That’s up one hour since 2011. Mobile video usage, for example, increased by 218% since 2012. That said, are we at a media consumption saturation point? There is only so much multi-tasking possible in one day and there are hints that we are at a saturation point. Here’s one big hint: Columbia University reports most people social-share content based on a headline, without ever actually having read the article. If you like to read, the study recap is here.
The majority of media engagement is still with TV. And, for goodness sakes, there is A LOT of new programming. August will have the Olympics, but if I were NBC, I might think about re-framing the Olympics as more of a “fixer upper” reality show than sports content. With Zika risks, dangerous bacteria-laced water, Russian track and field banned and now many celebrity athletes dropping out, the Olympics may not be a contender for ratings buster.
This week we focus on another start up in the ecosystem of over-the-top TV solutions, TubiTV, which, as a parenthetical aside, is such a great name. Paramount supported, TubiTV is getting a lot of attention from Madison Avenue with its sweet-spot confluence of technology, user experience and business model. The “model” success is a sublimely simple take on the standard model of free content in exchange for ad attention. TubiTV’s ad break utilizes a countdown timer, subconsciously reminding the viewer that a few seconds of ads are an inexpensive exchange for free content. I’ve seen Good Morning America test this in some of its breaks. Hulu’s free model is another of our favorites – limited ad interruption with user ability to signal whether ad was relevant. With “viewability” becoming currency for digital display ad value and with “TV” becoming increasingly connected, it’s only a matter of time before “engagement” is a TV measurement standard. Because, remember, currently TV ratings are really against the programming and not the commercial break.
Fraudulent clicks aren’t solely to blame. There’s the increasingly disconcerting issue of ad blocking. Ad blocking is one reason mobile ad spending is expected to overtake desktop by 2017. Ad blocking is more widely adopted on desktop than mobile: 63.2 million ad-blocking users on desktop to 20.7 million users on mobile. It is estimated that more than 25% of internet users will block ads.
Our agency is responding by incorporating viewability in attribution measures. Publishers are responding as well, since, essentially, their content is hijacked by ad blockers. As background, some ad blockers charge publishers, like Google, a fee for allowing “acceptable” ads to be viewed. Any ad deemed unacceptable is blocked. In any other scenario this would be called “ransom.” The New York Times is readying an ad-free edition, allowing users to opt out of ads for a fee. I think the subscription revenue model has been attempted. It will be interesting to see how successful this resurrection will be.
Well, apparently that’s not just a consumer reaction. Facebook, in an interesting twist on technology companies creating content, is paying celebrities to generate live content. So far, with more than $50 million budgeted for live content, the biggest deal is with BuzzFeed, worth about $3 million. Is this the future of live TV and will it make YouTube videos and streaming video, like TubiTV, so last century?