Out-of-Home Viewing Offers Opportunity

Streaming platforms should pursue a big, untapped audience beyond the residential market
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If you’re a content or channel provider, it’s easy to get caught up in the dizzying array of options you have for getting your content to your audience. What’s the best strategy?

Garrett Dodge, Rockbot 

Garrett Dodge, Rockbot 

Whether you are a well-established content provider or new streaming brand, the pursuit of new viewers has become more costly and complex in our multiplatform world. As the competition has grown, content brands have been seeing the wisdom in additional distribution strategies, including ad-supported video-on-demand channels on platforms like Pluto, Xumo, tubi, fuboTV and more.

And why not? Isn’t a good financial adviser’s advice always to diversify your portfolio in order to take advantage of emerging trends and protect yourself in a constantly changing business environment?

That seems to be the siren call of channel and content providers — be everywhere viewers are! Well, while channels vie for launches on consumer-focused apps, OTT platforms, cable platforms and other digital channel aggregators, there is another distribution opportunity that has left a massive audience largely untapped for both traditional cable channels and streaming-first brands.

The out-of-home (OOH) video market includes video watched in every space outside of one’s own home or personal devices. And I’m sure you’re thinking about those TVs in your local bar or gym, and you’d be right, but add to that restaurants, hotels, casinos, live event venues, spas, salons, airports, medical offices, department or any retail store chain … the list goes on.

It’s a large enough audience that Nielsen announced it would incorporate out-of-home viewing in its national ratings. Sports networks, for example, can see an average lift of 11% in total audience when OOH viewership is integrated, according to Nielsen.

Historically out-of-home video/TV fell into two buckets: (1) residential cable or satellite that reached the audience but was lacking in a fundamental understanding of the out-ofhome market and how to measure it; and (2) place based out-of-home video networks like Captivate and CNN Airport that provided targeted audiences but with a limited footprint of locations. But OTT has, well, kicked both buckets!

With the consumer market well into year five of massive cord-cutting and streaming now no longer novel, the out-of-home market is starting to follow suit. Like consumers, businesses are looking to find ways to save on their bloated bundles, but they also want to have access to content that is unavailable through their cable or satellite subscriptions. Even beyond that, businesses want better alignment between the content they feature and the physical spaces in which it is featured. This introduces vast new opportunities for specialized content providers — Fashion TV, for example — as well as new content packages from large content brands, such as news packages for Gen Zers in college. OTT-delivered channels and content provide the kind of flexibility for businesses and variety for out-of-home viewers at a more affordable cost.

OTT-based platforms allow content providers to extend their reach and get more value out of their investments in packaging and distributing their content on other streaming platforms simply by easily ingesting feeds from partners like Wurl, Amagi, Zixi and Disney Streaming Services.

But it’s not just a matter of getting another platform launch. Being available on a platform that can put you in front of hundreds of millions of viewers in gyms across the country, or people waiting for their flight in the airport, or groups of friends watching together in bars and restaurants … it adds up.

To discount the out-of-home market’s importance is to miss the opportunity to reach coveted audiences. Nielsen found that 39% of all out-of-home viewing came from Gen Zs and millennials, of 14% more than their national in-home viewing.

Like any solid financial strategy, if you want to hedge your bets and future-proof your investment, then look to build a balanced portfolio. In the content business, there’s just too much money on the table not to include out-of-home in your overall distribution strategy.

Garrett Dodge is CEO of Rockbot, a streaming TV and music platform for businesses. 

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