Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

by Martin Guillaume, Media & Entertainment Leader, IBM Global Business Services, Europe

The era of the connected consumer is forcing many media organizations to rethink not only how they operate but also how they remain relevant. Today’s audiences are exposed to more content across more channels than ever before. The way this content is discovered, shared and consumed is also changing.

Standard forms of TV viewing are no longer the norm as more and more consumers turn to the Internet and catch-up services to access the latest in programming. As a result, delivering differentiated live content such as sports, concerts, reality shows or news across an expanding set of channels and devices is a challenge broadcasters need to tackle quickly and claim their rightful place in this rapidly changing landscape.

As an example, today at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam, Canal+ announced it is using IBM technology and services to launch and manage new multi-channel and services platform delivering on-demand, web and mobile TV to enhance the customer experience. This demonstrates how broadcasters are seeking to differentiate in a world where they no longer have audiences –  they have consumers.

Broadcasters must continue to innovate and look for news ways to engage this connected consumer and the growing phenomenon of ‘second screen’ is becoming an integral part of this strategy. How many times have you caught up on your Facebook or Twitter feed whilst watching TV? Consumers tweet, comment, play, blog and surf the Internet all the while watching television, therefore, broadcasters need to work even harder to engage viewers.

This challenge is an extraordinary opportunity in disguise and broadcasters can use it to enrich experiences and engage viewers. Television stations are beginning to tap into how audiences are second screens whilst watching TV, and are encouraging consumers to provide feedback and create an online buzz by providing Twitter hashtags at the start of a show.

Broadcasters can also integrate and capitalize on second screen functionality in other ways.

For example, the boundaries between television, Internet and gaming are blurring – simply look at EA’s FIFA 2012 football game, which now offers a replay of any action from any angle. Consumers expect to navigate and experience live sports in the same way with the ability to replay a sequence from the vantage point of any player via a second screen embedded in live programming.

This live television fusion phenomenon for sport does not stop there. The depth of statistics available for football matches and other sports is reaching unprecedented levels. Speed, pace and stamina can be captured, analysed and compared in real time offering viewers new insights. At the recent Wimbledon Championships, fans were able to view an additional layer of insight through SlamTracker on www.wimbledon.com that tracked points, player momentum and progress against each player’s ‘keys to the match’. Revenue opportunities can be realised through price-tiered ‘data’ packages, which enable customers to pay for additional insightful data related to the content they are viewing.

But the real payback for the CMO or broadcaster is that they do not need to guess who is watching, they will know who is actively interacting with them. Knowing it is Kevin Smith, the twenty-something football and cooking and fan rather than Susan Smith, Kevin’s mother who prefers cycling and gardening is invaluable information. From placing better ads to making more intelligent program suggestions, this interaction with the Smith household is changing forever. And we are beginning to see uptake of this strategy – TP Vision recently that it using data stored within IBM SmartCloud to provide new insight about consumer needs and behavior.

Using advanced analytics to better understand these evolving customers allows the CMO to capture and leverage valuable information that allows them to anticipate customers’ changing preferences and turn these insights into new offerings which drive customer loyalty. For broadcasters this information can help improve production, cross-channel distribution, customer service and implement marketing strategies that are in line with customer sentiment.

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