It starts with data that comes as no surprise to any observer of the online video industry. eMarketer predicts that by the end of the year there will be 77 million millennial digital video viewers, which represents about 92% of all U.S. millennial internet users. The repor
t goes on to say 25- to 34-year-olds will be the largest segment of digital video viewers of any age group, accounting for more than 18% of the 204.2 million digital video viewers in the US.
Based on those facts and figures, creators, distributors, advertisers, talent agents and pretty much anyone who has a stake in the online video business should drop what they are doing and jump in to the market feet first. However, going a bit further into the reports suggests the ready-fire-aim method is not the way to go.
For starters, the study says there is no single viewing habit or trend that unifies the varying strata within the millennial viewing audience. There is even reason to believe, based on recent Nielsen data, that “traditional” TV viewing (if there is such a thing) is alive and well. According to Nielsen, those 18 to 24 watched more than 18.5 hours of TV per week, while those in the 25-to-34 age group watched nearly 25 hours per week. Granted, this is less viewing time than those in older generations, but it is proof that any single-focused online video strategy is doomed to fail.
Add in the fact that demographics and generational labels are a tricky thing. The move from Baby Boomers to Gen X to Y to millennials to Gen Z brings with it unforeseen changes based on the external social, political and economic climate of the times. It needs to be considered that eMarketer’s report states that growth in viewing by millennials likely will remain mostly flat for the foreseeable future, given the current penetration of digital viewing along that demo. In fact, we are likely to see a bump of 1 million or less younger viewers for the foreseeable future.
These data points suggest a mix of short-term and long-term thinking is in order. While it’s wise to capture the current lightning in a bottle — a thirst for myriad forms of content across a number of platforms and devices — it also is smart to have some solid plans for the future.
While working on today’s tactical approach, think about future strategies. To build a powerful foundation for the world beyond 2015, the key building blocks should be data, partnerships and process. Stakeholders should gather as much data as possible, but also be able to interpret those bits and bytes to track and measure success (and failure). Find those people and companies whose wisdom and market savvy provide you the ability to extend your reach and quickly move as new trends evolve. And none of the above works without a clear process that puts everyone in your organization on the same page. The right process saves time and money and positions everyone along the online video value chain for success.
And let’s not forget content. But that’s a story and a set of data to explore another day.