So many screens, so little planning: today’s TV landscape

The Broadcast Research Council of Canada held a presentation in Toronto on Wednesday that addressed how television users have changed as new platforms and social media have evolved. With so many options out there for people to view video, the television experience has to adapt to keep up. No, that’s not news in and of […]

The Broadcast Research Council of Canada held a presentation in Toronto on Wednesday that addressed how television users have changed as new platforms and social media have evolved.

With so many options out there for people to view video, the television experience has to adapt to keep up. No, that’s not news in and of itself, but the presenters gave numbers to help prove the point, as well as some pointers on how agencies can make the most of new opportunities that have emerged.

Jake Norman, managing director, invention and business planning at Mindshare, shared some eye-opening research results from a 2011 GroupM/CTV TeleVisionary study. They show that many viewers aren’t focused solely on the TV screen when they watch these days: only 32% of people are just watching the screen, 42% are also on a computer, and 21% are also using a mobile device.

TV shows are now brands in themselves, he said. So viewers are less focused on the device on which they watch a show than following the show in other ways. “TV is getting smarter and so are people,” said Norman. “They want to interact in a way that suits them.”

He gave an example from his own personal viewing habits, saying that there have only been six episodes of the BBC crime drama series Sherlock, but he’s watched it on five screens in five different ways.

He also spoke of how people are interacting with TV brands and ads in new ways. For example, he said the most tweeted ad from the Super Bowl was the David Beckham Bodywear H&M ad, which triggered 120,000 original tweets. “It’s another way for people to interact with the screen…it’s an extra layer of engagement and interaction.”

Addressing the growing phenomenon of online video, Norman referenced a ComScore/BBM figure from January 2012 that showed 41,749,591,000 videos were viewed online that month. That’s 55% more than in January 2011.

He stressed the importance of developing multi-platform video strategies. “Think of each screen differently and create different content for each screen separately,” he said.

For example, Mindshare crafted content for different screens when it worked with Ford Fiesta in fall 2010. CBC was chosen as the media partner and to influence attitude and purchase intent, characters on the show Being Erica purchased a Ford Fiesta. Interactive webisodes were also created. Ipsos research commissioned by the CBC showed that the features of the car impressed 58% of participants.

During another part of the event, Chris Herlihey, vice-president of Mediabrands Research, shared results from a research study from IPG Media Lab and YuMe.

Conducted last March, the study, called “Advertising Attention in the Wild: A Comparison of Online and Televised Video Advertising,” recreated normal viewing choices in two settings: 30 minutes in the office, 30 minutes in the living room. Respondents brought companion media along and were later surveyed on ad recall.

Smartphones were the most common distraction media in both environments. Almost 46% of the participants viewing online video in the office were engaged with their mobile phone at the same time, just 10% were reading a book or magazine and 6% were on a mobile phone call.

Of the group of TV viewers in their living room, 60% were on their mobile phone, 33% were using a laptop and 12.5% were reading a book or magazine.

The question everyone is asking, then, is how can we turn distraction into engagement? There’s no cookie cutter answer, but Herlihey advised that agencies should “think beyond the 30-second spot to hold viewer engagement.”

Herlihey then moved on to discuss the impact of social media on TV, referencing another study, “Navigating the New World of Social + TV,” conducted by Initiative. He said 54% of online users 16-54 who watch and talk about TV do so on social media sites using a computer or tablet, 34% do so via mobile texting and 33% do so by talking on a mobile phone.

And within the “TV Talkers” segment, which are social influencers who tend to be early adopters of technology, 61% watch more TV since they started talking about TV shows online, 48% of them have encouraged others to watch a TV ad.

With social media amplifying the conversations around TV, Herlihey said effective social media should be integrated into the TV plan, not just a result of the plan.

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