Just because you can doesn't mean you should
The Internet is a viable revenue-generating platform for programmers, marketers, brands, and agencies alike. The question that strategists and researchers are asking themselves these days is: What now? And if they aren't, they ought to be.
The Consumer Experience Practice (TCEP) at Interpublic Media recently completed an audit of the TV industry to assess, by program, which of 33 possible new media touchpoints are available at present and/or are being planned for the next six months (the audit was conducted from February through April 2006). It covered the six broadcast networks, 49 cable networks, and eight major syndicators, for a total of 2,233 regularly scheduled programs in entertainment, news, and sports, available across all day parts and distribution platforms.
Key findings included:
>> The average television program offers 4.7 (out of 33 possible) ways to extend the viewers' experience to digital spaces.
>> Wireless is leading the pack, with four of the top 10 touchpoints coming from the mobile category, including mobile wallpapers, ringtones, mobisodes, and short message service (SMS) polling. These offering are expected to double by the end of the year.
>> As far as genres go, "daytime" currently leads with an average of 8.8 extensions, but it is expected to drop to third place. By year's end, "game" will lead with 12.4 active and planned extensions, followed by "daytime" with 12.4, "self-contained drama" with 12.2, "serialized drama" with 12.0, and finally "late-night" rounding out the top five with 8.5.
>> "Network" leads cable with 5.9 versus 4.8 extensions, and will increase that lead over the next six months to 9.3 versus 7.0.
>> In cable, "documentary," "entertainment magazine," and "self-contained drama" are the top three genres by extensions aggregate. The rank will remain unchanged through the end of the year.
The analysis was designed to give a broad view of the landscape rather than to suggest that every programmer must engage all digital extensions. If you ask us, we'll tell you that success in the so-called "next-next" generation of digital extensions will be driven by a new quaternity. What that means is content owners, marketers, brands, and agencies will work in tandem to create the most effective near-term and long-term extension strategies that will provide not only revenue, but insight about how to connect with consumers through the content they watch.
After all, the accelerated pace of the television industry's acquisitions and offerings in the digital space is not an endorsement of the adage, "Just because you can, you should.