content selection, creation and delivery.
I asked for some help from an expert in the field. Sarah de Luca (@screen_harmony and Screen Harmony) is a millennial seeking to revolutionize TV with hybrid delivery and interactive programming. Sarah currently works in product strategy for ACTV8 second screen experiences. Sarah is helping the TV industry refine the heuristic process of content selection.
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Before you watch a TV show, you have to be able to find it. Today’s average consumer has access to roughly 1000 broadcast TV channels organized by the satellite or cable service provider through on-screen guides. These guides make it easy to search for broadcast shows by name or time using a remote device connected to your digital top box. However, most of these guides do not search online from the tens of millions web based channels on YouTube, tens of thousands of video podcasts and thousands of dedicated online video channels like TED talks. Selecting this type of video content on your television requires a different type of device with it’s own content selection interface.
There are a growing number of apps like Matcha.tv and Buddy TV which are helping consumers choose both online and broadcast video content. These types of apps offer a more dynamic interface and enhanced user experience that can convert your smartphone or tablet into a social search remote control. The content is selected not only by program title and air date, but also by recommendations from your social graph and online metadata.
I asked Sarah to explain how she views the average TV viewing experience will differ 10 years from now. Sarah predicts that,
“the TV will be treated a just another screen with multiple inputs. The average viewer will have internet connected TVs and built in apps that mirror the apps on your mobile device. The navigation through content will take place in your laps and projected on your screens. I also think that social groups will play a role. If my friends are over and we’re trying to figure out something to watch, instead of my Netflix views geared towards me, it should tie in the friends that come over so that it can serve our different social graphs based on our group preferences.”
Here is example of how Buddy TV aids in the content selection process.
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Scheduled network broadcasts are now portable, on-demand and multi-screen experiences. Recent research reveals that nearly 9 of every 10 mobile web users (that is anyone with a smartphone, laptop or tablet) surf online while watching television. In other words, TV viewers divide their attention between the two screens in front of them. In response, a number of TV viewing enhancements (known as second screen experiences) have been developed to engage the TV viewer through convergence of traditional, digital and social media.
Sarah shares her vision of second screen experience.
“they (brands that deliver content to the second screen) change mass produced content to a personalized touch point. Once it goes to the mobile device it becomes a one to one relationship between the brand and the user. Through games, purchasing information, social integration, extended character or contestant information, these experiences help to build a sense of community using apps as the portal. Our platforms transform a passive viewer into active consumer”
Below is an example of how one company is enhancing the content delivery for television viewers.
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Video content creation is no longer the exclusive domain of production companies. In todays fragmented, on-demand, available-anywhere media world, connected mobile devices and low cost video production tools offer brands and consumers equal opportunity to create audio/video content of their own. Brands like Redbull and McDonalds McTV are leading the way as new media outlets and provide an interesting model for others to copy.
Through transmedia and second screen expereinces, brands can turn viewers into content producers as well. The TV show Glee understands this relationship very clearly when they developed the Glee Karaoke App. This app allows Glee fans a chance to sing karaoke and gives each fan their own “broadcast tower” which connects them to a worldwide audience of other Gleeks. In this way, content creation is becoming a collaborative process.
“…it will happen more and more. These kind of new media producers will service their own customers in a way that is unique to their stores whether that’s bite size information or that they’re promoting a TV series that they sponsor. Lets say there’s a show like Community that McDonalds sponsors and I normally watch the show at home. I may or may not remember that McDonalds is the sponsor Community, but the next time I go to McDonalds to eat and glance up at a screen and see sneak previews or behind the scenes views of Community, it reinforces my relationship to McDonalds without spamming”
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Advertisers have always used traditional media to rent the attention of an audience. 10 years ago, getting your message in front of potential prospects was relatively easy; most consumers could be accessed through one of a few traditional media sources. Then, the optimal media mix was comprised of mostly paid media – a few TV ads sprinkled with a full page print ad and topped with a dollop of radio. Each message was designed as a call to action monologue.
Today, Gen X and Millennial consumers (anyone from 12-45 years old) heavily favor online media. In a world where the average person is exposed to 5000 ads per day, renting attention is not so easy. These consumers have PVRs to fast-forward through commercials, use Google instead of the Yellow Pages, get breaking news on Twitter and have a growing interest in iPODs and Pandora for music. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to rent the attention and influence these two audiences through traditional, paid media messages. The optimal media mix today reflects contemporary consumer behavior – a threaded dialogue across paid, earned and owned media.
In the next 10 years, I believe the evolution of advertising towards a more interconnected media experience will continue. I suspect TV ads as we know them today will be replaced by a subtler call to action that directs consumers online to a richer, interactive, second-screen experience. Creation and management of e-commerce enabled second-screen experiences will be offered as a service by agencies and traditional broadcasters alike. The TV ads themselves may likely be piped in on broadband rather than cable or satellite. 30 second ads will be replaced with shorter teasers to drive consumers online to view a longer 3-4 minute stories inspired by customers. Consumers will be encouraged to share and add their own ideas to these branded stories. Overall, the way consumers and brands select, distribute and create content will increasingly become a socially influenced and collaborative experience.
What do you think of this? Will TV ads ever go away? Do you use your social graph to influence your TV selection? Have you ever shared a commercial on YouTube with your friends? Have you ever created a video review of a product or service?
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OTHER INTERESTING LINKS
http://bit.ly/Pg82SO – How Apple, Google and Microsoft will control the future of TV
http://bit.ly/L11hBI – Sales of connected TV devices
http://bit.ly/NArO49 – Future of TV isn’t TV, its broadband
http://bit.ly/RfrkFd – Relationship between social buzz and TV ratings
http://bit.ly/MYQfvh – Brian Solis & Katie Kouric interview
http://bit.ly/NiFzVi – How User Generated Content affects sales
http://bit.ly/ONx6KX – Gen X media habits
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