According to a recent Nielsen report, “In Q1 2012, Americans spent nearly 35 hours per week watching video across screens and close to another 5 hours using the Internet on the computer.” If we break it down by daily activity, the statistics are even more revealing. A recent Google report found that we spend 4.4 hours of our time in front of screens daily – about 17 minutes on the smartphone, 30 minutes on the tablet, 39 minutes on the laptop/PC, and 43 minutes on the TV.
What do these statistics have to do with your nonprofit news organization? Well, the audiences and public you aim to reach are part of that mix – they are the ones accessing multiple screens for media content daily and weekly and not using just one device to do so but multiple.
This week the Hub focuses on the importance of a cross-platform and multi-screen strategy for the news venture. Two recent reports, one by Google and Nielsen clearly show the trend of how the American population is consuming media content in a variety of ways, across a variety of devices, in different contexts – both simultaneously and sequentially. This represents a great opportunity for your news organization to develop ways to reach your news audience in different ways than before.
Simultaneous and Sequential Screen Use
Google conducted a study in Q2 of 2012 in partnership with Sterling Brands and Ipsos of 1,611 participants to find out their attitudes and behaviors associated with various digital activities. Based on mobile text diaries, online bulletin boards and in-home interviews in select cities, they found some interesting results. They identified users had two ways of consuming media content through sequential (moving between devices) and simultaneous use (multiple devices at the same time).
Sequential screen use showed that most online tasks start with using the smartphone and then the user moves onto another device (laptop, tablet, etc.) to complete the task.
Among those surveyed, sequential screen use showed people perform the following tasks when moving between devices:
- 81% Browsing the Internet
- 72% Social networking
- 67% Shopping online
- 63% Searching for information
- 43% Watching an online video
Simultaneous screen use showed people perform the following activities at the same time:
- 60% Emailing
- 44% Surfing the Internet
- 42% Social networking
- 25% Playing a game
- 23% Searching for information
- 15% Working with documents
- 9% Watching videos
Furthermore, during this simultaneous screen use, they are using multiple devices at the same time:
- 92% between PC and smartphone
- 92% between PC and television
- 90% between smartphone and television
- 89% between television and tablet
The key take-away from all these statistics demonstrates that news organizations have the opportunity to be involved in users’ simultaneous and sequential screen use.
Developing a Multi-screen and Cross-Platform Strategy
As a nonprofit news venture, you may think only of your website but now is the time to think across multiple platforms. The statistics show that you can’t just think of only one platform now. It’s important to start creating a cross-platform and multi-screen strategy that will help drive your audience to your site in different contexts.
If you have a news story that will be featured in your community, region or nationwide through media partners, the cross-platform strategy should be implemented.
Are you currently showcasing or featuring your news stories based on any content collaborations or media partnerships in the following ways?
- Local television news segments in the nightly news broadcast
- A news segment on the local news radio station
- A documentary feature on the local television news station
In any one of these cases, the viewer or listener may be hearing about your news story and may go to another screen – laptop, smartphone or tablet to go to your website to get more information on the story – at the same time while listening or watching the story. They also may go to your website right after they have heard or saw the news story. This is a perfect example of how this simultaneous or sequential screen use can come into the mix. Also, is your online presence set up in such a way that if you have users come to the mobile app or website and they can immediately find that news story they just heard or saw and get the information and interact with it?
Your cross-platform strategy should include the following items:
- Identify the venues by which your news audience can come to your content when it is showcased/featured by other content collaborators/media partners.
- Create a design/layout that will showcase your news story front and center on the tablet app, mobile app and website for multi-screen users to access it quickly.
- Create an engagement strategy that can tie into the overall story experience so that the user can interact with the story and your news organization.
- Identify an upcoming news story that you can use as your beta-test for this cross-platform/multi-screen strategy.
You may also want to consider hosting some focus groups or conducting a survey in your community to find out exactly how your community is consuming media content across platforms simultaneously and sequentially so that it can inform your strategy.
After you have implemented your strategy, take notes on what worked and didn’t work so well – look at your web and mobile analytics to see exactly where people came from and match it up to the media partners’ analytics (television or radio) to see how much the sequential or simultaneous activity occurred. Based on that experience, you can then modify it for the next big news story launch.
Media consumers are connected to their screens 24/7 – whether that is the television, the smartphone, laptop or tablet. News organizations have the opportunity to be where the media consumer is – on all screens. This is a chance for news organizations to grow and nurture that news audience base. Those news organizations that do will be one step ahead of the rest.