I’ve been called a marketing geek- a LOT. It’s a truth that I am more than happy to accept. Those that know me know that my interests tend to range from the traditional to the very obscure. This is my draw to Marketing. It’s one of the few fields that allow for diverse study into multiple areas of study; Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Biology, Philosophy, History, Technology, Business and Economics can come into play and merge together in a great intersect of thought and practice.
I think many marketers tend to zone in on the business and technology side a lot lately with less focus on the wide-reaching behavioral factors that truly create and become intermeshed with the entire field. This is why today’s (still hot-item) on Connected TV is going to be one that I have not really seen any chatter about. Changing the potential of television watching to positively alter behavior . If we consider that 18 percent of the average individual’s waking day is spent on passive TV watching it leaves open so many implications as to how a shift into a more immersive and interactive experience will affect people on the broad level. Psychologists/Sociologists take note; this is going to be an impressive area of study quite soon.
Connected TV marketers (few of us that they are currently) are going to play a much more interesting role than is really being discussed either with direct intent or by proxy. Sure we chat about the holy grail broad reach of TV coupled with interaction and tracking. We talk about new forms of content and media distribution, but we very rarely look at the broader view and the opportunity we have to truly impact areas of society. We’re going to be at the frontlines of changing social and personal behavior, learning behavior and even development during 18% of lives! Here are a few areas I (and my Connected TV marketing firm CTV Advertising) find of interest and in my belief, a need to for marketers to help clear a path for. So I’ve established some loose mandates.
Connected TV and Children:
One’s argument would be very slim to assume that any real positive benefits come to children from television typically. Thousands of studies have occurred on the subject and usually only negative connotations come along with it. One of the reasons for this is because TV watching creates zero real interaction with the world around them. It reduces need for cognitive functioning and provides no room for the brain to problem solve and react to real life scenarios . This is changing. We have the chance to create entertainment and educational programming that can be interacted with in multiple ways even with just a remote control. Ways to engage, ways to learn and ways that employ multiple cognitive functions actively.
Mandate #1: Create educational functionality into TV Apps. By this I mean, programming correlated content that allows for deeper probing into our world. Challenge children to think when they are sitting in front of the TV, challenge them to take actions that expand upon sitting idly. We have the ability to create TV correlated Apps that necessitate skill development, social development and instant need for intensive interaction to actually further learning and development rather than hinder it.
Connected TV and socialization:
Live human interaction is far more important to behavior and well-being than online social media. Just the truth folks. It always will be. Our ability to deal with people on multiple levels comes from learning how to engage and socialize in real time. Our connected TV sets can be used as social tools on numerous levels. I don’t just mean the idea of socializing around television shows (Online or off) I mean creating Apps and content that drive group behavior. We watch with friends, we watch with families and when we watch it’s often together. While mobile and tablets might individualize watching behavior this just creates a further draw to strengthening social behavior in the living room.
Mandate #2 : Create Apps that require deeper interaction in a group setting . Television apps have the ability to deepen passive group watching with mild interaction, into active group action while sharing a relaxing activity. Create Apps that allow group interaction on a real time level. Apps that can bring the interaction needed to play a board-game into the TV ecosystem. Heighten our ability to enrich ourselves with others while in the living room. There are endless permutations of Connected TV apps that could have this ability. And should. It is no stretch of thought to come up with (branded or non) forms of entertainment and novelty that engage multiple individuals in social behavior with one another.
Lead Back experience:
While we love to use the buzz word “lean back experience” maybe there can be some benefit to creating a hybrid lean back and forward experience while still utilizing television to relax.
Mandate # 3: While, I understand the need for marketers to be cognizant of the fact that pushing branded content and Apps should adhere to behavioral standards of how people consume TV and media, maybe the time is ripe to provoke a slow change in this behavior. As we will increasingly be content creators, perhaps our content can also act as a catalyst for positive change while we achieve brand goals. Maybe it’s time that we utilize a device that has historically only provided passive entertainment, to one that enhances lives in other ways as well. Ways that allow us to communicate with each other, with the digital realm, and with not just content, but functionality and utility. While TV can no doubt remain a relaxing event at home, it can be deepened to be more than just lean back, but a way to create two way conversations and actions.
Online video has seen a boom. TV watching has increased. Secondary screens have hit the market hard allowing even more video content on the go, with less time spent on interaction, reading, and problem solving. While video provides us more marketing power than I could quite explain here, perhaps we should ask ourselves if through new means, we can provide (for the first time) a psychological, developmental, and educational benefit that has never been seen before. In my opinion the ability of Connected TV can provide not just an amazing ability to create new methods and means of advertising, but also an entire psychological shift starting at this point in our modern digital history.