Beyond Primetime: Navigating the Modern TV Landscape

With the wide adoption of DVR, popularity of binge-watching via streaming services like HBO GO, and growing use of smart streaming devices such as Apple TV and Google Chromecast, it’s undeniable that the traditional revenue models for television networks have pivoted.

It is no longer enough for a network to greenlight a show, air it during primetime, and collect advertising dollars based on TV ratings as viewers tune in. Today’s audience has vastly different consumption habits compared to prior generations. TV Everywhere functionality on connected devices such as smartphones and tablets means viewers no longer have to be tethered to a couch in front of a television to enjoy their favorite programming.

Keeping viewers entertained shouldn’t just end when the show is over. Today’s consumers are always on, and the networks that can find a way to keep viewers tuned in and connect with them after the credits will have a true competitive advantage.

According to Adobe’s U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report (Q1 2014), TV Everywhere (TVE) video consumption has grown 246% year-over-year across devices. In addition, 21% of pay-TV households in the U.S. now access TVE content across devices and browsers, an increase of 31% over the last six months.

It’s essential for television networks to adapt to consumer demand for access to content anywhere, anytime, on any device. Here are a few ways networks can do just that while simultaneously increasing overall viewership.

Allow Viewers to Connect Using Social Accounts

One solid way to encourage viewership as well as boost engagement is by allowing audiences to connect with networks online using their existing social identities. By letting viewers quickly and easily authenticate using social accounts, networks can learn a great deal about their respective audiences by capturing first-party, permission-based data such as likes, interests, and relationship statuses.

After registration, networks can allow users to bookmark their favorite shows, set reminders for specific airings, and even watch extra content. This identity data can all be leveraged to send relevant marketing messages and, on a deeper level, produce the content audiences really want to see.

Netflix, for example, can make content recommendations for users based on their Facebook friends’ viewing habits. By leveraging users’ social graphs, Netflix is truly tailoring the experience and fostering brand loyalty.

Create Interactive Viewing Experiences

Today’s viewers don’t like to be “talked at” – they prefer to be engaged and take an active role in what’s happening on-screen. Watching television has essentially become a dual-screen experience. In fact, 56% of adults say they use their computers or smart phones while watching TV (Experian).

Why not take advantage of this trend by having the viewing audience interact with the show while it airs? This will incentivize people to tune in, as well as keep them engaged throughout the program. Case in point? 60% of TV-related Facebook interactions occur during a show’s airing (SecondSync).

For example, with the release of Utopia, a show that brings 15 participants together to create an ideal community while viewers can watch in real-time on the internet, Talpa Media sought to go beyond traditional viewership and connect viewers to play an active and influential role in the series. Talpa created an interactive way for Utopia viewers to conveniently log in to watch live streams and video clips, and engage with other viewers from any device via their existing social media accounts.

Develop a Native iOS App

On both smartphones and tablets alike, Apple’s iOS ecosystem has become quite the catalyst for viewing media. iOS apps now lead as access types for TV Everywhere consumption with a 43% market share in Q1 2014.

And it’s not just adults getting use out of apps. More than 80% of children’s TVE content was viewed through iOS apps. iOS apps were also the access type for more than 50% of broadcast channel authenticated videos.

Developing an iOS app and allowing users to view programming by authenticating via their service provider ensures your audience can tune in no matter where they are. The WatchESPN app is a fantastic example of a network promoting multi-device media consumption. After authenticating, users can watch live ESPN programming, replays of previously-aired sporting events, and catch up on news stories.

These are just a few of the ways that leading networks are increasing viewership, meeting audience demand, and driving brand engagement. To gain an even deeper understanding of how this process is spearheaded with user authentication, and how it can benefit networks, check out our Marketer’s Guide to TV Everywhere.

– Reeyaz Hamirani, Corporate Communications Manager

By Reeyaz Hamirani