TV everywhere: the new marketer opportunity

Last year, I wrote about Apple TV having not yet opened up to creators – but wow – what a difference a year makes. In recent months, Apple TV revealed they were opening up tvOS to third-party app developers, meaning creators can finally engage the Apple TV audience. In addition to the Apple TV news, we’ve seen OTT (over-the-top) streaming services continue to grow, especially in the past year with Netflix reaching over 69 million subscribers and Dish, Comcast, CBS, HBO, Sony, Verizon, and Cox all launching their own streaming services.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently stated in his keynote, “We believe the future of television is apps. When you experience TV in this way through an app, you realize how much better it can be. You can search for what you want, you can interact with it where and when you want.” That is a powerful statement. Cook paints a very clear picture of apps becoming the channel guides of TV viewing.

According to data from Flurry Analytics, Q2 of 2015 marked the first time that average daily time spent inside mobile apps by U.S. consumers exceeded time spent watching TV. The daily U.S. average for mobile apps was 198 minutes, versus 168 minutes for TV. If Apple TV users now have access to apps that they frequently use on their smartphones and tablets, one would expect the average time spent in apps only to climb. TV networks better be on watch, as they’re now facing increasing competition from the creator and digital network apps that are already flooding into tvOS. 

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Consumers driving demand for multi-screen video

Multi-screen, on-demand video reached its tipping point in 2015, led by the number of millennials who are demanding IWWIWWIWIWIWI (I Watch What I Want, When I Want It, Where I Want It).

According to a recent survey by TiVo subsidiary Digitalsmiths, “Consumer adoption of streaming video services continues to surge as 42.5 percent of subscribers said they reduced their cable or satellite TV service, and 8.2 percent of subscribers cut their cable or satellite service completely.” 

The marketer opportunity

So what does this mean for marketers? It means opportunity – if you do things right. People are still watching TV shows – lots of TV shows – and consuming plenty of programming generated by the traditional TV industry; they’re just doing it on their own terms. 

But there’s an increasingly ad-adverse audience marketers must consider – take coveted 18 to 29 year olds, for example. According to a study just released by eMarketer, “Young adults ages 18 to 29 are more likely to own a mobile phone or smartphone than a desktop or laptop, pointing to how mobile is becoming an all-purpose device that users are increasingly relying on.”

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But in a phenomenon that MaryLeigh Bliss of youth-market research firm Ypulse calls “ad A.D.D.,” millennials are turning a blind-eye to traditional ads on their favorite platforms. Bliss said in regards to Ypulse’s research, “When we ask young consumers which type of advertising they usually ignore or avoid, 62 percent say online ads, like banner and video ads, and 68 percent say mobile in-app ads.
In other words, online marketing – you’re doing it wrong. It’s not enough to be where they are. You have to be where they are, and match your message to their behavior.”

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After all of those years of people fumbling with remotes to navigate through cable guides, now various iterations of interactive TV has given way to being able to touch, tap, and swipe, in the process instantly controlling their content consumption destiny. That’s part of what’s behind the explosive growth of favored millennial game-streaming platform, Twitch. Acquired by Amazon last year for $970 million, Twitch prioritizes real-time interaction on its mobile apps. 

And that’s what marketers must harness – not just on Apple TV, but across digital video – they must embrace that digital TV viewers are in a constant flow of content consumption and embrace the natural moments or breaks to engage on their terms. 

We’re talking about a generation of TV everywhere viewers who expect interactions on-screen. If marketers can harness people’s willingness to interact with brand messages, we could be entering a golden age of digital advertising.

Article and homepage image via Flickr. 

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