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According to Nielsen, growth in TV watching is flat, while online video viewing is up 42% in just the past year. Television has been trying its best to avoid the same fate that the newspapers and music industries have suffered at the hands of online content, but the interactivity of online programming continues to gain ground.
Television’s new kissing cousin, digital video, serves our favorite programs on a technological silver platter. By way of premium cable, streaming services and connected TV units, our choice of comedy, sports, music, drama, reality programs and soap operas are plated up not only on our television sets, but also our laptops, mobile devices and wireless tablets.
But even with technology changing everything, 85% of all viewership is live television, and seeing a favorite show live on network television is the final frontier of broadcast advertising. That being said, a new generation is arriving on the scene whose behavior is changing as fast as the streaming video they watch.
As we’ve learned from past game changing technologies, sudden shifts in behavior must be faced and accepted before smart strategies can be created. With that in mind, we’ve narrowed down three undeniable new truths to add to a longer list of bi-products of the digital age. The new normal for digital video is anything but, however embracing change always beats the alternative.
#1 Traditional television has gone digital.
Sure, internet videos have attempted to get attention on television, but now we’ve finally arrived at a point in history where traditional shows are moving online. Two cancelled popular soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live, are now being produced exclusively to watch for free on Hulu. And beyond soap operas are other serial shows that are breaking new ground. Netflix famously brought back Arrested Development, a highly praised but lowly rated show that was cancelled in 2006. The launch of the internet-only version this year included all 12 episodes with no commercial breaks, thus creating an entirely new audience for the original series.
#2 The new viewer is spoiled rotten.
The old ways are no longer acceptable for today’s television viewer. Even basic cable consumers have choices they’ve never had before. On the forefront of major networks is CBS Interactive which offers on-demand online versions of nearly all of their top shows so viewers can watch at their leisure on laptops or through internet TV connectors like Roku, Google TV, TiVo, Samsung Smart TV and others. Hulu has taken up the slack that CBS left for the other networks, offering serial viewing the other major networks – Fox, NBC, ABC, the CW and Univision. This viewing behavior, called “seriality,” allows you to watch a series in order, from start to finish, in one sitting. Also called “binging,” viewers are hooked into not only to the current material, but also past seasons they may want to go back and watch after hearing buzz for years since it first started.
#3 There’s nowhere to go but mobile.
Mobile is on the rise. In fact, it’s doubled as a small screen for digital video in the past year. According to a study at Business Intelligence, in less than one year’s time, video viewing on mobile phones was up by nearly 20 – from 29% to 55% percent from April 2012 to January 2013. A combination of young users, faster 4G networks and the spread of tablets were cited, and the added punch of high capacity phones have actually threatened to knock the iPhone out of the game. So what is to be expected in another year? Forrester predicts that the advertising spend in the year 2016 will reach $5.4 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2011.
The change in programming marks the birth of an entirely new advertising culture. Though subscription-based services like Netflix don’t yet allow advertising, others are coming up with advertising supported original programming and all are investing heavily in big talent to gear up for the next shift in viewership. AOL recently announced the development of 15 new original programs coming out this fall, and Yahoo produces more than 50 original shows and about with around 300 episodes each month.
It stands to reason that television would be the slowest to enter the Internet age without a fight, but the future of digital video has finally arrived and will no doubt provide endless opportunities for smart marketers.
Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency