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When it comes to the Connected TV landscape, it truly is a wilderness out there.
Change in how we’re consuming media provides tremendous opportunity for both publishers and content creators looking to reach audiencea.
However, platform fragmentation and a myriad of technical and business constraints ensure that it’s never been so easy to get lost in the cost and complexity.
But, by treating the opportunity like a garden, with careful tending and maintenance on a regular basis, media organisations can use connected TV as a way to remain relevant with their audiences and deliver the differentiated experiences that will ensure viewers keep coming back for more.
Curate: plant the right content
When evaluating which connected TV device platform to target, it’s vital to sow the seeds for growth with a strategy that recognises that audience and content programming are deeply interlinked.
By better understanding both the quantity of an audience from a geographic perspective, and the profile of the audience from a consumption perspective, publishers can make far better informed content programming choices.
Examining demographics is key: media organisations must bear in mind that age, gender, a family or individual dynamic, and purchasing power can all vary, dependent on device and platform.
What’s more, usage patterns will differ by platform, as will connectivity and market adoption.
And establishing Connected TV ubiquity is not simply a technical exercise. Before it can expect users to flock to its app, a publisher needs to focus on establishing a long-term content programming strategy to ensure the viewer is presented with a dynamic and evolving consumption experience.
Key to Netflix’s digital ubiquity, for example, is its new original content programming that’s become a core differentiator for the company amongst its competitors.
The subscription service threw TV conventions aside when it release all 13 episodes of House of Cards to its subscribers in one sweep, and will do the same when it offers the fourth season of Arrested Development exclusively in May.
Shape: optimise your content
In the Connected TV ecosystem, one of the most commonly overlooked areas is metadata management. Each device platform has its own set of technical capabilities and limitations when it comes to video experiences, which means that a media organisation’s strategy has to factor in content optimisation.
The user interaction with a Connected TV is essentially a lean-back experience and requires both the consideration of screen real-estate and the input device. Typically limited actions via a remote control or, in less common cases, a difficult-to-use keyboard, motion or voice activation.
This requires an amount of re-thinking by the content organisation. A content structure needs be defined which suits a lean-back experience, so with limited user input gestures, and images optimised for larger screen sizes.
Content metadata should be more easily and consistently rendered without common desktop-oriented user interface motifs – so the likes of scrollbars, hovers and drag-and-drop.
Grow: measure and monetise
The very real costs of developing, launching, and then operating a digital initiative mean that a Connected TV device platform has to be considered in relation to its target audience and the solid ROI it can promise.
A vital part for any monetisation strategy is measurement – from measuring user behaviour across sessions, to video playback, and video quality of service.
Publishers can opt to use any number of analytic services – from Google Analytics, comScore or Nielsen – but the fundamental question they must address has to be: “How are users interacting with content in the context of the device platform?”
Understanding which content is “working” is core to the success of a content programming strategy, and a media organisation will likely see differing performance from one Connected TV platform to the next.
As a result, figures around the duration, genre, or promotion of content need to be put into the context of the consumption experience. In other words, publishers need to understand content performance on the Connected TV platform versus on mobile or desktop.
Very few publishers have the content or capability to harvest the ubiquity that Netflix has established.
But those who focus on determining where their audience lies, establish a long-term content programming strategy and streamlined user experience, and who also understand the measurable business benefits of launching to a particular platform will be primed for success.