Now let's fast-forward to 2009. Whether it's Kansas City or New York City, people wake up, go through their morning rituals while scrolling the latest email messages on their BlackBerries, check sports scores on the Internet via their computers, and walk to work while watching video on their iPhones. When they get home, they check out a program from the previous night on their DVRs, make phone calls using Skype or Vonage... I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.
The 21st century is an era of mass technology, which has made mass information a commodity and hence a choice. Think of the past as a very simple road that led to very few places where people were constrained to appointment-based programming that was dictated by the radio and television broadcast schedules. Let us fast-forward to today, when audiences are empowered and able to stray away from appointment based viewing, shifting time and location to their very own schedules via DVR technology, Internet syndication of television content and through advancements in mobile and OOH technology. The next evolution of content consumption, technology permitting, involves another shift where an entire catalog of a content owners library is at the very finger tips of the user at any point, giving all the power to audiences and allowing people to watch or listen to their content wherever, however and whenever they want.
The consumer is in the driver's seat now and has many more options to view and store content. Computers (PCs, gaming consoles, Wi-Fi-enabled TV sets) now more than ever are being used as multimedia centers, allowing households to pick and choose when and how they watch their shows and listen to their music or consume whatever content they want at the time they want to consume it. Advancements in video compression technology, almost universal broadband adoption along with a clearer vision and plan from content owners on how to monetize their video assets, has allowed for more sophisticated long-form video content to migrate online. Whether the content is repurposed from the television and theatrical world (e.g. Hulu, Netflix, etc.), which is currently being monetized via subscription-fee-based models or from the burgeoning field of original programming for the Internet, which is being financed via the advertising/brand sponsorship model, viewers are more comfortable in leaning forward or sitting back to watch video content on their computers. As a matter of fact, Nielsen just released numbers on time spent viewing video online -- it has increased year over year by 25% and now totals over 3 hours per month.
Also following the suite of Internet video content consumption is the growth of the mobile market. Again, technological advancements in hardware plays a major role as Smart Phone adoption in recent years (iPhone, Blackberry, Google, etc) has allowed audiences everywhere to watch content on the run. The evolution of mobile technology, which has been aided in the bandwidth advancement of mobile carriers adopting the 3G platform, allows for more eyeballs to view content that was otherwise kept to more traditional vehicles. For example someone in our office the other day was watching a live Major League Baseball game on their iPhone. Yes, I said LIVE on the phone! If that doesn't say the future is now, then I don't know what else does.
Aside from the Internet and mobile vehicles, the advancement of OOH technology allows for video content to be placed in front of viewers where they drive, bike or walk. For example the NASDAQ and Reuters billboards in Times Square are able to stream quality long-form content. Furthermore, a few weeks ago Diet Coke streamed a live webisodic program to the Internet as well as to these billboards, acknowledging the multiscreen approach.
It's clear that video content is being placed in front of captive audiences where it can be delivered -- and the advancements in technology are allowing for the content to penetrate places where it couldn't do so in years past. That said, it is critical to study advertising message delivery. Advertisers, who now more than ever have the opportunity to place video content in front of their audiences at many more points throughout the day, need to leverage a convergent, multiscreen and multiplatform distribution approach to help maximize exposure and accommodate the empowered consumer of the 21st century. Marketers need to capitalize on today's communication and content consumption habits to create the attractive reach and scale that right now is mostly achieved via television dollars.