How people are watching and engaging with broadcast TV content is changing dramatically in the USA. Surprise, surprise, It’s no longer linear. It’s no longer scheduled. It’s no longer exclusively in front of a TV screen. “TV Everywhere” is becoming mainstream. It’s the latest buzzword for viewing broadcast shows from channels you subscribe to on your satellite network or devices. TV apps like HBO Go, Watch ESPN, CNBC, and cable companies offering their own branded apps like Comcast’s Xfinity TV Go. 1 in 5 American households are watching TV Everywhere content and it’s growing significantly faster than other online video sources like YouTube, Hulu or Daily Motion according to Adobe’s Digital Index.
Closer to home, the Australian TV networks and telco’s no doubt have picked up on this new revenue stream as Foxtel Go is our best example of this model, but how are they driving engagement around their content?
Several American TV networks are re-imagining the second screen experience and experimenting with new ways for people to participate with social elements when the person is already on their phone/tablet. Here are 5 recent innovative American examples:
1. High quality, bold, branded content:
To promote the second season of the Showtime series “Masters of Sex”, the network hired filmmaker Tatia Pilieva (“The Kiss” creator whose video for clothing line Wren earned 86m views) to create a video clip on YouTube titled “Undress Me,”. Seeding innovative teasers on YouTube is proving to be an effective strategy to generate interest in ‘tune-into’ events.
2. Tease Exclusive bonus content and Insider Info in real time:
As an official sponsor of Pretty Little Liars, Audi Snapchatted exclusive bonus content from the ABC Family program and the show’s stars in real time. SnapChat and Instagram are Millennial mediums of choice and need to be considered in delivering ‘first to view’ content.
3. Experiment with social platform features to build plot suspense
Hulu is the first brand to test sponsored posts on Whisper, an app that lets users post anonymous messages about their deepest secrets, biggest regrets, and strangest desires. For their new series Deadbeat, about a New York resident who helps ghosts take care of their nasty unfinished business they’re posting prompts, i.e.:. “Describe the worst fight you’ve ever gotten into with a rival” to pique interest in the show. A great example of matching a show’s narrative with a social platform’s unique context.
4. Contextually relevant media partnerships:
To promote the release of its new series “Satisfaction,” a show that deals with modern marriages, USA Network teamed up with Vice Media and HowAboutWe – a dating site – to start a cultural dialogue around the subjects of today’s relationships with the thought–provoking question: #AreYouSatisfied? among the very people who might be pondering this question and thus be interested in the show.
5. Use characters to “meet” new fans:
To plug Season 4, The Walking Dead, a Zombie show in New Zealand, TVNZ deployed female models to engage with over 500 guys on Tinder, and as their ‘relationships’ deepened, photos and responses slowly deteriorated, leaving little more than incoherent zombies who rattled off the launch date. Mindy Kaling (star of Fox’s The Mindy Project) also surprises viewers on Tinder, a clever way to attract potential new viewers with matching interests.
If TV Everywhere trend continues it’s global growth, brands like Foxtel Go should be experimenting with innovative social ideas to drive engagement and advocacy around their shows.