Now, I’m in my parents’ shoes with my own children. Floppy disks and life without smartphones and tablets will never occur to them. After all, a friend of mine recently told me his daughter tried to swipe the television screen with her fingers to change channels.
It’s no secret that the way we digest content has evolved, and the growth of online video and mobile access to it are major contributors to this shift. The screen of choice changes with each device introduction. The “second screen,” of tablets and smartphones, is becoming the “first screen,” surpassing the television.
So what is causing the shift to tablet and smartphone viewing over television? While our parents may have been obsessed with bigger and bigger televisions, today it’s no longer about screen size. The online video and mobile shift can partially be explained by the following:
Convenience – While this may be a no-brainer, it is still one of the major factors contributing to mobile viewing. Smartphones and cloud-based video services allow for easy viewing on-the-go or wherever you please. If you’re like me, sometimes you prefer to watch something on your tablet because you can move from room to room, chair to couch. Plus, I can start watching a show on Hulu or Netflix on my tablet during my morning commute and finish watching the program on my phone at the gym that night. The television certainly doesn’t have that same portability.
Additionally, as more people interact on social media platforms -- live tweeting or engaging in cast chats during television programs -- it’s often easier to view video content and interact on social media from one device. More and more, social media buttons are included within the video player for easy use.
Content – Premium content is one of the major incentives for mobile video, and more providers are recognizing the importance of providing premier access and exclusive content to attract online and mobile viewers. The WWE will launch the WWE Network on February 24, a 24/7 streaming service that provides scheduled programming as well an on-demand viewing library. For $9.99 per month, users will have access to live pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania (the Super Bowl of wrestling), uncensored and uncut classic matches, documentaries, original series, pre- and post- event extras and more.
While WWE programming can still be viewed on cable networks USA, SyFy and E!, the WWE network offers not only more content than these television networks are providing , but at a much lower cost than paying for cable.
Cost - In most cases, for the cost of cable service, mobile and online viewers could subscribe to Internet access and/or multiple video subscription services. On top of that, they can choose the content they want, in addition to where and when they want to watch it, all for an affordable price. Even broadcast viewers are moving to online and mobile viewing and taking advantage of networks offering more shows online or via mobile apps. Similarly, services like Aereo provide live broadcast television programming on iOS and Android devices as well as through the Internet browser for a basic membership rate of $8 per month.
As consumer brands and their audiences move toward the online and mobile viewing content model, there will likely be an opportunity for the enterprise to follow with video repositories and corporate channels. Mobile, online and on-demand access is increasingly important for businesses, especially those operating in various office locations and time zones. Corporate messaging and customer outreach will influence more people and be more effective if audiences can easily view or access the content provided.
Businesses need to keep in mind that it’s not an all or nothing approach with mobile and online content. Cross-platform interaction works best when incorporating this content with more traditional outreach (e.g. print, television) as long as the mobile and online strategy complements your current communication efforts. At the end of the day, your customers will have more opportunities to connect with your brand, and viewership, customer loyalty and hopefully sales will skyrocket.