Programming

Mobile Ready for Primetime, But TV Still King

Echoing common refrain, researchers at B&C/Multichannel News event want data to monetize cross-platform content, viewership 3/24/2010 02:23:00 PM Eastern

While video continues to be watched overwhelmingly on
traditional TV screens, mobile and Internet viewership is making cross-platform
interactivity part of mainstream media consumption, said a group of panelists
at the B&C/Multichannel News "TV
Everywhere & Anywhere" breakfast event March 24 at the Grand Hyatt in New York.

"Mobile
is really ready for primetime," said NBC Universal Research and Media Development
President Alan Wurtzel during a panel discussion on programming, moderated by Multichannel News Editor-in-Chief Mark
Robichaux. 

Wurtzel used NBC's recent Olympics coverage as a research
lab to look into how consumers are using media across multiple platforms. 

"The Olympics is an extraordinary opportunity for us to do
research," he said.  "We've always used
this to really try to get some insights."

Though Olympics viewership is not a completely accurate
indicator of day-to-day viewing patterns, Wurtzel had a few key takeaways from
his research.  The growth of mobile usage
has increased significantly, he said--70% of people using NBC's Olympic mobile WAP
site had not accessed it during the Beijing Olympics just a year and a half
ago. A spike in viewers using multiple screens at once was also evident--49% of
people accessing Olympics-related content from a mobile device were also
watching the games on TV, according to NBCU's research.

"Simultaneous cross-platform use is very normal," Wurtzel
said. 

But while all of the multiplatform possibilities once made
researchers wonder if TV was becoming obsolete, the data shows the TV screen is
still by far the most-watched medium. While Robichaux cited a survey showing a
35% annual increase in hours spent watching video on the Internet, TV still
accounts for 97% of all video viewing. 

"TV still remains the king," Wurtzel said, adding that
mobile and Internet content was about "complimenting and supplementing" TV.

The key for networks and operators is to get value for the
content, wherever it is being watched. 

"What we see here is an evolution," said Nora Ryan,
strategic advisor at Epix, the multiplatform movie channel designed for
cross-platform viewing.  "We're seeing a
new opportunity to reach the next generation of television viewers." 

Rentrak Chief Research Operator Bruce Goerlich agreed with
Wurtzel that simultaneous viewing of the Olympics was a "harbinger" of
increased multi-screen viewing.  "Our
brains and wiring have changed," Goerlich said, referring to the pace that
television runs and the viewers ability to process information.  But, voicing a common refrain, Goerlich said
the only way to monetize the new media viewing experience is with adaptable
metrics.

Wurtzel said generating data from one person's multiplatform
viewing is a valuable breakdown for advertisers, but added, "To try to measure
the volume of these three platforms [TV, Internet and mobile] is very
daunting."

Still, the days of measuring ratings from a set-top box,
much like the days of only watching linear television, seem long gone.  "Give me a break," Wurtzel said.  "That is so over." 

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