Keeping Up with a Changing Media Landscape

April 28, 2016

Media is perpetually evolving. Just as one trend, technology or TV show captivates the zeitgeist, something else becomes the hot new “thing,” and it takes some skill for advertisers to keep up. Online media streaming platforms – the top being Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix as well as network television apps like NBC and HBO Now – are gaining steam as the next evolution of media. Each comes with its own passionate fan base, thanks in part to the exclusivity of original content, competitive pricing, and their own approaches to advertising.
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Whether it’s Netflix’s Orange is The New Black, Hulu’s 11.22.63, or Amazon’s Transparent, each show has generated a passionate following and garnered a considerable number of subscriptions in their own right. Part of the allure of these shows is their exclusivity: they can only be found on their respective platforms, and the only one way to watch is to subscribe. These streaming services have also gained the right to house network TV shows and movies, giving prospective members more of a reason to buy in.

And buy in they do. By January 2016, Netflix reported that the streaming service had more than 70 million subscribers. Last reported in mid-2015, Hulu was gaining traction with 9 million subscribers, and after only 8 months in existence, HBO Now had 800,000 paid users by February 2016. Streaming platforms often utilize their tech-savvy viewers to engage their target audiences through their social media pages to engage and gain subscribers. Hulu has over 2 million fans on Facebook, while Netflix’s Instagram page has over 1.5 million followers, not to mention the individual pages for their original content shows: Orange is the New Black has over 5 million Facebook fans and Hulu’s Community has over 336K followers on Twitter to date.

Although platforms like Netflix, Amazon and now Hulu with its recently introduced commercial-free option do not always include advertisements, that does not mean their subscriber bases and watching habits of users are not incredibly useful to advertisers. Through Facebook ad targeting, we can pick out demographics and interests of fans of each platform and, even more specifically, their shows, to pick out which brands need to advertise where and to whom. In this way, we will know if it is a waste to advertise before a show on Hulu, when the brand’s target audience is binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix. Or, if The Mindy Project’s Mindy Lahiri loves a certain brand of candy that Oxford represents, we can tap into the show’s 538,141 Facebook fans and serve them ads promoting their favorite character’s favorite candy (making it their new favorite, too).

To successfully advertise on streaming platforms, knowing who’s watching what is key. This knowledge lands heavily on the importance of conducting research of the demographics and social media habits of those streaming video users … and it wouldn’t hurt us to watch a few shows along the way, either.

Written by Frank Festa