No more hide and seek: why Connected TV is the holy grail for content discoverability

Minai Bui (Source: Samsung Ads)

The streaming revolution has sparked a fire beneath content production, with hit after hit, there has never before been so much high quality, entertaining content available. And audiences are loving it – whether it’s a bingeable crime docuseries or period drama – TV entertainment from the comfort of our living rooms is enjoying (another) golden era.

But it is possible to have too much of a good thing – with so much content to choose from, the modern day TV viewer is often left dealing with decision paralysis. Samsung Ads’ Is TV Just TV? report found that 35% of viewers become frustrated after spending 5 minutes browsing through content options.  A situation where content owners can not risk falling foul too, given the creative and financial investments.

In today’s burgeoning TV landscape, producing amazing content is no longer enough. There is more to be done in order to make sure one’s content can be discovered and watched by relevant audiences. Luckily for content owners, advancements in TV technology coupled with the growing popularity of smart TVs (nearly 3/4 quarters of the UK households claimed to own a smart TV as of 2023), means that there are increasingly more opportunities to drive the discoverability and  distribution of content to the right audiences, during the moments that matter.

One click too many 

Content may well be king, but convenience will decide where the crown lies, and that desire for convenience starts the very moment a consumer picks up their remote. In recent years, we’ve seen the rising use of short-cut buttons built into the infrastructure of the remote (think your Netflix or Amazon Prime Video branded buttons) as one way of easing the decision making process for audiences. It cuts out the middle stages and takes the viewer directly through to a specific app.

This is a great opportunity for content owners to position themselves directly in the users’ decision making process and puts them at the forefront of audiences’ minds from the moment the user experience begins. 

A home (screen) run  

Every TV viewing journey starts on the TV home screen – it is here where consumers decide what they are going to watch, and here where content owners should be thinking about how and where they position themselves to best promote their content and capture viewer attention.

In the same way that household brands invest in where their product is positioned in an aisle of a supermarket, content owners can apply the same principles from the tried-and-tested supermarket formula to their home screen strategy.  The positioning and placement of a product matters, and these principles hold true for a consumer doing the weekly shop, just as much as they do for a viewer selecting what show or movie to watch in an evening.

There are many ways to go about amplifying one’s content on the home screen of a smart TV – from driving users directly into the app, right down to highlighting particular episodes within a season. Investment in paid ad placements on the home screen is an effective way of ensuring content achieves maximum awareness. As an example, Samsung Ads’ latest ad product – Sponsored Row – is a new discovery solution for content owners seeking to drive more audiences to their content on Samsung TVs. The ad format sits directly below a viewer’s organic personalised recommendations and recently viewed content, and allows content owners to promote a collection of movies, shows and programmes to relevant audiences. By demonstrating the breadth of content a content owner has to offer, they can ensure they are front of mind for the viewer when it comes to making decisions about what content to watch.

One key consideration for content partners looking to stand out from the crowd is creative and design – and this applies to both their paid ad creative, as well as their organic app placements. Is the design of the app and ad creative distinctive enough to entice users to open the app over other apps that sit alongside it? Can users easily find out what content is available within the app? What unique data can content partners leverage from smart TV manufacturers to conduct A/B testing and determine which creative is most effective at driving greater app engagement? In a world where the next viewing option is only a click away, ensuring a viewer can easily ascertain upfront what content they can expect to view from an app creates a more seamless user journey; and sometimes these seemingly small refinements can make the biggest difference.

Additionally, advancements in smart TV technology and data can help do some of the heavy lifting for content owners. With smart TVs come smart insights. TVs today are able to make content recommendations based on previous viewing behaviours – a feature increasingly appreciated by consumers, particularly as a way to combat decision paralysis. In Samsung Ads’ Is TV Just TV? report, over half of respondents said they make use of the “Recommended for you” section generated by streaming services when browsing for the next TV show or film to watch. This means that content delivered to audiences who have previously shown an interest in the same or similar type of genre or style, will likely lead to higher levels of engagement.

Old tricks, new home  

In this golden era of television, audiences are in the driving seat with more content than ever before at their fingertips. Content owners, too, will remain beneficiaries of the streaming revolution, so long as they continue embracing the ever-expanding plethora of tools to capture this audience excitement and attention.

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