Mobile is bringing the spectacle back

Through two avenues--direct viewership and social interaction--mobile devices are helping to digitally resurrect big top events. Marketers and producers are taking notice and determining how to turn yearly televised affairs into veritable spectacles.

As far as over-the-top goes, few outpace the Olympics. Nielsen announced last week it teamed with NBCUniversal to track the multi-platform audience of this year's events in Sochi to gauge the exposure of five national ad campaigns.

The consumer tracking company looked at the advertising efforts across three platforms--television, online and mobile--to determine their respective reaches. While the firm expects to release the numbers later this year, it said digital video viewing on the whole had doubled in 2013, and the company is planning on adding mobile reach to its reports in the third quarter.

"We're living in a cross-platform world," says Megan Clarken, global product leader at Nielsen. "Whether you're 45, living in Boise and watching on your big screen or a 19-year-old tuning in from your smartphone at a Starbucks in Atlanta, we need to be able to capture your ad exposure."

While the consumption of media through mobile offers a new platform for content creators, it's the potential of the second screen as a supplement to unifying events that will especially drive viewership and engagement, according to Mat Honan at Wired.

Live performances allow instant reaction, something heretofore lost with television. Now, in the age of Twitter and Instagram, retweets and hashtags provide the digital "oohs and aahs."

"Television has talked to us for decades, but it never listened," Honan says. "While we all watched events like the moon landing at the same time, we did so in pockets of isolation."

With social networks, there's a sense of community and getting in on the action, a phenomenon that led this year's social savvy Oscars to reach its highest ratings in 14 years.

"Today the conversation is the event: The highlight of the show is what happens simultaneously on another screen. It's experiential synchronicity," Honan observes.

For more:
- read this Mobile Marketer article about the Nielsen/NBCUniversal project
- read the Wired article about the second screen

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