Brands need to leverage TV viewing’s shift to tablets and phones

According to a study by Nielsen, the amount of time Americans spend watching television is on the decline, but viewing actually is growing as people use tablets and smartphones. Partly as a result of this research, Nielson predicts the rise of what they call the “Zero-TV” household.

Let’s face it, the reality of how we consume home entertainment is literally staring us in the face. It’s easier to watch your favorite show on your iPad, laptop or even phone because you can choose when and where you want to watch the program. Based on all of this, network executives are forcing themselves to change with technology by offering entertainment content in different ways and creating a new system to measure actual viewership through the expanse of formats beyond television.

So the big question is – what can marketers think about in terms of leveraging digital content in the short term?  Here are a few tips:

  • Socially Integrate with Hot Properties: Netflix recently premiered its first-ever original series “House of Cards.” By most standards, the experiment was a huge success. The company’s subscribership is up, they continue to get viewers and the series was a critical success. Next up for Netflix is a limited-run return of the cult series “Arrested Development.” Both shows provide huge opportunities for brand marketers. A slight example is the promotional teaser for “Arrested Development,” which features a grape juice box. It’s unbranded, but it could have been any name brand juice company. From a social impact standpoint, emerging channels such as Pivot, a new digital and social distribution network via Participant Media’s hub, will allow brands to support social change via Through this channel, online viewers will also have the opportunity to take action and support a cause immediately and engage with others who are watching.
  • Make What’s Old New Again: Recently, Prospect Park Online Television announced it would produce and distribute ABC’s cancelled soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Distributed through both Hulu and iTunes, most of the original casts are returning. Beyond banner ads, both shows are ripe for integration opportunities that would never have been possible on network television. Hey Boomer brand, jump on these shows now! This could be the online version of “Hallmark Hall of Fame.”
  • Create Your Own Content: Will Ferrell’s “Funny or Die” website (and social channels) has a huge following and a successful track record working with brands. Recently two Cone clients Honey Nut Cheerios and Tidy Cats worked with Funny or Die to co-produce humorous content. Combined, both videos reach more than half a million viewers and received considerable media attention.
  • Think About Your Brand Spokesperson/Expert as a Content Generator: The use of celebrity spokespeople and brand experts in public relations has been a longstanding practice, but it has become just as important to work with these folks to co-create original content tied to brand campaigns. A good example is Cone client Green Mountain, who partnered with musician Michael Franti and created a video journal of his trip to Sumatra to help consumers learn about Fair Trade through his experience of meeting farmers who grow coffee beans for the brand.


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