Yasemin Ahiskali, director of business & strategy development at Turkish content provider Zedpas Media, on the potential for Social TV and second-screen applications in Turkey, and the growing imperative of having a multi-screen strategy.
How do you believe consumer habits have been affected in Turkey over the past year by the rise of broadband and smart mobile devices?
According to the Turkish Information technologies and Communication Association (BTK), the number of broadband internet users increased from 14mn to 18.3mn in the past year, and the number of 3G mobile internet users increased from 3.6M users to 10.6mn
Looking at the figures we can say that the mobilisation of consumers is rising dramatically, and evidently the ways in which they consume media are evolving and diversifying.
The more products and services are offered on mobile, the more consumers adjust and explore the convenience of controlling and enjoying the content in the palm of their hand.
What steps have you taken to ascertain the optimum balance between lean-forward engagement and lean-back entertainment?
The idea behind lean-forward mediums is that people are engaged when they use the Internet. They are in scanning mode, actively looking for content – and their attention span is much shorter. Lean-back mediums on the other hand are the times we sit down and watching TV.
Our attention span is much longer because these are passive mediums and we are in “consumption mode”. Nowadays however, smart devices bring the internet into the living room where it could become a lean-back media device and people actually spend time consuming media rather than frantically searching.
As TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden says, “Smart phones are often the starting point for a ‘digital experience’, and users then go on to their other screens. TVs still get the most screen time of our leisure time, although 77 percent of viewers are simultaneously looking at another screen when watching television.”
Therefore, we recognise the significance of an engaged audience and develop TV projects which integrate social media and enable the audience to contribute to their favourite TV shows through various social media mediums by commenting, criticising, sharing pictures and voting.
We can say that the lean-forward engagement increases viewer loyalty to lean back entertainment, and has a complementary role for lean-back entertainment – and not only entertainment purposes. A TV audience is significantly influenced on purchasing decisions made within the living room, typically by consulting price comparisons and reviews online, and can even make transactions within the space of an advertising break. All of this is a great strength for the broadcaster.
What potential do you see for Social TV and second-screen applications in Turkey?
Viewers would like to communicate with their TV screen using all possible mediums. I believe combining TV content with Social TV and second-screen apps give broadcasters a great power and control to increase TV ratings.
For instance, we turn some of our TV formats into interactive, multi-platform experiences to follow new consumer media behaviours. In this scenario, we firstly select competitors via online media and attract audience via TV screen to participate.
Then comes the live TV interaction stage, where viewers are enabled to socially interact and participate and/or vote on TV show. Finally comes the post-processing pull stage, when viewers are enabled to enjoy lean back usage and second-screen TV applications.
The first step and the easiest tactic to get viewers connected is via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The challenge here is to develop second screen applications which offer a real-time stream of conversation, contests, photos and videos as the show airs.
It is also an advertiser’s dream to capture the consumer not only with one but also on two screens at the same time. Therefore we can say that the potential is great if the strategy includes the initiation of two-screen applications.
How can a broadcaster make it as easy as possible for a viewer to find content they enjoy?
Although traditional TV is still the flagship screen for content, viewers today wish to reach the content anywhere and anytime. In a market with 18.3mn broadband users and 10.6mn mobile internet users, no Turkish broadcaster can ignore the significance of multiscreen media consumption.
The main handicap unfortunately is the illegal online distribution of content. While it limits the monetization of online and mobile broadcasting, it also causes the cannibalisation of content and reduces its value.