A seismic shift is occurring in the world of video content and distribution.
The once-dominant Hollywood production houses and free-to-air TV networks were joined a decade ago by global production companies such as FremantleMedia and pay-TV. Now Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and YouTube have moved in.
Advertisers will always follow the majority of their target audience, who will be attracted to the most relevant and entertaining content.
Young kids don’t distinguish between television, DVDs, iPads, smartphones and computers. To them they’re all screens to watch the ‘show’. If Sesame Street is not running when kids want to watch it on TV, they’re very quick to find it on Google or YouTube. Sesame Street’s YouTube channel has more than one million subscribers.
YouTube has been a big mover in the past two years around such video content distribution channels. The viewer statistics are huge: one billion users a month, growing at 50 per cent a year, who spend an average of six hours each month viewing their favourite video content. Today some YouTube channels have audiences bigger than mid-sized US cable channels.
In a recent US survey, young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 were consuming 23 hours of television a week on average, and another two and a half hours of video content online. It’s little wonder that Amazon has decided to move from a pure distributor of video content to a producer of content as well. It recently commissioned 14 TV show pilots, and asked viewers to vote on their favourites. Five of those were chosen based on the feedback, and are now in production. One of them, Alpha House, stars John Goodman. They will be available exclusively to Amazon’s Prime members, its most valuable customers.
As marketers’ agencies keep a close eye on this viewer shift to optimise media budgets, they are also encouraged by this more competitive media market. The traditional media owners, so used to developing and distributing their own video content, are now more willing to look at other content-creation options to ensure advertising dollars remain with them. This has seen the rebirth of branded content – co-created by the brand and the media owner for the benefit of both. In Australia, Woolworths is front and centre of the Ten Network’s Recipe to Riches. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the process of products getting to shelf – and it’s good for Woolworths and for Ten. Marketers need to embrace the more complex market as it’s providing more opportunities to reach and better engage viewers.