Mobile Fix: TV battles and video tactics

Mobile Fix: TV battles and video tactics

This week Simon Andrews, founder of Addictive!, looks at the current TV landscape, video tactics among the big social players and retail.

Picking up on last week’s thoughts on how TV is changing, the new KPMG research supports our view that watching on demand is growing rapidly – particularly amongst the young and the upmarket.

US commentator Michael Wolff also picks up that TV is in the ascendancy but points out that the quality needs to be high and it needs to cater to an audience that will pay for content. As we have pointed out in the past we may be moving to a world where the people who see advertising are the ones without much money – because the rich will be able to avoid advertising whilst the less wealthy won’t.

(On that tip we are seeing a general rise in ad avoiders with new data showing adblocking is growing in popularity. We will come back to this in the next few weeks.)

But Wollf sort of misses the point on digital – the future of TV and digital are inexorably intertwined. The new players like Netflix and Amazon rely on broadband. BT Sport has turned off the service through the TV aerial and is now giving Chromecast to their customers

This slightly overexcited piece looks at the background, newish players like Sling and how the US is trying to restrict the power of then cable companies.

And in Europe the push towards quad play has put O2 in play – with Sky a likely suitor, although a merger with 3 is possible. (Stop press, now under way). Much of our thinking around Quad play remains valid and we continue to believe that the media rights for the Premiership will show us what the new landscape looks like.

The latest entrant seems to be Discovery – which owns a stake in Eurosport – and in turn is owned by John Malone, whose Liberty empire now owns Virgin, which complained to Ofcom about the way the TV rights are handled – pointing out that fewer Premier League are shown in the UK versus top level games in other countries. So it looks likely to bid for some rights too. Who else will get involved?

One piece of friction around TV is the fact the data isn’t that useful at the moment – research designed to facilitate trading around mass audience TV programmes doesn’t give the granularity now needed. nor does it embrace new TV options like Netflix etc. The UK research people are moving ahead with new data on cross device viewing and on demand, which should be available soon.

Whilst the industry plays catch up, the pace of change continues. Yahoo – which has hired a lot of people with TV experience – is to show a Simon Cowell talent show focused on the DJs on the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene.

The money involved in EDM is huge, but whether Simon Cowell can add anything remains to be seen. And how a digital platform handles this type of content will be interesting.


Whilst the Mary Meeker money chart (showing money has yet to follow audience onto mobile) remains burnt onto the retina of many, we are seeing TV spend migrate to digital. As the Omnicom quote from late last year showed, the rise of online video is being driven by a recognition that moving some money from TV to digital makes the campaign more efficient.

Facebook has partnered with Nielsen in the US to hammer this home. But whilst shaving 10%+ from TV budgets helps drive those quarterly numbers, the ambition is for more. Much more.

With the upcoming Super Bowl we will see a change as Facebook push brands to use their video player, rather than just sharing the YouTube video across Facebook. The way Facebook has built its player makes it much more prominent in the News Feed than a YouTube video. And they have auto play too.

Whilst Facebook hasn’t shared any research – yet – it seems the Facebook player is much better at getting engagement.

Mashable has more on this, pointing out that BuzzFeed has switched most of the video it shares on Facebook from YouTube to the Facebook player. Of course it still makes sense to have your video on YouTube and, with Twitter Video imminent, brands will need to get really good at using all the channels.

If you want to dig deeper this is a good look at some of the video tactics you can use between YouTube and Facebook, which gets into some more detail on how BuzzFeed does this. And long-time YouTube fan VC Mark Suster explains his thinking on how to build a successful YouTube business.

This is an area we are fascinated by and we would love to find some brands to partner with to explore this huge opportunity. If you are interested, get in touch.


Our coverage of retail changing sparked lots of conversations, with the general point being that people have changed their behaviour whilst shopping and retailers and brands have yet to work out how to respond.

The best example we know is still Shopkick, where it has significant scale and solves a problem for both retailers and users. This video of one of its key people is a must watch.

Another retail brand we admire is Nordstrom. We use it as an example in Digital Transformation workshops often – not least for the way it has organised its labs to drive real innovation. This Harvard Business Review article celebrates its digital strategy.

One of our mantras is that brands need to find a way to solve a customer’s problem whilst solving their own business problem. Most marketing failures are when something achieves just one side of this equation. Starbucks is another brand we often focus on in workshops as they are really, really good at this.

Most of their innovation improves their business process and makes their customers happy. The latest example is wireless charging for customers’ smartphones. Now they just need to sort the coffee.

The biggest investment in retail currently is around grocery deliveries with Amazon and Google pushing ahead in the US and Instacart is now valued at $2bn. The Wall Street Journal has gone back to look at Webvan which IPOd in 1999 and was worth $8bn before it imploded.

With mobile now mass market, many of these dotcom busts are being recognised as great ideas launched too early.

This is an edited and abridged version of Mobile Fix – click here to read the full article on Addictive!’s website

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