Technology

Next TV: Monetization Still a 'Train Wreck,' But Shows Signs of Clearing

Panelists predict device fragmentation will continue, stress understanding consumer habit 3/21/2013 12:43:27 PM Eastern

New York -- A cross-section of new-TV platform experts both lamented
the "train wreck" of the landscape in terms of monetization and expressed great
optimism about the leaps technology will take in coming years.

"There is a movement happening" to reap profits from the new
multiplatform landscape, said Tom Ahn Hicks, head of business development and
strategy for adRise, during the panel discussion "Monetizing Video and
Advertising on New Platforms" during B&C/Multichannel News' Next TV Summit on
Thursday in New York.

"The space is still highly fragmented," said Christie
Hartbarger, VP, strategic alliances and field marketing for YuMe. "The app
world is a nice way for people to find content. The content discovery piece is
where a lot of the development needs to happen." Hicks noted that game consoles
remain the leading alternate platforms for TV content, followed by streaming
boxes such as Roku and followed by smart TVs. Adding to the crowding is the
fact that hardware manufacturers have often insisted on having their own user
interfaces and content systems.

"It's a train wreck," said Ashwin Navin, CEO of Flingo, an
app developer that is rolling out an automatic content recognition app for
video à la Shazam. The challenge, he said, centers on gaps in the content
experience—that is, consumers accustomed to a certain caliber of content via
their MSO's set-top box being frustrated by not getting the same experience on
newer platforms. That, in turn, hinders monetization via ad-supported apps and
other means.

"Even the best interface in the world isn't going to make up
for the lack of content," he added. "The most relevant, culturally interesting
content is too expensive to play with."

Meghann Elrhoul, VP, client services and analytics for
Trendrr, argued throughout the session that understanding customer behavior is
the key to making money.

"For consumers, it's confusing," she said. "You have a
different app for every single program. We have to understand how consumers are
discovering content." She shared a few intriguing stats during the session,
noting, for example, that 96% of Facebook conversation around TV content occurs
when programs are not airing. Also, last December showed a 200% surge in social
TV conversation over 2011 levels, despite the fact that December has not
historically been a top viewing month overall.

Frank Sinton, CEO of Beachfront Media, said thinking broadly
is important, echoing a theme mentioned earlier in the day by EPIX president
and CEO Mark Greenberg. "Content needs to be cross-platform," he said. "It
needs to be everywhere on day one."

Hartbarger agreed. "Consumers are everywhere," she said. "We
get so siloed—we're thinking, 'What's our mobile strategy? What's our social
strategy?' ...But that's not what consumers are thinking. They just want the
content."

Moderator Guy Finley, executive director of MESA and the 2nd
Screen Society, closed by asking panelists for their views on where things are
headed.

Answers covered a wide gamut, but Elrhoul's particularly
suited the dark cloud/silver lining conversation. She cited Trendrr research on
AMC's The Walking Dead. "Social conversation is happening during
commercials or after the show. So that's disruptive from an advertising
perspective. But it shows an incredible level of engagement."

 

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