'TV mobile first' – harnessing the lessons from social networks

‘TV mobile first’ – harnessing the lessons from social networks

With the growth in mobile, TV broadcasters should look at content and technology that can accompany viewers across screens to avoid media breaks.

Whether you observe it in your digital usage or consult statistics, the viewing time of audiovisual content continues to grow. A recent publication by Vaunet, the association of private media, shows that audio and audiovisual’s share of total media time (from the age of 14) in Germany rose to almost 90% in 2022.

If tablets and cell phones are taken together, they have already overtaken the TV set in prime time. The mixed use of mobile phones and TV screens is increasing in different everyday situations, or even simultaneously.

As a result, TV broadcasters should look at the content and technology that can help accompany their viewers more closely throughout the day and avoid media breaks. After all, social media platforms are using increasingly precise algorithms to keep their users with them, and the growth is in mobile (a constant and ubiquitous offering).

TV must offer mobile services to win back viewing time

Up to now, TV stations and broadcasters have often published parts of their formats digitally on, for example, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook. In this way, they hope to gain more attention and also, indirectly, more ratings, as well as additional revenues from advertising sales via the platforms. However, the social media platform algorithms used to pass on this content are a black box for TV broadcasters.

Even personal user data only flows into the value chain of the various big tech companies. For TV broadcasters and platforms, it is essential to keep content sovereignty.

Target-group-specific marketing is also a driver for future success. Directly addressing a known user based on his or her customer profile is more interesting for a sponsor or advertiser than a general, non-customer-specific social media sweep. Independent user data is also more valuable, and marketed better.

Staying involved with your stars and successful formats

Major TV events still have the power to gather people in front of the TV, stimulate conversations about them, and get reported by the media. Since the birth of social networks, the need to express, rate, or recommend oneself in a community is also rising.

Although the term “going viral” originates from the digital world, it can be harnessed by conventional TV stations — with the right technology and strategy. By leveraging the concept of ‘going viral’, independent entertainment formats can be strengthened and awareness can be raised for station stars.

Viewers can also network with each other. The possibilities offered by digital TV applications are not only attractive to digital natives or Gen Z. TeraVolt expects that in the future, TV use across all target groups will also increasingly connect to the Internet, that is: “TV mobile first.”

Why we must – and can – prepare for ‘TV mobile first’

“It’s not information overload, it is filter failure,” says media professor Clay Shirky, who kept on saying that viewer behaviour is moving further and further from passive consumption of texts to an interactive experience. “Asymmetric” communication, originating from only one sender, is reaching its limits.

Social-media providers continue to do everything they can to become the central entertainment platform. Facebook and Instagram started with pictures before later adding videos and streaming. Away from the established TV broadcasters, a content creation industry has now developed that sometimes achieves reach that traditional TV programme directors can only dream off.

Local and special-interest TV stations are highly relevant to their target groups. They know their markets best and can therefore produce suitable offers for cooperation.

Oliver Koch is chief commercial officer and founder of Teravolt. A version of this article first appeared on Videonet.

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