Second Screen Emerging; TV Advertising Drives Online – With A Price

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February 6, 2012 – 12:03 am

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Second Screen Super Bowl

Now that Super Bowl XLVI is over, expect to see a lot more ink (print and virtual) spilled dissecting what sort of impact the use of mobile devices had on viewership and advertising. Expectations have certainly been high that this year's big game represented a watershed moment for video streaming – the game was shown live on for the very first time – and social TV apps like Shazam, IntoNow, GetGlue and others all have loaded special features designed to keep users connected throughout the proceedings.

As marketers and agencies prepare for the Oscar's, the ramping up of national political races and the summer Olympics, the value of the second screen during the Super Bowl will be assessed from all angles. A number of studies have been issued in recent weeks to indicate what sort of usage the second screens of smartphones and tablets will get in relation to the Super Bowl. Lost Remote did its own survey, after pointing to a separate Yahoo and Razorfish study that said 94 percent of mobile multitaskers communicate while watching TV (texting, talking, email, social networks and IM), which included some interesting stats:

  • The 83 percent of respondents who said they would have their mobile device in hand during the game also said they would be using their smartphones/tablets more this year than last year. (It makes sense, given all the mobile content being tailored to the broadcast).
  • 13 percent of mobile device users say they'll check their smartphones/tablets during the game action, while 26 percent will wait for commercial breaks. (This could be good for Shazam, as almost half of all the Super Bowl TV ads are Shazam-able)
  • Males are twice as likely as females (26 percent compared to 13 percent) to use their devices during the halftime show (Really? Are men really bigger Madonna fans than women?).
  • Among the 18-34 year olds who will check their device during the game's broadcast, they plan to use their smartphone/tablet an average of 19 times. (Does anyone really known how many times they check Twitter in a given four-hours? Seems like a dubious stat, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility).

It all sounds like pretty heady times for the power of the second screen. But, to use a tortured football analogy, the space hasn't even reached the first down in terms of exercising actual potency as a marketing tool to the main broadcast event.

The mobile marketing activity is all strictly "pre-game," if anything. But whatever consumer behavior can be gleaned from this past Super Bowl game will certainly have tremendous influence over the course of this year and next, especially around the coming big TV events in the coming months. And that will determine how quickly marketers and media companies expand their embrace of digital as an essential part of the TV viewing experience.

Want Online Viewers? Advertise On TV (If You Can Afford It)

Using a 30-second TV spot to get viewers to watch original, live online video programming reminds us of a quote attributed to Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin. "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them," he supposedly said. Well, it didn't quite work out that way for the Soviet Union, but ironically, using TV ads to move viewers away from TV viewing is what Tea Party favorite Glenn Beck has been doing to build an audience for his burgeoning subscription-based conservative politics and news site.

Mediapost's Wayne Friedman took note of Beck's promotion, which invites users to view his entire site for free trial for 14 day before deciding whether or not to accept the $9.95 monthly access fee, and pointed out the fact of how unusual it is to see a TV ad for online programming. Back in the early boom times of the dot-com days, when ads for and their now defunct ilk took over the Super Bowl, such marketing efforts would not have seemed out of place. But back then, when most connections were of the slow, constantly buffering and blurred dial-up variety, online video programming was still just a dream.

Now, digital video is ubiquitous thanks to deep broadband penetration. But the proliferation of video sites, and the surging growth of ad dollars into the space, have not yet created sites that have the wherewithal to spend their revenues on expensive TV ads.

Although Beck, a millionaire several times over, could afford to finance the ads himself, it appears that his site does have financial heft in its own right to support TV spots. Just on name recognition alone, BTIG's Rich Greenfield has estimated that the site's 230k paying subs are collectively spending $27.6 million for access.

TV advertising surely has some effect on consumer behavior – if it didn't, would it continue to outpace all other forms of ad spending? – so being able to draw TV viewers to an online-only production should help drive those numbers higher.

Ultimately, as online video starts to look more like TV – the preview of AOL's Huffington Post Streaming Network and YouTube's promotion of more "professional" channels are two good examples of how media companies are trying to reshape the video space – it will likely be more difficult for the panoply of video sites that have sprung up the past few years to tap that increasing ad spending.

Hot Rumor: VideoNuze hears that Verizon & Redbox will announce their Netflix-killer OTT service on Monday. We'll be listening for more and whether there will be any opportunities for advertisers.

But Wait. There's More!

By David Kaplan

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February 6, 2012 – 12:03 am

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