ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Transitioned Media: Traditional TV to Digital

By Dennis Anderson, Gali Einav

Do you watch your favorite television program or film on your laptop or mobile device? Do you run home to your evening network 6:30? Do you wait for the commercial break to go to the bathroom? Do you have more than 100 friends on Facebook? Did you send or read a Tweet today? Now stop and think for a minute, how would you answer these questions five years ago?

After generations of fairly stable TV viewing habits, recent years have brought significant changes to our media consumption habits. The new millennium has introduced an accelerated pace of change to the media industry brought on by the advent of an abundance of digital devices and the Internet. Some changes are apparent, as new technologies reach mainstream, while some implications can only be suggested. The result is one of the most fascinating times in the history of media. 

New forms of video distribution and applications over laptops, mobile devices, game consoles, and digital screens have created the need to reinvent many facets of the media business. Traditional content are constantly blurring and changing, as are business and organizational models. Advertising models are morphing before our eyes. Growing audience fragmentation has created the need for new forms of audience measurement. Above all, it is imperative to understand how media consumers are adjusting to these changes. Especially the growing number of “digital natives” who know nothing but an Internet--oriented media environment and are increasingly migrating to mobile platforms

Is it the end of media as we know it? In some ways it is. In many ways it is creating one of the most exciting times in the history of media in general and television in particular.

The advertising business, for example, has been going through a multitude of changes. Each year, Madison Avenue dispenses 70 billion dollars on television advertising. While brands pour money into 30 second or less spots, their consumers are multitasking online and taking their video with them. According to Comscore, 85 percent of Americans watched online video in May 2011 and 70 percent of all online traffic is video as reported by Cisco. Brands need to take stock and ask themselves a simple question: What's my content strategy? 

TV is a terrible place to reach 18-34 year olds. Many of this prime consumer group have left or moved on to the Internet or mobile media. Twenty years ago, the median age in the U.S. for ABC viewers was 37; today it is 51. At Fox, its median age rose from 29 to 44. MTV is up to 23. Younger viewers are slowly migrating online.

One third of viewers under 25 get "most" or "all" of their content from the Web (eMarketer). The TV is even less important for tablet owners, 65 percent of iPad owners are under the age of 35 (Nielsen). And don't forget the game consoles, which are IP-enabled and loaded with services like Netflix. These are in almost half of American households.

The way to reach these audiences include online content.  Former NBC Entertainment co-Chairman, Ben Silverman, has created Electus, a branded entertainment production company. They are helping marketers like Wrigley, State Farm, and Smirnoff create original content for the Web. Content rights remain with Electus, therefore allowing them to sell content to other platforms, such as television.

The biggest success in 2010 was the Old Spice campaign. Over three days, advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy shot 180 original videos around the clock, creating videos and responding to fans and celebrities. The campaign received 6 million views on its first day and is one of the most viewed channel on YouTube. Sales rose 55 percent over 3 months and Old Spice became the no. 1 body wash for men. 

Advertising is one example of the changing face of the television business, building a two-way bridge between viewing platforms. In this ongoing column we will rethink media as it transitions into the digital realm. We will cover issues related to the emerging new media technologies, such as changes in content models, measurement and consumer behavior. We hope to engage our readers with thought provoking issues of the day. 

Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved