Blog Posts

Attracting and Retaining Audiences in Times of Multiplatform

Originally published by Danielle Desjardins on CMF’ Trenscape Blog

To be successful, television can no longer simply be television in the same way that other media platforms that are increasingly moving in on others’ territory have become, in one way or another, multimedia (one service or application using multiple platforms) and even transmedia (one story conveyed across multiple platforms).

Today’s audiences have access to such a wide variety of information, content and experiences on any platform at any given time that the level of content success and its value has become increasingly based on its ability of capturing, and especially, retaining viewer attention.

In this new interconnected and heavily cluttered media context, the first thing broadcasters must do is come up with a formula that will enable their content to rise above all the noise. The authors of the “Discoverability: Strategies for Canada’s Digital Content Producers in a Global Online Marketplace” study commissioned by the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) call this winning formula a content’s “level of discoverability.”

Social media: the new remote control

To achieve high levels of discoverability, content producers have a new set of tools they must learn how to use based on the nature of their product and the context it’s being launched in.

According to the creators and producers interviewed as part of the “Discoverability” study, the most effective of these new tools are (in order of importance):

  • Social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Search engines and related optimization techniques
  • Digital ad campaigns tied in with grassroots stunts (such as using Facebook to send out invitations to attend a special event or take part in a contest)
  • And at the very bottom of the list: traditional marketing techniques

The social platforms used most often are (in order) Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The key elements of a “discoverability” campaign are identification and early engagement of ‘influencers’, activation of fans who become advocates or superfans of a property, creation of marketing content tailored to the strengths of each platform employed and authentic and frequent communication with fans over multiple platforms.

Attracting attention is good. Retaining attention is better.

There are a wide variety of tools out there to help broadcasters attract the attention of potential viewers when it comes to a given content. But even if they have the means of using these tools to their full potential, success is never guaranteed.

Regardless of an effective transmedia campaign, the final product might not meet the expectations raised by the campaign and the overall box office take may not be what producers had anticipated.

Before, during and after: how to build a thriving community
It’s the greatest discovery of the social web era: a cultural product that goes looking for its potential audience during its inception has a very good chance of seeing that audience grow into a loyal community. As long as the product delivers on its promises, of course.

Today’s audiences are not only sophisticated, they’re solicited at every turn. They don’t have the same needs – or the same attitude – as “traditional” audiences did now that digital has rescued them from their passive role toward media. Fortunately, understanding this new reality and mastering the required tools should allow creators and producers to successfully develop, build and maintain a thriving community built around their content.

To read the complete article, visit CMF’ Trendscape Blog.


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