TV Marketers’ New Best Bud: Online Video

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fistbump_smallADOTAS – One of the most interesting television viewership statistics I’ve recently read is Nielsen’s report that this season’s new comedies are showing a significant uptick in viewer engagement, as measured by recall of details within an episode, with a 5% increase over last year. Programmers should be proud of this fact, which in part reflects the quality of the product they’re putting on the air.

It also, however, reflects the power of online video as a promotional engine for today’s TV marketer. The entertainment discovery experience that is uniquely made possible by short-form online video is changing the way people find, watch and share their favorite television shows – resulting in fans who are more enthusiastic than ever before.

According to the 2010 Magid Media Futures study, half of Internet users now watch online video weekly – or even more frequently. And clips from TV shows are among the most frequently viewed videos online.

The fact that broadcast and cable networks alike are now making so many more clips, outtakes and extras from their shows available online is, of course, contributing significantly to this trend. But it’s not the mere access to this content that is driving online consumption – let alone TV viewership and engagement. The magic of online video as a promotional engine for TV shows is in the curation of this content into compelling editorial packages.

For example, a package of online video content that features clips from several of the most-anticipated shows of the season is a great way for people to pick which new series they want to check out. But, even more interestingly, curation of online video content throughout the season can create deeply immersive entertainment experiences for viewers once they become hooked on a show.

By creating multiple pathways for viewers to explore their favorite series, episodes, actors, storylines and back-stories, online video helps to create and sustain a dialog with viewers – which in the social media world often translates into those viewers becoming ambassadors for their favorite shows.

In short, following a TV show is no longer about tuning in once a week. It’s about finding favorite clips online to watch, re-watch and share. It’s about digging deeper into the history of a show or an actor’s career. It’s about discovering other similar content and creating a personalized entertainment experience that makes that once-a-week episode all the more enjoyable – and engaging.

Today’s savvy TV marketers know that their audiences – especially the influential group of 18 to 34 year-old entertainment enthusiasts – live online. For these viewers, online video is the primary source for access to and information about the entertainment content about which they’re passionate. They do still watch TV, of course. But they figure out what to watch – and keep tuning in – in large part due to what captures their attention online.

With mid-season replacement shows gearing up now, keep an eye out for an influx of great short-form video content online – as well as advertising designed to drive tune-in. This combo of earned and paid media reflects a savvy approach to TV marketing and is testament to the fact that online video is a powerful promotional engine for today’s TV marketers.

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