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Why TV is such a big deal for Twitter

ad completion rates by content type

The New York Times reported that Twitter is in talks with Apple to put an app on Apple TV. Make no mistake, this is a very big deal for Twitter. Without wide coverage on connected TVs the audience for premium sports on the platform will be limited.

Twitter is relying on premium sports to help establish its live streaming platform online. To date, the company has struggled to establish a viable advertising model. Live streamed sports are its best hope of driving serious advertising revenue.

Connected TV engagement is much higher

The primary reason Apple TV, and connected TV in general, is so important to Twitter is engagement. According to Nielsen’s latest Comparable Metrics report, connected TV users watch video on their device 145 minutes a day. That’s compared to PC video streamers, who watch 97 minutes per day, smartphone video viewers (19 minutes) and tablet viewers (35 minutes.)

This data suggests that the average connected TV viewer will watch 50% longer than a PC viewer and 7 times as long as a smartphone viewer.

Live sports on connected TV is a killer ad combination

Coupling connected TV’s stellar engagement with live video’s ability to provide quality ad delivery is a great combination. Freewheel says that live video completion rates are the highest of all content forms. For example, 30 second ad completion rates in live are 87%, long form delivers 84% completions and short form 76%.

As well, ad completion rates on connected TVs are simply extraordinary. Freewheel says 93% of connected TV ads are watched to completion compared with 85% for tablets, 84% on the PC, and 78% on smartphones.

Even more important is the number of ads delivered during the event. Here again live excels. Freewheel says the average mid-roll break in live content delivered 5.8 ads, while on-demand delivered 3.8 ads.

Penetration of connected TV at all-time high

160817 connected TV device share US 2016Leichtman Research Group reports that 65% of US TV households have a television connected to the Internet. However, the mechanism used by consumers to connect their TV varies greatly. Nielsen says that 44% of US households have a game console, 23% have an enabled smart TV, and 24% have a streaming media player.

Among streaming media players Apple isn’t the sales leader. Roku accounted for 30% of units sold in 2015, Amazon Fire TV (stick and set-top) and Chromecast both represented 22% of sales, and Apple TV trailed with 20%. The new Apple TV, released in the fourth quarter of 2015, will likely increase the devices share.

Apple TV just a start

If Twitter is to maximize the ad opportunity with the NFL, and other sports it has the rights to, Apple TV is just the start. It must quickly get apps on all the major platforms people use to stream video to their TVs. Expect announcements of channels on Roku and Chromecast before the start of the NFL season.

Why it matters

Twitter is allegedly in talks with Apple to get an app on Apple TV to deliver streamed NFL games.

Connected TVs drive much better engagement than any other platform.

Live video, and in particular live sport, is the best online video ad delivery vehicle.

The combination of connected TV and live sport will deliver more ads and higher ad values than any other connected platform.

Twitter needs to get apps on all the top connected TV platforms, not just Apple TV

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