Digital Landscape


TV Streaming what next for advertisers?

How will advertisers remain relevant with streaming TV?

What will advertisers do when more people switch to streaming TV? I recently “cut the cord” and now watch Apple TV with Netflix being the centerpiece to view programs from around the world on my mobile, tablet, laptop and big screen TV. The reason for the switch is because of cost and convenience. As actor Kevin Spacey said in August 2013, “The audience wants the control. If they want to binge… then let them!” In other words, “give people what they want, when they want and in the form they want – at a reasonable price and they will more likely pay for it rather than steal it.”

Streaming content is great for consumers but how will advertisers remain front and center with their audience?

Today, there are plenty of free viewing options beyond cable and satellite TV. Take the news for example. With Apple TV, I can watch Sky News, PBS NewsHour, Yahoo! and Bloomberg. I also tune into the NBC Nightly News on podcast – and again, all these options are free and for the most part, without commercials. I used to pay DirecTV $115 per month for these news services along with HBO and 200+ channels that I never watched. In fact, a recent Nielsen study shows that most viewers only watch 17 channels. As a result, I now watch Netflix and these other “channels” on Apple TV and besides HBO, do not miss anything.

I also use an antenna to capture over-the-air channels and (depending on the Supreme Court decision regarding Aereo) soon, I may be able to view more channels. The question for advertisers is because the cable TV industry model is dying, what are the best ways to connect with a large audience? A recent article in Forbes had this to say:

“The industry formerly known as TV, is rapidly turning into T/V (Television / Video). As David Matathia, director of marketing communications at Hyundai Motor America told eMarketer, “We’re pretty much approaching all of our major broadcast partnerships in concert with our digital programs.” He said, “When we’re working with network partners, it’s now rare to see a standalone TV or a standalone digital deal. It’s almost become standard practice to package digital and broadcast together.”

However, as mentioned, although most of what I am viewing comes without commercials including Netflix, SkyNews and podcasts. The PBS and Bloomberg streaming content does includes ads, but will this be enough? Is the :30 TV spot going to change? I suspect yes. I know with my viewing habits the goal is to avoid or mute ads wherever I can. So what to do?

What I believe is missing is that advertisers now have the opportunity to engage viewers with worthy content, gamification and rewards. There has to be a way to make the promotion of products and services a welcome addition rather than an annoying disruption. If the viewer has a reason to interact – that is quick, fun and rewarding, there will be  more opportunity to create lasting impressions that will lead to product trial and eventually consumer loyalty.

 

The other day I was reading  David Frum’s column “The challenge for cable news” where he stated the following:

“Things move fast in the modern world, so let’s cut straight to the point: Cable TV is no longer the place where news breaks, and has not been so for years. Social media have done to cable TV news what cable news, in its day, did to the afternoon editions of big-city papers: shouldered aside its slower and less adaptable predecessor.”

This morning I woke up and took out my iPad and perused the online news feeds and immediately saw the unfolding gunman shootout events in New York City. I checked Twitter and found the hashtag’s #ESB and #EmpireStateBuilding and from there was quickly filled in with the details of the tragedy as they came in. After about an hour I saw that Mayor Bloomberg was to hold a news conference so it was only then that I turned on the TV and clicked on DirecTV’s news directory channel where I could scan CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CNBC, FBN for their ongoing coverage. What I saw was pretty lame.

The news outlets were still far behind what was being communicated on Twitter and were also lacking in any real reporting of the facts as they came forth. CNN was by far the worst in its coverage as Ashley Banfield tried to sum up the tragedy with a number of stupid comments about the iconic Empire State Building and other inane information.

As I continued to monitor the Twitter feed and checked out the links the story became clearer. Once Mayor Bloomberg had his news briefing (seen live on YouTube), Twitter was following along with the facts as he and his police commissioner briefed the throngs of media.

Later, CNN couldn’t even get the facts straight regarding the gunman’s sequence of events. They said that perpetrator, Jeffrey Johnson, was 56 (initially reported by police as being 53 but later corrected by the NY Times as 58) and that “he will not be prosecuted for murder.” Really? A comment on Twitter made fun of the statement with the line “Thanks Captain Obvious.”

To be fair, Twitter also contained many comments that were either inaccurate or outright false, but the majority of comments continued to be updated and had the correct information. This, along with photos, onsite witness accounts and links to video footage made social media a far better choice to learn about the unfolding events. 

What the cable media outlets were missing most of all was true reporting where their reporters would gather facts and check their sources while ensuring accuracy before being communicated over the air. Instead of being first on the scene and getting it wrong, or worse, reporting from the studio with a litany of irrelevant and inane comments just to fill air time, the cable news outfits should understand that the public using Twitter, Storify and Instagram will get now always get the scoop. The traditional media, including cable news, now has the job of getting the facts straight, reporting with accuracy and giving the story context. As Frum states in his piece, “Cable should skip fancy effects, go deep and long in reports, [and] find new relevance.”  Instead, cable news organizations tend to fill the air with their so-called “experts” and other pundits wishing to express opinions as opposed to employing actual journalists that will dig deeper and provide facts and pertinent information.

From what Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the perpetrator, Jeffrey Johnson, fatally shot his former boss at point-blank range five times in front of his former workplace, Hazan Import Corporation on West 33rd Street. The shooter then walked eastbound towards the visitor entrance of the Empire State Building on 5th Avenue and was followed by a construction worker who then informed two police officers that were in a van guarding the Empire State Building as part of the ongoing counter terrorism security. After informing the officers, they then approached  Johnson who immediately pulled his .45 caliber handgun from a bag and pointed it at the officers. The officers then shot a total of 16 rounds killing Johnson while also wounding nine bystanders (fortunately with non-life threatening injuries) during the confrontation.

These were the basic facts of the tragic event as told by Bloomberg and the police commissioner which I then checked by finding the details about the Hazan Import Co. address, reviewing eye-witness accounts and by further follow-up with the New York Times and New York Post.  Why CNN and other cable news outlets couldn’t seem to master the duties of basic reporting during the first two hours after the incident is only part of the reason why they are becoming less significant as credible news sources. Finally, the irony was not lost on me that Frum’s article was posted on CNN. You’d think they’d get the message.

In February, 2009 Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the following: “The company’s success hinges on its ability to transition to online video from DVDs…” Thanks to devices such as Playstation 3, X Box 360 and the iPad, one could say the transition has been wildly successful. However, two issues still plague Netflix from gaining wider acceptance. A greater variety of current movie titles and TV programs and a future where bandwidth is not capped out.

Many consumers complain that the current selection of movie offerings on Netflix resembles walking the middle of the isle of yesteryear’s Blockbuster where only B-movies and never heard of straight-to-video releases lurk. What Netflix needs is a constant supply of the latest and greatest titles to keep consumers coming back or they may start seeking other avenues.

Striking Deals for Better Content

One of the nagging issues since Hastings made his prophetic comment is that Netflix hasn’t been able to strike enough deals with the likes of HBO and the big movie studios to gain access to the streaming rights for fresh content.

Despite these problems the 14 year old company has had some recent gains by reaching agreements with NBC Universal and CBS as well as acquiring AMC’s  Mad Men. It’s also important to recognize the success of Netflix online venture can be attributed to its ingenious use of algorithms (known as its content recommendation engine) where its vast store of titles are targeted to subscribers unique profiles. And even with its recent price increases many analysts predict the company will continue fair well because of it’s convenient and seamless ability to work on so many platforms. (Android, iPhone, iPad, Xbox360, Wii, PS3, PC and 3DS to name a few.)

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