Thursday, August 1, 2013

TV - From Individual viewing to Social viewing

    Everything is becoming So Lo Mo - Social, Location aware and Mobile. So, why not TV viewing ?

    As we spent time speaking and watching TV viewing habits, it was clear, that the time has come to merge the modern social world into the TV viewing world.

     Wouldn't people want to discuss on a social network about TV ? About what they are watching, discuss, chat, post to Facebook, Tweet ? We checked around and people jumped at the idea.

     Imagine we get to know where your friends are on TV in the click of a button ? And join them and have a conversation in the click of a button. We validated this idea with a bunch of your social mobile users. They loved it. They are already using Twitter, Facebook whenever they can. They chat about it through SMS and Whatsapp already.

    What if there was one place, a beautiful new Social TV network which would let you know where your friends are on TV in one screen, click and join your friends on a conversation about a program, tweet, consume and post on Facebook - all with your friends while watching TV.

    Here comes TeleTango.

Monday, July 8, 2013

What do you miss in an episode

    It is interesting that some of the most watched TV programs in the country are soaps/serials. Some of them are tear jerkers, some of them are hugely emotional dramas that can throw you out of your senses. Seeing them or asking around, some people indicate with a bit of disgust - "Who watches those serials. Only some sections (-they stereotype the users here-) watch them. I don't, its too boring, its too emotional, .... ".

    This had to be checked out. On further study, we find there are three types of watchers:

    The cool guys - When you check out with these "cool" guys about some of those serials, they know the story. They don't watch glued to it every day, but how do they know the story ? How do they know roughly what's happening ?

    Die Hards - And then, there are those loyal watchers who will do anything to not miss the episode, be it sickness, be it a function that overlaps the time in which case they will catch the repeat episode.

    The on and off folks - This section of people follow the program. They don't watch every episode, not every minute of those 30 mins, yet they are following the program and know whats happening. These guys bank on the fact that in an episode, some events happen, sometimes not even those, yet the story doesn't move much. "It doesn't matter much if you miss an episode".

   So, the following of a program, be it a stereotyped, boring one or not, if it is hitting the top charts of viewership, if it is being watched by your family but not necessarily you religiously, you are watching those and following those, no matter how cool you think you are.

   This got re-enforced when I recently saw an in-program embedded Ad of a top software platform in the world targeting prospective techie buyers, being demonstrated by the lead role inside of the program, which anybody would easily term an absolute tear jerker in a regional serial at prime time.

   Here seems to be another myth ready to be questioned on the target group viewership of serials. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The swaying eyeballs from the TV

    While it is time to disrupt the Ad space with a level of mental engagement that is desired, it is time to focus on what is happening on the programs that these Ads are being played on.

    TV viewers are increasingly using their mobile devices/laptops during TV watching. A reliable survey in 2012 indicated that the percentage of people using Mobile devices while watching TV was 26% in India (about 60+% in the US). A survey that came out in late May 2013 indicated that this number has more than doubled this year with about 63% of the survey recipients across a cross section of the society are using their Mobile devices while watching the programs.

    A quick look at the number of tweets on IPL this year shows that over 5.5 million tweets were recorded on IPL during the season. While all of them did not happen while the programming on TV was live, the live tweet counter was running hot during the games as well.

    Does this happen during IPL games only ? I decided to check out a celebrated marriage on one of the top serials on Hindi television, that happened in June. The buzz in the Facebook pages and Twitter is huge. The Facebook page of the serial has over half a million likes and many times the number of visitors.

    There is serious interest towards digital content consumption and discussion happening around the TV programs. If the programs don't go digital savvy enough, the interest will go away along with the eyeballs, away from TV programming.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How does recall work

How does human brain recall ?

How does it recognize ?

Human brain searches in its memory through an associated tag which could be a question, a tagline, a sound/jingle associated with, a face of a person known for it, a logo, etc.

Advertisements have for long used these tagging mechanisms of jingle, celebrity faces, tag lines, stories and many more.

