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How the “Best Available Screen” Will Change Mobile Advertising

Anytime. Anywhere. Any device. As the distinction between the internet and television begins to narrow, a transformation is in motion not only by popular online video platforms we’re used to, but by best-in-class content providers like HBO and ESPN/Disney, and advertisers are noticing.

The Shift in Mobile Viewership:

Just last year, the amount of online video available to view on mobile and tablet devices would have taken three full years to consume. In 2012, less than one year later, that number is up to a staggering 5.5 years, an increase of 83% and growing (according to media and communications research firm Wolzien LLC). The way we choose to view video online is changing right before our eyes, and so is the advertising that’s reaching us.

Major content and media providers are learning they can increase user growth by offering mobile platforms that reach their audience at any place and any time and one thing is becoming clear: consumers are willing to endure viewing ads and in some cases even pay for mobility.

Whether through paid subscription services like HBO’s “HBO GO” or free to use ad supported platforms like Hulu, the preference to view content where and when we want is growing at an incredible rate. Even our living rooms are becoming smarter. According to DisplaySearch, by the end of 2015 over 500 million Smart TVs with internet connectivity will be in our homes changing not only the way we search for and consume content, but how and when brand messaging reaches us.


Reaching the Four Screens:

With popular new multi-platform products like ESPN’s “Watch ESPN,” what was once a distant vision is now a very clear reality. The option for a viewer to watch live sports coverage of an opening tee time at the U.S. Open Golf Championship on their flat screen television over breakfast, continue viewing on a tablet from a bench in Central Park during lunch, and catching highlights from their smartphone at their favorite restaurant over dinner is becoming a realistic next generation way to consume content.

Platforms such as HBO’s “HBO Go” offer a digital experience with intuitive navigation and interactive show extras tailored to enhance the mobile experience, encouraging users to keep coming back.

Given this new scope, reaching the four screens (TV, desktop, smartphone, and tablet) is playing a larger role than ever in digital strategy for brands. Advertisers are eager to reach viewers during the following peak "out of room" viewing times (calculated for online video consumption, weekdays):

Desktops: Peak occurs at 12 noon.

Mobile: Peak occurs on commute home beginning at 5pm.

Tablets: Peak occurs between the hours of 9pm – 11pm


The Impact on Mobile Advertising:

How will this shift in viewership have an impact on your brand's mobile campaigns? The convergence of television and internet / mobile devices are reshaping traditional broadcasting into a model of “narrowcasting” which presents the consumer with the right message, in the right place at the right time.

As content providers and video platforms continue to expand their reach to a mobile audience at a rapid pace, users will become more comfortable viewing content on alternative screens, casting the net even wider for advertisers. HULU’s groundbreaking Ad Swap program is the first designed to allow a user to choose or “swap” the ad they prefer to watch, instantly indicating relevance and intent, two crucial real time metrics for conversion and ROI.

This transformational shift happening before our viewing eyes will continue to benefit the end user, and with more new options on the horizon one thing is certain: we’ll stay tuned for more.

*This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Prime Visibility's "Prime Insights" thought leadership newsletter.


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