TV marketers are facing constant pressure to remain competitive with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the laundry list of niche OTT and vMVPDs launching every month. According to the Observer, Netflix is expected to spend $8 billion on content in 2018, while Amazon will drop about a “paltry” $4.5 billion. Where the friction lies is that many TV marketers aren’t focused enough on L+3 and L+7 ratings. We’ve got some news for those marketers and networks – all of your ratings matter, so shift your mindset quickly if you wish to compete in the TV/video war.
Look we get it, live ratings are the decades old standard and deliver higher ad rates than delayed ratings. However if only ⅓ of their ratings are coming from live, why on earth would marketers ignore the other ⅔ of viewers? That’s a ton of viewers and cash to leave on the table, and even those who claim “we care about them, but they’re just not as important” are in need of an attitude adjustment.
Just look at some recent L+3 ratings from Nielsen: The Walking Dead received a 58% gain, American Horror Story saw a 133% lift, and Fox’s Thanksgiving NFL coverage pulled in a 7.2 rating. This data cannot be ignored and reinforces that those L+3 and L+7 ratings matter tremendously. Layer on the fact that Netflix is pushing content 4x more than anyone else, and network marketers need a solution to stop the bleeding.
Here’s three ways for marketers to lean into the binging trend and increase their L+3 and L+7 ratings:
Far too often marketers are using their digital advertising, social, and marketing for awareness. Sure, that let’s their audience know when a show airs but it only does that. If a viewer is lucky enough that there’s a url in that ad or post, they’ll be routed to the network or program page. Still a nebulous destination which leaves far too many steps to ensure ratings of any kind.
A recent IAB study shows interactive CTAs are more effective at capturing user attention and generating brand lift. Including a basic CTA of “DVR,” or “Record” will immediately encourage viewers to take an action and queue up their favorite shows. Giving clear actions will yield more tangible results, strengthen brand currency, and improve the customer experience.
Empower Program Talent
Everyone affiliated with a TV show Tweets, Snaps, and posts Stories, giving every show a built-in influencer network; however more can be done to make that network deliver ratings. TV marketers should collaborate with talent to push recording their show as often as possible. If viewers see their favorite star promoting their show, with actionable CTAs included, Live +3 and Live +7 ratings will increase. And if the talent resists, you can remind them how those delayed ratings help keep their show and jobs afloat.
In an ecosystem where technology is plentiful and the number of vendors outweigh the number of cable networks in spades, marketers must leverage tech to drive ratings. No longer can marketers use the TV model of “reach and frequency will get me ratings” in digital, because there’s too much at stake. Plus, why leave it up to chance when there’s quantifiable ways to grow audiences, ratings, and ultimately revenue?
There’s no silver bullet to increasing + ratings. However the combination of live CTAs, tapping into talent, and embracing tech offers a winning combination. As the gap between TV and streaming widens, it’s paramount that TV marketers begin to implement these practices and remember that all ratings matter. Just ask Netflix.