Make the video fit the venue

This week: optimizing video for the second screen.

Last week's article was about the importance of tailoring TV commercials to the audiences and how they watch television. But video is now much more than TV. This week we'll look at commercials on the second screen.

Online video has expanded to include rich-media embedded ads, commercial breaks in online programming, website content, PDA screens and a lot more. Content and ads can be full screen or in windows, buttons, skyscrapers, banners and wraps. Image resolution may be 1080-P high-def or just a few hundred pixels.

According to a 2007 TNS Media Intelligence survey, 16% of U.S. Internet Households watch TV programming online. In fact, TV programming has displaced news as the the most widely viewed online content. Internet marketer research firm eMarketer projects that 91% of broadband users will watch video online by 2011.

There is more evidence of a trend toward video consumption on the second screen. Or actually second screens, since people consume video on their PCs at work, their notebooks and their PDAs. In 2007 Ipsos MediaCT studied the 52% of Americans 12 or older who had streamed video online.

That 52% means the group is much larger than the innovators and early adopters in Everett Rodgers' Diffusion of Innovation classifications. Those two groups only add up to 15% of the total population. To get to 52% requires all the innovators and early adopters plus all the early majority and about one out of ten late majority members. In other words, streaming video is mainstream.

Ipsos MediaCT did a parallel study in 2008 and found that in just that one year viewing of video on computers almost doubled, from 11% to 19% of total video viewing.

Total consumer consumption of video content is increasing as new options are adopted. Forrester Research projects that the four hours per day the average consumer watches now will grow to five in 2013. The report notes some significant projected changes. (Their numbers don't match those of the Ipsos MediaCT study because Forrester studied the entire population 12 and older, and Ipsos MediaCT only the 52% who had streamed video on their computers.) The changes the Forrester Research report foresees include:

  • Video on demand will grow from 20% of all video consumed to 45%.
  • Video delivered via internet will go from 10% to 35%.
  • Mobile video will increase from 8% to 15%.
  • Peer-created video will quintuple from 2% today to 10% in 2013.
Obviously these aren't mutually exclusive categories. Someone might well use a mobile device to watch a peer-created video on demand.

As with TV, people watching second, third or fourth screens view and listen to multiple media simultaneously. According to a 2004 Forrester Research study, the most recent time respondents were online, many of them were also doing something else:
  • 17% watched TV.
  • 16% listened to radio.
  • 18% talked on the phone (which is now almost universally a visual as well as audio medium).
Not surprisingly, only 2% read newspapers while online. By the time of the study (2004) online news had begun its climb into ascendency among news media. Many people felt no need to read a newspaper when an on-screen window had much more recent updates than could be found in a paper printed half a day or more earlier.

With all the ways there are to watch and all the audiences who are watching, the way marketers and their agencies develop and produce video has changed. One size definitely doesn't fit all any more.