How People Consume Streaming Media Today and What it Means for Healthcare Marketers

In full transparency, we originally set out to release a POV earlier this year around streaming video due to the skyrocketing usage across all mobile devices and connected TVs. We were fresh out of CES and were blown away by the barrage of 4k enabled smartphones with retina and beyond-HD displays, OLED TVs and the first 8k TV’s starting to emerge. New platforms with innovative creative options like Quibi were exciting and preparing for launch. Mobile had surpassed desktop as the preferred streaming device of consumers with an estimated 180 million mobile video streamers in the US, up from 152 million just 4 years ago.

Then the pandemic hit.

To say COVID-19 upended the streaming video marketplace is an understatement.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, streaming TV was already up 70% YoY and it was projected that 82% of households would be connected TV households by 2023.

But now, the new numbers are truly astonishing. According to Nielsen, on April 4th alone, Americans watched 27 BILLION minutes of streaming content on TV—or 50,000 YEARS of content in a single day versus 70 billion per week a year ago. Brian Fuhrer, SVP Product Strategy at Nielsen says, “In my career at Nielsen, I’ve never seen such a rapid change impacting everything that we’re doing.”

Samsung’s data is showing that usage of streaming video on their devices has skyrocketed 132% through the end of March as a result of the pandemic. The largest percentage of their users are in the 65+ demographic. Netflix earnings in April revealed the company saw a boost of 15.7 million subscribers globally to a total of 182.9 million, and Disney+ announced in early May that they are up to 54.5 million subscribers.

The Technology

In addition to the behavior changes brought on by the pandemic, at the same time there has been a complete technological evolution in both mobile devices and smart, connected TVs, or CTV.

While 4k TVs are becoming commonplace, 4k content is just starting to catch up and be widely available. Most networks and streaming apps only broadcast in HD, 1080p. This made the variety of 8k TVs Samsung & LG had on display at CES even more mind blowing to us. Smart TVs are also at an all-time low in cost.

By leveraging AI, certain Samsung TVs can upscale content to 8K – including YouTube content. This means any brand video that was shot in a lower-quality format like 1080P can be upscaled and actually look passable in 8k.

On top of these high end 8k TVs, many streaming devices such as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire also priced low enough to be impulse buys bringing smart tv functionality to just about any TV produced in the last 10 years.

The Opportunities

With these advances in mobile streaming and connected TV, it is only logical for new platforms and ad offerings to emerge. With consumers reaching for their mobile phones while watching TV nearly 30% more than they did in 2016, brands need to start to look at leveraging mobile ad units—especially social ads—simultaneously with their CTV ad units.

All these advancements are making targeting video advertising much more powerful, efficient and targeted. While CTV has only been around for less than 10 years, one in 10 programmatic video ad dollars are going to CTV with ad spend to hit over $6 billion by next year. Brands should really look at leveraging all the creative possibilities with CTV and use it to compliment an already existing linear TV buy reaching more users or create a CTV-only campaign at a much more budget-friendly amount than a similar linear TV buy would be.

Even if your brand does not have video or a CTV plan in the works for next year, you can still capitalize in this enormous increase in smart TV consumption. Some of CMI/Compas’ video partners are able to target any device in the same house as a connected TV. When a user agrees to the smart TV terms of service anything that’s hit the glass of the TV is in play.

For example, if someone is watching local news coverage over a digital antenna and not leveraging a streaming service, using automatic content recognition, smart TVs can see what is on the glass of the TV, and use that information to target a user with an ad. Taking this a step further, since the smart TV has to be connected to WiFi, all other devices using that router are discoverable to that smart TV. So, if a user is on a social platform on their mobile device while watching something on their smart TV, an ad can be triggered in real time in their social feeds.

While it is obvious to say streaming usage has increased over the past few months during stay at home orders, drilling down into consumption by specific conditions shows just how important it is for brands to have their messaging present. Two of the primary categories we reviewed, oncology and diabetes, both show a 30% increase in ad-assisted video on demand services. Subscription video on demand usage such as Netflix
and HBOGo are up even more around 36%.

Leveraging connected TV partners to develop a holistic streaming campaign will ensure your ads are being displayed across a variety of devices to the appropriate audience.

With connected TV and digital ads there are opportunities to geotarget, retarget and tell a sequential story. For example, if a patient is served a TV spot highlighting awareness of the brand and benefits/ efficacy, retarget with co-pay messages, doctor discussion guides and other patient-friendly materials. This empowers the patient to explore and learn about the product and have productive conversations with their HCP at the next visit.

During this time of the pandemic, patients are less inclined to go to the doctor and HCPs are holding off on live appointments and/or taking telehealth appointments. Using geo-location to serve a digital ad with COVID-19 friendly content is a great way to piggyback off a commercial on connected TV. In areas where infectious disease specialists are in a hotbed of
COVID-19, other patients are not getting the attention they need. Pharma can help with continuing to foster and reinforce brand messaging with TV and digital.

Things are changing rapidly in the connected TV space and CMI/Compas is staying on top of these changes.