Why the multiscreen space will be monetized by sports

Posted by Chris Reynolds on March 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am

When was the last time you sat down in front of your television without a smartphone, tablet, or computer? Chances are it's been a while. To completely tune into a television program without any other device competing for the viewers' attention is a rarity in today's hyper-connected society. This inevitably means the television industry and its advertisers have to find a way to keep the audience's attention. Instead of competing with these devices for user attention, the smarter approach is to incorporate these devices into a multiscreen television experience. By doing this, we can increase viewership and enhance advertisement opportunities to further monetization in the industry.

And while not all types of programs lend themselves to multiscreen interaction, sports is a promising exception that could shine light on other ways to monetize the rest of the space. In the past, it wasn’t unusual for sports fans to call, text or interact with friends via social media as a sports game progressed. It also wasn’t uncommon for viewers to look up stats using other devices. Now we’re witnessing a turning point as forward-thinking digital media companies are developing the technologies to blend these components into a single interactive application experience that exists across screens and is ideal for both engaging consumers and orchestrating sponsorships.

Sports is an especially attractive use case, a function of its never-ending supply of information. From individual player stats, to team matchups and past scoreboards, there are potentially countless details that could be at fans’ fingertips. Watching live sports is also inherently social, whether that means watching with a group or interacting with friends via a device. Bridging these elements together has the potential to create massive fan engagement on and off the big screen. More engagement over multiple screens translates into greater adverting and sponsorship exposure. Add in the fact sports is typically consumed live and the ad potential really surges.

Utilization of multiscreen technology during a live television broadcast gives television producers and advertisers greater ability to leverage real-time events that happen throughout the game. In fact, we’ve already demonstrated this type of creative dynamic with existing customers. If there was a big check in a live hockey game, our app would trigger an Advil ad (“I bet he could use some Advil!”) on the viewer’s second screen device. This could be repeated with every hit, while other ads can be worked into the game for different triggers, allowing advertisers to get products seen in a creative, effective new manner.

Sports programming stands out in terms of its ability to deliver a diverse array of advertising and sponsor opportunities, with many of the ads and sponsorships already integrated into the broadcast. Think about it; all games have their own sponsors, all game highlights have their own sponsors and every special game segment has their own sponsors. I’m sure you can just hear it now: “Today’s instant replay is brought to you by Bud Light.”  The ability to access these sponsors at all times across all devices give sports an instant edge in today’s DRV-based society. Viewers love to skip over ads, but when the ads are embedded into the game, it’s impossible for viewers not to be exposed. Factor in multiple devices and that means expanded exposure for advertisers.

This is a win-win for all parties involved. Viewers get a superior sports viewing experience, advertisers get even greater brand exposure and network operators get increased viewership. Looking forward, lessons learned from these sports applications can provide insight into future monetization opportunities for other types of television programs. Sports is truly just the beginning of a very bright future for multiscreen viewer engagement. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here!

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