MIPCube 2012 – On the Go! Chasing and Keeping Eyeballs
Tech savvy and “ahead of the curve” are dated lingo, as a new media age dawns all around us. The credit (or blame) for seismic shifts happening right now in TV land, boils down to some very powerful, run-away phenomena that didn’t even exist five years ago. But now, the internet boom has finally happened, alongside other technological advances giving us a whole new vocabulary and realities to contend with: social media, Twitter, Facebook, smart phones, tablets (iPads). There’s an infestation of “second screens” and OTHER PLATFORMS too! No wonder that TV network executives are scrambling to learn as much as they can, as fast as possible, their survival is threatened, extinction a possibility.
And so springs to life solution providers who were neatly organized into speaker panels, presented at a brand new Reed Midem initiative called MIPCube, which conveniently ran just prior to the start of MIPTV in Cannes. Over 39 overlapping MIPCube sessions, packed into just two short days!
MIPCube offered its Architects of the Future sessions to a small coterie of participants (about 600 in all, vs. the 11,000+ MIP attendees). Questions were answered, by new media executives and new digital companies. Start ups competed at MIPCube by presenting ingenious ways for networks who desperately want to keep those eyeballs glued to their content, to at least make money from other platforms if your viewer switches to another screen and keeps watching YOUR content. Live streaming on the internet is no longer the best answer. Audience engagement and total immersion are the game-changing solution. “Second screens” like smart phones and iPads will serve up what everybody seems to want: added value, and a feeling of being important. The audience is no longer satisfied with being passive!
So the hippest TV channels are hyper-focused on having producers and tech solution providers make 2nd screen experiences that “push you back” to the 1st screen. Viewer participation and satisfaction is achieved through competitions, social activities and other multi-screen experiences. All ideally in sync with the main screen, the flat one at home.
If you were a TV network executive, wouldn’t you also pursue business options that will line your coffers with revenue from web streaming AND bring higher ratings back to your shows? Of course you would, once you’ve accepted the brutal reality of research facts like “51% of the primetime audience are multi-screen users between 8 and 10 p.m.” Translation: half the TV audience isn’t exclusively watching prime time anymore! To give us rapt MIPCubers some additional perspective, VIEWRZ Guillaume Rivals explained that in 2011 in France “2,000,000,000 views of TV extracts were seen.” Thus, all the new tech companies who create user-friendly internet interfaces for network TV content enable networks to monetize their content in ways never even imagined a few short years ago.
And TV network library content? Entire platforms like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon are generating amazing revenues, and boosting ratings for new seasons according to Josh Sapan, President and CEO of AMC Networks. He’s convinced that Mad Men’s recent Season five premiere was 40% higher than the averaged ratings across the first four seasons. Meaning that a whole lot more viewers were “collected” and became Mad Men fans, because of Netflix. For the pay TV business at least, we were told that it’s all about “total audience multi-screen engagement and immersion.”
Even with kids’ channels, the little viewers are just as happy as their parents are to screen hop away to iPads and phones; in the blink of an eye, they’re gone! To preempt such prospective losses, most channels are streaming their on-air transmissions simultaneously to other platforms. Proactive entrepreneurs who provide this service, who know how to monetize these streams and screens, were touted via MIPCube2012 as the way to “See the future of TV through the eyes of the game-changers.”