Over a year ago — in April 2017 — AdWeek was already predicting that mobile streaming would eventually overtake the traditional TV model, in part because of Pew Research that 61% of young adults watched primarily streaming TV, and often did so on mobile. The reasons for all this are obvious, so we won’t belabor them: younger generations are mobile generations, both in terms of ubiquity of the phones and being out and about with friends and participating in activities. Waiting to get home to watch the next episode of Younger? No. It can be done from a phone, and the tech has caught up where the quality won’t be poor either.
The NFL Turns To Mobile To Boost Viewership
You’re starting to see major brands and advertisers “get” this concept more — for example, CBS is going to stream NFL games on mobile this fall (and through 2022), and it was largely a business decision:
And for CBS, access to the games on mobile could give its streaming service a boost in the wake of what may be slowing growth, and the mistake of putting too much pressure on the “Star Trek” prequel to deliver subscribers. “Star Trek: Discovery” has underwhelmed some fans, leaving it with a 4.7 out 10 user score on Metacritic, and a lot of negative reviews on IMDb.
It’s almost unheard of for the NFL — one of the biggest cash cows that networks have in their pocket — to be associated with mobile, but it’s happening more and more. FOX’s multi-year deal for Thursday Night Football also has a mobile component.
Mobile, The Preferred First Screen For Streaming Shows
At the same time, AT&T is releasing a mobile streaming TV service called Watch TV, with 31 networks, 15,000 movies, and TV shows on demand. T-Mobile isn’t far behind, although it depends on the status of their upcoming merger. At the same time, financial publications like The Motley Fool are arguing that YouTube TV — slow to be successful initially — might win the mobile TV streaming world in part because it’s “playing with house money,” i.e. that of Google/Alphabet.
It’s somewhat surprising we got this far in an article about mobile streaming and didn’t mention Amazon, but don’t worry, Amazon is up in these streets as well. In fact, they’ve run some data to determine what types of shows people watch on their phone vs. in their living room, and, well, cue the shame:
More than half of streams for reality TV, romantic shows, teen series, and soap operas occurred on mobile devices, Amazon found. The Bachelor, Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Vampire Diaries,were among the top TV shows streamed on mobile via Amazon.
People were more likely to watch children and family shows, documentaries, lifestyle series, courtroom and crime dramas, and comedies in the living room, Amazon said.
Boosting Viewership Via Mobile
Consider some of the broader math here around Instagram, one of the most popular mobile-centric apps. They’re up to 1B monthly users, with Stories at 400M daily users. Those are some big numbers. Now consider a show like A Million Little Things, which debuts on ABC this fall. James Roday, formerly of Psych, is on that show. He has 115K Instagram followers. Christina Ochoa, also on that show, has 103K Instagram followers. If just two those stars could push users from Instagram — whereby a user is already on their phone — to a streaming option — also on mobile — then you’re potentially talking about a network 20% of the way to 1M viewers from two simple posts. See where the need for easy mobile streaming options could tie to the rise of social platforms?
Look no further than the World Cup (which had some big mobile moments) this summer, too: mobile and online streaming numbers are surging, which makes logical sense — many of the games are on weekday mornings and early afternoons. While it’s not always good form to dedicate your entire work computer to a soccer game taking place 8,000 miles away, you can keep your work going and stream slyly on mobile, or at least within the important parts.
Brands and bigger organizations are starting to understand the power and importance of offering a mobile streaming experience for TV, and you’ll increasingly see standalone options from the bigger mobile providers as well.