comScore: Connected consumers drive usage

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    An executive from digital measurement firm comScore shared research at the Cable Show in Boston last month about the appetite that “connected consumers” have for content on all platforms. Other media and technology execs during this session explained their efforts to meet that demand.

    “Connected consumers don’t only enjoy content on TV, but they enjoy content on the PC and on the mobile platform,” said Joan Fitzgerald, comScore VP, TV and Cross Platform Services, during a session on the Imagine Park stage moderated by Canoe Ventures Chief Product Officer Arthur Orduna. â€œThey’re really using the PC and the mobile platforms as an extension of their entertainment experience.”

    This is a growing category. The number of consumers viewing online video daily in the U.S. expanded nearly 43 percent from December 2010 to December 2011, according to comScore Video Metrix. But far from cutting cords, this group of more than 100 million Americans is still plugged in. “Online video consumers also tend to consume more of the same content on TV,” Fitzgerald said.

    In a study of ten major broadcast and cable networks, comScore found that these connected video consumers were driving usage of content across the board. “They were consistently using more, they were consistently engaging more,” Fitzgerald said. “These additional platforms don’t cannibalize the core television audience.”

    Instead, comScore is seeing the rise of both new “dayparts” and simultaneous usage. Traffic on tablets, mobile devices and computers follow regular patterns over a day, with tablets paralleling traditional TV primetime. The kinds of content tending toward to simultaneous usage include sports, news and young entertainment programming in the music category.

    Large brand advertisers have followed these consumers, and this shift has driven the need for more data on advertising effectiveness. In a multi-screen case study, comScore found that overall frequency levels were roughly the same for multi-screen consumers as they were for the television audience.

    “But where that exposure frequency comes from is very different,” Fitzergald said. “It’s coming about half from TV and half from digital for these new emerging consumer groups called the connected consumer or the multi-screen consumer.”

    Others during this Imagine Park session at the Cable Show demonstrated applications and discussed how they are serving this market. Sean Casey, CEO and Founder of SocialGuide, which “takes an electronic program guide and turns it into a social program guide,” confirmed one of Fitzgerald’s points about content that tends to be shared. “Sports is only 2 percent of all programming, but 50 percent of all social activity,” he said.

    Matt Murphy, SVP, Digital Video Distribution for Disney & ESPN Media Networks, said the past year and a half has included experimentation, including the stripping out of ads to make more space for local avails. But with the ‘Watch’ brands (e.g. Watch ESPN) now before 40 million households, the programmer has learned some lessons, such as reducing friction in accessing TV Everywhere sites.

    “Registration has its challenges,” Murphy said. “If you create barriers, they’ll go somewhere else.”

    John Gilles, EVP, Sales and Marketing for Coincident, described a rich companion screen application that his company has created for enthusiastic fans of the hit show Glee. The Coincident technology consists of drag-and-drop authoring software, a deterministic control plane that is “very tightly synchronized with video” and a measurement platform that allows the operator or content owner to track consumer behavior on the apps.

    In a final demo, Greg Calvert, Director, Video Product Management, Time Warner Cable, showed how live channels were presenting on (currently iOS-based) second-screen devices. Framing the Time Warner TV app is a mini-guide called the Channel Surfer. Calvert said it “has proven to be a user-friendly and efficient way to scroll through to see what’s on now and what’s on next,” although with the app now carrying more than 250 live channels “the list is getting pretty long.”

    “In the upcoming version, we’ll be adding some filtering and the ability to carry favorites over and allow the user to personalize this experience more,” he said.

    (For a full viewing of this session, visit Fora.TV.)

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