Human recall also works a bit like the DRAM, the more you recall, the easier it is to refresh and the longer it stays in top recall.

I was watching with interest all these factors at play, in a workshop that my nephew attended. A random student was picked from the crowd, taken aside for 10 mins, taught some techniques and then brought in front of a large crowd. Anybody in the crowd can mention a word or ask a question without waiting for the answer. This happens for about 25-30 words/questions. And this young boy, out of the blue, surprising his parents suddenly can recall back all the 30 words/questions in the same order, in the order of alternate numbers (1,3,5,7, ... ), from the end to the beginning, from anywhere in between. What happened to this boy in 10 minutes. How does he suddenly have a recall that leaves his parents astounded ?

Whatever was the technique used there, it had to do with tagging and recall. A good tag and a method of refresh will ensure a high level of recall and recognition. The magic is not in the person who recalls, but the method which creates the recall.

Can there be new methods to create such tags and recall in Ads ? 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where is the recall

    This whole Ad story is getting curious. People love some awesome Ads on TV, yet they don't recall them. I decided to check out the science of recall.

    A small survey was in order.

    I asked 10 people in the office - Can you tell me the Ad in the first page of your newspaper this morning. Nobody answered.

    My friends were watching a cricket match on TV. A mobile operator was airing an Ad regularly over the last few days during the series and it carried a message on the price of its top-up pack. I asked my friends - If you have seen this Ad before, can you tell me the price of its top-up pack. The answer was "Oh, was the price there on screen ?".

    A friend reads all his news on a portal. He is a regular visitor. I asked him, can you tell me the banner  on the portal you visit everyday. He guessed and he got his answer wrong.

   Why people just don't recall what they have seen ? And did the money on that Ad return the favor back to the one who spent it ?

Those are awesome

    Are TV Ads boring ? No way.

    Are they awesome ? Some are.

    Does anybody care ? I chose to checkout, to ask around.

    I asked a friend of mine - whats the most awesome Ad you have seen on TV. He quickly replied - "that chewing gum Ad, with which they light up the whole palace, the car, the dining room, that was awesome." I asked back - "Do you know which chewing gum that was?". He thought and he couldn't recollect. He walked away giving me a - "Why would I care" - look.

   What about those celebrity Ads. I asked around some cricket crazy friends of mine. Do you remember that Ad where the Indian captain in a south Indian attire calls for all those fast-bowler "&#@$%" to bowl to him, etc. Yeah, everybody loved it, it was a funny Ad, really enjoyed watching. Absolutely awesome. I asked them - "Do you remember what Ad it was?". They walked away with the same "Doesn't matter" look. It was just fun for them.

   Those awesome Ads had got these guys to watch those Ads, may be repeatedly a few times. The viewers enjoyed it and forgot the brand conveniently. Who wants to remember anyway.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Those uninvited guests

    My teenage nephew has been freaking out on his iPad. He is surfing all over the place looking for fun, movie info, twitter, sports and now he has just landed on youtube. As he watches video after video, I saw him tapping a button or two on the screen hard often with a weird expression on his face when doing so.

    I was getting curious. I moved behind him to see what he was doing. As the video started, he was waiting for about 3 seconds after which he would strike the close button as hard as he could, with that same almost angry expression, closing the Ad that had just started to play before the real video.

   I continued to watch him surf and found the same behavior. He moved into a media site to check out the contestants of his favorite game and a big pop-up came up staring at his face. He hit the X button hard again, with a frustrated look at how much time and effort it takes to block that Ad.

   I asked him if he could remember any Ad he had seen in those 3 seconds before he closed it and he replied - "Remember what I just closed ? Are you kidding me ?" and went back to his business completely ignoring me, like he had ignored those uninvited guests called Digital Ads on his tablet screen.

   Over the next few days, I was asking guys around to name one Digital Ad brand or product they had seen on they tablet or laptop. Not a single guy was able to recollect.

   Those uninvited guests are not forgotten. They have never got registered in the first place. And those Digital Ads have been a billion dollar business for quite some time. Huh!