The convergence between TV and digital is coming…and the signs are pretty obvious. Not only have cable stocks plummeted in the last few weeks, some of the biggest players in traditional TV (Disney, Time Warner Inc., etc.) have seen decreases in advertising revenue, especially in the last quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"I haven't seen this much red in a long time," said John Miller, a portfolio manager at Ariel Investments, watching the broad stock decline. "It seems like people's concerns regarding cord-cutting have accelerated."
And the move from cable TV to over-the-top (OTT) options is continuously picking up speed. According to The State of Digital Video by Luma Partners, U.S. consumers have approximately tripled the amount of time spent away from the TV watching digital video (with more than a quarter of viewers watching Youtube) since 2011. Other online companies like Facebook have cashed in on new video formats; Facebook alone gets 4 billion daily video views from its autoplay videos.
The line between linear and digital TV will continue to blur as TV companies and cable networks scramble to come up with solutions that integrate digital video. So how can direct marketers prepare for the convergence?
- Modify your creative strategy. If you haven’t been considering digital convergence in your creative strategies, you’re going to need to make a change ASAP. Especially considering TV companies and publishers are investing in digital platforms as a growing amount of advertisers are seeking premium inventory. Luma Partners predicts that digital video spend will rise to $9.5 billion by 2016, more than a $4 billion increase since 2014.
As you storyboard TV creative, think about how the video assets will be/can be used in a campaign. You need to start creating in-demand digital video than can be consumed on all platforms. And the sooner you realize that it’s much more difficult (and sometimes impossible) to retrofit TV creative for the web, the quicker you can become proactive rather than reactive.
- Continue to learn about your audience. Keep in mind that companies with a complex understanding of their audiences are going to be ahead of the game. Why? Because they know how to pique and keep the attention of their target audiences by collecting and analyzing detailed data about their audiences’ online and offline viewing behavior. Audience engagement will depend on this as digital continues to rise to the top and more and more linear and OTT options are shoved in the faces of consumers.
- Make quality, original content a priority. The power of video content that is well done and unique is obvious when you look at what digital companies like Netflix are doing. Investing in creating premium content (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, etc.) has helped Netflix attract and keep consumers interested while associating the company with quality content has bolstered the overall brand.
- Pay attention to mobile. As improved mobile buying becomes more prevalent, the convergence of linear and digital TV should speed up. Historically, the mobile buying experience hasn’t been great. In an Accenture survey of U.S. consumers, only 42 percent of shoppers found it easy to complete a purchase using a mobile device.
As the mobile buying experience improves and blends with other digital advancements, new advertising opportunities will open up, giving marketers more ways to put products in front of consumers. The Google Buy button is a great example. In the coming weeks, mobile users will begin seeing a Buy button when they search for purchasable items.
“Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace,” said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “By investing in mobile applications and frictionless digital payment tools…retailers can provide a seamless bridge between customers’ online and offline experiences. All sales channels must be equally desirable to the consumer, so that the path to purchase is not chosen based on satisfaction in one channel over another, but simply on what is most convenient at that time.”
Not sure how to build a marketing strategy that’s ready for digital convergence? Marketing Architects has nearly two decades of direct response marketing experience in all industries, from medical device to education and online business. We can work with you to build a responsive omni-channel market campaign equipped to take on the changing media landscape.