July 25-27, 2018 / Vancouver, BC

Experiences On and Beyond the TV Screen - Anna Wu

September 6, 2016

Speaker - Anna Wu

Transcription coming soon

So today, I’m going to talk about the television industry. It’s a little bit in flux right now and what I mean by — oops in flux is how many people have cable? As a provider?

Not too many. I won’t tell my clients this. How many people stream Netflix? Hulu? A lot more. The rest of you guys are probably pirates, so don’t identify yourself. So what’s changed? Well, now we’ve got more content than we actually have more time to view them. And also we can access that whenever we want and enables that is the web. The web enables the on-demand streaming system allowing all of us to allow any time we want on our schedules, so that kind of empowers you, whereas because of that, the TV screen is starting to become an accessory, not the main screen, but you know, I’ll just watch HBO, Game of Thrones on my tablets instead of the television screen.

In traditional networks, they have this unique opportunity to capture that enormous amounts of viewers during a live broadcast, so what can we do as strategists and content designers, and even UX designers and UI designers, to make TV relevant again? There’s a saying where you keep your friends close and your frenemies closer, or your enemies closer, either way. Well, web is actually our best frenemy in the TV industry. Because it not only allows us to craft stories around the TV series, but it also extends the experiences on and beyond the TV screen. So what is the — oops, I’m not drunk. I didn’t drink.

[applause]

So what’s the viewing experience? Well, the TV viewing experience, we call it the 10-foot experience, isn’t just sitting in front of the TV and turning on the TV and then watching it for 30 minutes to 60 minutes. It’s actually broken down into thee phases and these phases are your pre, before it actually air, the airing, so the live broadcast, and the post show. Just because the episode aired doesn’t mean that it’s done.

So here are some strategies and tactics, I’m just showing you what they are, I’m not going into how we do it and why we do it. I’d need a little bit more time for that the first phase is your discovery and that’s the preshow where you really want to just grab the attention of all of your audiences and the most important take away is that identify your audience. Make sure that you reach out to them in the places that they’re going to be, so in our case, about two months ago, everyone was on Facebook, and then they gravitated towards Snapchat and then probably tomorrow you’re going to have to catch them all on Pokemon Go.

And so make sure whatever platform had you choose to capture that hype, to draw in that buzz, that it’s shareable and then also that the content itself is the contextual to your platform. So for example, once upon a time, guilty pleasure they tend to use Twitter to kind of release script teases and any insight in what you might see on this week’s live airing broadcast. The second phase is the engagement, and this is where the show goes live. What networks and TV series tend to do is they just kind of linger on that social media platform, so you’ll see #BBT, big bang theory and this is not the best way to engage your users.

In this case, depending on the type of show, remember that, depending on the type of show, there are dual screen strategies that actually can better respond to like multitasking interactions, and this is this is what we call watch-along strategies. It can help raising awareness and interest levels between the type of episodes or even between seasons because sometimes now they make us wait between two halves. So enticing with the added value and encouraging participation. So those of you who love zombies. —

There’s ANC, the walking dead, story synch. Anyone watch walking dead and use story synch? OK I’m not going to report that back, either. So with walking dead, we worked with AMC in creating an experience where what they saw on TV was synched to the material on any of their reach devices, which can be a laptop, a tablet and mobile. And strategies, you can predict who killed the most amount of zombies weigh in on the participants or the characters’ stress level, if the scene actually stressed you out. So this is data coming in while they’re watching the show and you can turn that data into insights. You can also find out more information about the weapon that the character use, so just giving more context and value to what you are watching on your 10-foot experience.

Another example is APTM Mohawk girls. We can add value to whatever is on the screen, so if you could see that the — on the TV screen there would be two girls having dinner, one of them is having a devious smile on her face and she’s looking at her phone, so obviously there’s a text message conversation going on. The only way of seeing this message is if the camera pans over to the phone itself, but you might not have time for it, so what we could do with the web and the reach devices as a watch-along is to show that while they’re showing the conversation at the table giving you the context of what she is she reading and lastly you can always create feedback loops between the TV and any reach device. Please feel free to ask me what reach devices are after.

So essentially you’re encouraging contextualization, so if a survey goes out to everyone watching on CBC, that information can be pulled up again and the broadcasters can mention everyone that has participated and finally, once an episode ends, the experience doesn’t have to, either. This is a great opportunity to retain your viewers interest until next Wednesday or until next season, and to do that, there are multiple tactics and strategies, one of them is you can provide exclusive news and context to kind of keep them in the loop with behind the scenes shootings of the next season or even gossip in between. Webisodes is the newest one.

They had a Battlestar Galacticca spinoff, and finally we’re going into storytelling and this is over several different platforms and using different formats of digital technologies, but the thing is it’s not the same story told on each of these platforms. So an example I can Give you is 19-2, 1920, the French version. It’s much better. That’s how I learned that, watching French subtitles. With them we created a web-based interactive game, graphic novels and an augmented reality application. Each of the platform actually told a different story from a different perspective of a character, so in order to get the full story you had to partake in every single platform.

The takeaway here is when you try to do transmedia, the audience doesn’t want repetition, they actually want a rich and satisfying tapestry of experiences. And finally a quick one recently, Mr. Robot, there was a drawing of a QR code that leads somewhere. I won’t give you a spoiler. So to wrap everything up, context is king, but behind every king there is a Khaleesi and she is our context, I’m not going to hit that again.

So to create that, so did with the king and queen in place, it’s really important when you’re building your kingdom to know thy audience, where they are, not where you’d like them to be, and create the content for the right context, bring people back to an appointment viewing broadcast, and any chill game screens is not the same as sci thriller and not the same as a reality show and is not the same as a kid’s show like Pokemon. Thank you for your attention.