Ending the Myth of the Web Cannibalizing TV

Tom & Jerry, Spy vs. Spy, Wile E. Coyote  and the Road Runner, bath salts and facial skin. Media history is full of epic battles between two sides. Until recently, we were told that the war between TV and mobile devices was up there with the best of them. For years, I’ve been hearing about the cannibalization of TV by other means that impeded the sharing and distribution of content.

Turns out it’s a myth. Research from the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement and Nielsen are showing that devices are working in tandem with one another as a user is consuming content. Nielsen found that 88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of U.S. smartphone owners used their mobile devices while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period.

Additionally, the IAB found that this multitasking has actually added time to the 24-hour day. This user behavior has increased the day by six hours over the past two years, driven mainly by people going online. So, it should come as no surprise then that Americans are watching more video programming than they ever have (35 hours per week on average).

Marketers need to stop planning their TV and digital efforts in silos. One way to bust through these myopic planning walls is to enhance the viewing experience of programs. Check out the “Game of Thrones” application or what ABC did with Yahoo’s IntoNow for their show “Revenge” as examples of what’s possible. These examples are extending the viewing experience through additional content (maps, character background, sweepstakes, etc.) Even more could be done using an HTML5-fueled site experience, but that topic is for another day. And you don’t have to be a content creator to jump into the fray. Just look at how brands are using Shazam in their commercials to have the audio within the spots launch their additional content/site. If you know that the audience has a tablet or a smartphone in their hands, leverage that fact to deliver additional content and even to drive conversion.

ComScore has found that — surprise, surprise — Facebook is a property of heavy consumption while users are multitasking. Knowing this, if a person has liked your brand/product/program, why not look to engage them during your TV flights? Due to the capabilities around geographic filtering of posts, you can seek to make the message as relevant as possible to viewers (time, location, adjacent programming, etc.). When engaged, you can fuel messaging between friends to increase the overall reach of your communication and start what we in the biz call a “snowball” effect.

Game consoles are another point of linkage in this new world order. Whether it’s looking to “gamify” the TV spot/program or leveraging the functionality of something like Kinect/Wii U, brands should be playing around with this concept and seeing how an ad could kick off a more immersive experience. I think that the game consoles themselves can show us the way. Imagine an ad for the new Halo game that launched into a longer trailer or provided additional news/content. My gaming skills peaked with Rampage in the ‘80s, and even I think that’s awesome.

All these points enable brands to truly measure their TV effectiveness and can lead to better optimization. Using such data inputs as number of visits after TV spots/programs have run, or how conversions (downloads, registrations, etc.) accumulate during and following campaigns, brands could know the level of interest they are generating during specific time slots, programs, channels, and among specific audiences. Think of the efficiency it would drive! Think of the case studies it would produce! Glorious, detailed case studies! Utopia is within reach, my friends.

So now that you have the research and these ideas, act like Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. in “Enemy Mine” and make TV become friends with its supposed enemies. Good Journey!

Rick Corteville is CEO of Luxus, an advertising network headquartered in Finland.

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