By Jamie Searle, Director of Content Partnerships and Creator Services at Rightster
MIPCOM 2015, the annual trade show for entertainment content, took place this month in Cannes, bringing together the biggest names in the television industry. With the likes of Facebook, ITV and Hulu in attendance, the question of how technology and traditional linear formats sit together was a big focus of the conference. Facebook, in particular, was addressed in detail, with announcements on new engagement tools and API development further cementing Facebook’s place as the primary second screen platform; especially with voting functionality to add to the conversation around linear TV events. In Nicola Mendelsohn’s (VP EMEA, Facebook) keynote, she described how 75 percent of Facebook’s video views were on mobile, and they are delivering 4 billion views a day.
TV x Twitter
It’s not just Facebook either; Twitter too is stepping up the charge to compete on ownership of TV conversation via the TV x Twitter product, which uses hashtags, live tweets and promoted tweets alongside TV advertising and programmes. Twitter also announced some interesting new developments in its Amplify offering. These make it easier for advertisers to run ads against defined premium content categories, and to showcase video via promoted tweets. It is now much easier for video content owners to monetise via direct video uploads to desktop, which run pre-rolls from advertisers who want to reach audiences in a particular category organically.
From a multi-platform perspective, brands, content owners and creators should be aware of these changes and think about how they can advertise and create relevant content that plays to the strength of each platform. These developments also create opportunities for enhanced data to boost efficiency on campaigns. It allows studios and producers who are developing digital-first brands to gain further value from their paid media spend on these platforms, as they build their owned and operated audiences.
The SVOD upsell
Fullscreen’s Rooster Teeth is a great example of a ‘digital-first ’producer with a large subscriber base (19 million in total) targeting a younger male audience. It is digital-first original programming that is really making waves when it comes to how traditional TV industries adapt to digital audiences. As traditional TV usage amongst millennial viewers is falling (by 10.6 per cent between September 2014 and January 2015, according to a Nielsen survey earlier this year), for Fullscreen and other TV businesses, a shift to subscription video on demand (SVOD) is important as a revenue stream. Upselling pre-existing large audiences to SVOD services where there is already a pre-baked audience (for example with Rooster Teeth) alongside compelling originals is Fullscreen’s play here.
Video and talent integration
Brands themselves are becoming an increasingly important destination for content sales as they look to integrate user-generated and viral content into creative campaigns. Rightster’s launch of VideoSpring, a product that helps brands and agencies source and license video content for their own advertising campaigns, generated a lot of interest from clip library owners at MIPCOM, for example.
As TV companies embrace technology to address declining younger audiences, there was a notable increase in the number of distributors and production companies featuring or starring YouTube influencers in their programmes and films. This included BBCWW’s ‘Joe & Caspar Hit The Road’ with Joe Sugg (who has 5.4 million subscribers on YouTube) and Thatcher Joe (5 million subscribers), initially on DVD and VOD. Novel has recently announced ‘Cinemaniacs’ for CBBC, which features YouTuber Oli White (1.5 million subscribers) as well. TV companies should work creatively with digital talent to come up with new ideas. These new ideas present opportunities both for the talent and for the companies that are aiming to reach younger audiences. Expect to see TV companies working with Facebookers, Viners and Snapchat stars in 2016.
The real opportunity here is for TV businesses to utilise these touchpoints with influencers more holistically, in order to build owned and operated digital communities around their own brands. If MIPCOM 2015 taught us one thing, it was that TV organisations are recognising that they need to embrace technology in order to reach milliennial audiences.