According to Nielsen’s Year In Sports report, 2012 had a 45% increase in sports programming hours across cable and broadcast over 2011. While the Olympics helped bolster that number, the availability and accessibility of sports programming and content are continuously expanding.
The combination of more volume and accessibility naturally creates fragmentation to customize sports viewing. There is already on-demand access to the most recent scores, commentary, highlights and news through any device anywhere. And with increased accessibility, does this really mean cannibalization will occur, similar to the effects of streaming video on prime time ratings and cable subscriptions?
The answer is no. Sports is different. Here’s why:
ComScore and Google reported that consumers watch on average 17% more TV when using multiple screens to consume sports content. Total time spent also increased as screens were added, with total engaged time doubling from one to four screens. And with more vendors adopting an authentication model, you’ll need to keep your cable subscriptions anyway in order to access the content (legally) on other devices.
So, sports content consumption is becoming predominantly multi-screen, and simultaneous usage across multiple channels is increasing. TV, digital, mobile, and social platforms all go hand in hand with sports content. They create a multiplier effect of total media consumption that’s natural to the evolution of sports viewership patterns. It’s rare that you can organically include yourself in consumers’ normal behavior and engage them on multiple screens without soliciting an action or being obtrusive.
It’s not a question of which screen, but how to use the strengths of each screen holistically. The focus needs to be media aggregation and message amplification across all screens. The brands that will stand apart in this space will succeed at leveraging all those strengths, not cannibalizing one for the other. Fans aren’t doing that. They are on all of them, and you should be too.
Advertisers have found their way into consumers’ lives far beyond the typical 30-second TV spot or full-page ad. Branded entertainment, or branded content, takes product placement to another level. You won’t just see an advertiser’s product sitting on a judge’s table, this is a much more integrated approach that entertains the consumer and aligns with brand attributes. With a highly cluttered ad environment and increasing consumption of content, branded entertainment seems to be the route for advertisers to take to express their brand personality in a cost efficient and customizable way.
The world of interruptive ads may soon be a thing of the past. With the heavy adoption of online video sites like Hulu, and “TV our way” like TiVo and On Demand, advertisers are more concerned than ever with how to actively engage a consumer. So the world of advertising and entertainment merged as a result. But to see the benefits of branded entertainment, advertisers have to tell a compelling story first, more than just telling the story of their product or service. As a consumer, I could watch a 30-second TV spot and get a feel for a brand’s offering, but show me something with a storyline, conflicts and characters, and I am certain to connect and engage and understand the brand’s personality. What needs to be realized when a brand is entering this space is that before the content is “branded,” it needs to be entertaining content. The entire reason for a consumer to engage is for the entertainment factor and to gain a deep emotional connection. Once you’ve established that, brand favorability comes as a result.
It seems that this phenomenon has increased in popularity with everyone from the fashion industry to the automotive industry. A recent NY Times article reported on the deal between Bravo and Chase credit cards. The new series, “Around the World in 80 Plates Presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred,” seemed like a stretch at first. Twelve chefs traveling the world competing for culinary recognition with their trusty Chase card in hand for all of their traveling needs seems to be a less than seamless plug. But it’s more than a product plug, and although there will of course be the standard TV spot woven into the commercial breaks, Chase is tapping into what they believe the passions to be of their cardholders, travel and food. It will be interesting to see how integrated this approach will be when the chefs are cooking in Cambodia.
It all goes back to the emotion and connection. Any brand that reaches consumers in a way that makes them want to engage and see the next episode has done its job. As far a stretch as a credit card and a culinary competition is, the brand is becoming less of an advertiser and more of a personality.
Hispanics have always been identified as heavy consumers of online, mobile and social media. Digital technology plays an important role in the lives of Hispanics, as it’s primarily linked to two of their most important pillars: family connections and culture. The Internet makes their lives easier by providing quick access to information, products, and news from their countries of origin. As a result, the Hispanic digital landscape is evolving, and we’re starting to see how media consumption has been influenced by it.
When it comes to adopting new technology, Hispanics outshine their non-Hispanic counterparts in device ownership. A recent eMarketer study showed that 18% of Hispanics own a tablet, versus 8% of non-Hispanics, with similar patterns for Internet-enabled TVs, e-book readers and 3D TVs. With all these options, it’s no wonder media consumption habits are changing, especially when it comes to TV. Thanks to the influx of new technology, consumers have the opportunity to choose how, when and where they watch TV. Although this is where the market in general is heading, it’s fair to say that Hispanics may get there faster because of how they interact with new technology, particularly when it comes to connecting with family in their home countries.
According to eMarketer, Hispanics spend an average of six hours and twenty-two minutes per month watching online video, while white non-Hispanics spend only three hours and forty-four minutes, and African Americans spend five hours and forty-eight minutes per month. The reason Hispanics’ time spent is so much higher? In many cases, the Internet is the only way they can access programs, novelas and news from their home countries. Also, the Hispanic population tends to be younger than the general population, in parity with the online-heavy user, who is also younger.
A ComScore study revealed that Hispanics’ engagement levels with online advertising surpassed non-Hispanic consumers in 2010. Hispanics are also more likely to find online ads entertaining: approximately 31% of Hispanics enjoy watching online ads, versus 19% of non-Hispanics. Additionally, 36% of Hispanics are willing to click on ads to get further information about a product, versus 29% of non-Hispanics.
This means there’s a huge opportunity for networks and advertisers to connect with Hispanics via online video and web novelas. Univision recently announced a partnership with Hulu to provide Spanish language content to their subscribers, and Telemundo partnered with YouTube to launch a Spanish language video channel. It’s good to see how these networks acknowledge how TV viewing is evolving, and that they’re offering online content in order to better reach the Spanish-speaking Hispanic consumer.