By Rohan Castelino
While 2016 Awards Season continues to observe declining TV ratings, digital video has reaped a windfall in viewership as publishers are beginning to take a data-driven approach to content programming resulting in record breaking view-counts and engaged audiences on their owned & operated digital properties.
Last Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards saw a 4-year low in TV-ratings, but publishers leveraging metadata best-practices, personalization, and business intelligence observed all-time highs in views during the event as well in subsequent days. Innovative digital publishers are leveraging a Total TV strategy that maximizes yield from all video entry-points.
For some publishers, Awards Season is their Super Bowl. The Golden Globes, Grammys, Oscars, Billboard lead the way in the Spring, followed by VMAs and Emmys in the Fall. These are considered Known Viral Events as publishers with daily views in the tens of thousands spike to several millions during these events.
Below is a chart covering January 2015 to present of a typical IRIS.TV-enabled publisher covering Entertainment news.
What constitutes success from a known viral event has as much to do with the video asset’s impact down-stream as well as in the moment. Videos of Musicians and Movie Stars that appear on these shows are not just relevant in the awards context but in a broad context such as i.e. gossip, movie premieres, album releases, concerts, and festivals. A video from 2015 can definitely be consumed at scale in 2016 and beyond if surfaced in the appropriate context.
Known viral events such as awards shows have predictable formats such as Red Carpet, Monologues, Acceptance Speeches, and Performances. Most publishers create clips accordingly, but in the rush to publish quickly, many often forget about the metadata. In digital media, because viewers are overwhelmed by content choice of all types, the key to engagement is seamless content discovery; and the lifeblood of content discovery is metadata.
If you manually curate user experience, utilize a programming automation, or syndicate your content, you must have a metadata structure. It’s not about how much metadata, but rather how it’s structured. Unlike articles, having too many keywords/tags to describe a video can have adverse effects. Even the most basic metadata structure that includes descriptors such as content category, event name, actor, and film can ensure that existing and future programming systems will be able to find your content and surface them in the appropriate context. This will minimize the number of clicks it takes for a user to access content transforming the experience from a series of one-off clips into a mini TV show. From a monetization and engagement perspective, your pre-rolls now become mid-rolls.
The publishers that prepared for the Awards Season with structured taxonomies and metadata, capitalized by not only doubling video views during the event, but also saw levels of increased viewership in subsequent days. The chart below shows the dramatic increase in video views with the addition of IRIS.TV personalization. Scale is in the several millions.
Metadata management best practices applied in 2016 along with increase personalization from adaptive machine learning resulted in Grammy, Oscar, and Billboard performance more than doubling the previous year’s viewership.
Publishers that analyzed the characteristics of individual asset performance data from 2015, were able to zero in on other factors that impact engagement such as optimal clip length, ad frequency, bounce rate. From this data, editorial teams published clips best aligned to the preferences of their audience.
For example, for this year’s Billboard Music Awards, top performing assets came from performances were typically less than a minute in length rather than clips that covered entire songs. These clips led to increased engagement and follow-on viewing.
Additionally, publishers also utilized both video player and page level data to determine how to manage video entry-points to maximize user engagement. For example, some publishers realize that on the day of the awards show to create video experiences that take over the screen creating a TV-like viewing experience. Hours later, they replace these players with minimizing video players that scroll down the page while a user reads an article covering the event. The knowledge of what to do and when to do it comes from a data driven approach to content programming.
Rohan Castelino, Director of Business Development & Marketing, IRIS.TV
Rohan has over 12 years international experience working in the intersection of media and technology. He spent 6 years in Beijing and Shanghai where he helped develop and finance international film and television co-productions with China, Hollywood and Europe. Prior to joining IRIS.TV, Rohan worked with major media companies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and Illumination Entertainment. IRIS.TV is a personalized video programming system that allows publishers and content owners to generate more video views and engage users across all devices. The software is designed to increase consumption and simplify operations for web and mobile video distribution, matching content based on audience preferences and user interactions. The video programming platform is powered by Adaptive Stream, a personalized engine that delivers relevant content in a television-like experience, programmed to each viewer’s interests.