Right now there is so much attention paid to business models that define content’s availability “wherever” and “whenever” you want it. The term “content everywhere” means different things to different people, but regardless of your own definition, one thing is certain: digital viewing through “over the top” services and STBs has arrived, like gangbusters.
In fact recent numbers show that digital views beat physical videos by over a billion views. This is a huge number that will only continue to increase with new announcements for original content being developed by Hulu, NETFLIX and soon, Amazon, for first windows on digital platforms.
With the huge numbers in online views, the question then shifts to the opportunity to increase and engage those viewers. This will require the following: more interesting content; providing deeper engagement across platforms utilizing technological innovation; content extensions like games; and, most important, help for audiences to “discover” new content.
There are many ways to reach viewers, from strategically marketing, pairing and introducing new content through social and online destinations, to packaging and tailoring your content for audiences on specific platforms. Then there’s fully understanding and utilizing the right digital technology for your “content extensions,” learning about recommendation, discovery and “taste and mood” technologies, and driving audience by building compelling and intricate storylines that can work across platforms.
These pointers might not work for all online content, but would definitely work with, for example, content from the CW, Hulu, or Neflix:
The power of content extensions:
Content extensions -- digital and social content “value-adds” -- are important to deliver a branding strategy before, during, and after a series has begun or ended -- crucial to not to just online entertainment, but any form of entertainment for that matter.
An extension adds value to content off-line, off of the TV or after leaving the theatre in the form of an app, social or casual game, with all of the above increasing continued engagement that embraces competition, challenge and experience pushing audiences to continue with the content.
There are so many great examples of extensions that don’t cannibalize the content while building the experience across platforms and working as a “bridge” to a TV series. For example, there’s the “X-Factor” and its extensions, to the strategy for “Psych,” or the new “Walking Dead” social game.
Cross-platform experiences are important to a series reaching audiences whether they are watching on a tablet, smart phone, or “connected TV”. While live shows provide direct access to exclusive content before and after an airing, scripted series provide an even deeper level of engagement through direct and external story lines.
With any extension, the focus should be on pushing “discovery” of not just current programming but new series, exclusive content, and always an experience that is more than just wallpaper.
Discovery of new content starts through entry of an existing series, which is where the extension is most important.
Taste and Mood:
With new disruptive technologies taking recommendations to an intuitive new level, “discovery” moves to the forefront of finding content on broadband platforms.
As audiences embrace these new recommendation technologies, they will have opportunities to find a lot more content based on their “taste and mood.”
For example, Microsoft is using this strategy in a recent licensing deal with JINNI, an IPTV technology company specializing in “taste and mood” recommendations. JINNI’s technology is part of a larger “movie genome” project that indexes content based on your mood, utilizing tags that also focus on style and plot to recommend what you might enjoy watching.
With Microsoft’s gaming platform for example, up to 40% of activity on X-Box is non-game, which is where technology like this becomes important, as access to and recommendations for new video content is crucial to continued audience growth.
With connected devices, social applications and disruptive technology making it possible, discovery will become more important as online video platform options continue to grow.