There’s a billion-dollar opportunity in the palm of your hand: the marriage of addressable TV content and mobile binge viewing. We’ve all seen or heard about the latest “Internet Trends” report from Mary Meeker, calling out yet again the disparity between mobile time spent and ad/marketing dollars invested. But it feels like we have this conversation every year. How many more seasons will pass before content producers and brands catch up to the opportunity? Mobile consumption isn’t about to slow down.
According to TiVo, 90% of American say they binge-watch content, and you can be certain that behavior is well represented on mobile. When it comes to the binge consumption of content, mobile will invariably win out because it is 24/7 available and intensely personal. Bingeing is driven by what you want, when you want it. If you have to coordinate with another person to watch content, it only serves to slow the content binge.
As we swing into our summer mindset, which will likely include some vacation time and kids with no school (yay, more free time!), it’s inevitable that we’ll see a surge in mobile entertainment. In 2015,my company saw a 12% increase in video viewing between June and August, compared to the yearly average. And with video viewing on smartphones specifically, 34% of the general population and 49% of millennials increased their consumption in the summertime.
With limited first-run TV content available in the summer and more time to catch up on the good stuff you missed out on to begin with, the table is set for mobile binge viewing.
T-Mobile and Verizon get it: their "Binge On” and “FreeBee Data 360” offerings provide subscribers with free streaming media that doesn’t eat into their data plans. T-Mobile reports that mobile subscribers who sign up for their “zero-rated video” offering immediately double their consumption of video.
As we launch into the biggest mobile binge-viewing season to date, it’s important to be mindful of user experience. Many consumers will be getting their first real opportunity to mobile content binge on various platforms and services (and you know what they say about first impressions). Curation, engagement, and the overall viewing experience will be critical, not only for the content, but for the ads surrounding that content. Precision, targeted video ads that load properly will be important. This is where pre-caching helps immensely, as latency can be a death knell. In fact, according to one study by Akamai Technologies for every second users wait for a video ad to load, publishers lose 5.8% of their users. At five seconds, nearly 30% of users bounce. Opportunity to engage lost.
Take a cue from T-Mobile and Verizon’s free streaming efforts, because people don’t want to pay much for content, and there are typically lots of free options to satisfy their viewing needs. Be sure to offer a seamless and viewer-friendly option for content. A study published by the Winterberry Group found that 84% of respondents actually liked having the option to watch a video ad in exchange for direct access to specific premium content. It really comes down to providing choices for this new generation of mobile binge viewers.
According to Pew Research Center, 94% of teens go online daily using their mobile devices. My daughter, who is 12, gets all her news from Snapchat Discovery. Verticalized video on a channel like Snapchat is properly formatted and offers a quality viewing experience. It’s also free, which is nice, because she doesn’t have to ask for permission to purchase shows. At this age, she’s also looking for content that demonstrates she’s in the loop about what’s cool. For her, it’s about gaining some level of emotional gratification from the content, forming her identity based on the type of content she likes and/or is curating among her friends, and being relevant within the “water cooler” conversations that are now happening on social media.
The summer of mobile binge viewing is upon us: consumers have the time to view, the desire to binge, and the access to content on highly personal screens. Producers of content and the brands who want to reach their audiences need to focus their efforts on knowing what it takes to create unrivaled viewing experience. Or perish.