Now Culture: Platforms

How will faster technology and the need for instant gratification impact on media platforms in 2016?

Now Culture: Platforms


2016 will see continued acceleration of on-demand content viewing across connected devices. We’re expecting to see more examples of broadcasters and content producers rewarding impatient fans by releasing season premieres, behind the scenes content, and sneak previews of new episodes.

We can also expect to see growth in more short-form, snackable video content that can be consumed on the go, via social newsfeeds. These nimbler, faster viewing choices will continue to impact on more traditional viewing habits particularly amongst younger viewer demographics – with young adult TV impacts already in decline by -8% YoY Jan – Sep 2015, 2016 is likely to see even greater dips in viewing.


The digital world used to be ruled by the 3-click rule, ensuring all information is accessible in 3 pages in order to maintain the
attention of the end user. As Now Culture begins to dominate, consumers are expecting an even easier, faster experience.

Amazon anticipatory shipping is a good example of how this is developing. This untested initiative relies on multiple data points and predictive analytics to build a profile of a suspecting purchase, then ships it out to a yet not known address. The purchase then happens and delivery is within hours. Its use of online (site visits, page view time, wish lists) and customer data (orders in region, telephone inquiries, previous shipments) is helping to produce predictive patterns to add to their already successful 1-click patent.

Google have however been in this space since 2012 with its Google Now service, a product built on past search data as well as browser history and location tied to a Google ID to deliver ‘search results before searching’. This trend continues to have the backing of other big tech companies with Microsoft Cortana and Apple Siri both moving into the space of providing instant answers from its access to multiple data touchpoint and the always with you nature of the mobile device.


Today, consumers are spoiled for choice: too many brands on shelf, too many platforms to resort to for finding content, too much information to consider before deciding on their purchase. And yet the amount of time they take to make decisions is shortening: partly because accessing information on products and services has become much easier and faster; partly because there is so much of that information that it would be humanly impossible to read through everything before making a decision.

It is precisely because of this contradictory dynamic that the notion of curation is becoming more dominant. Consumers don’t have the time to consume all data points about a product or service, yet want to make decisions faster so they rely on trusted sources of insight to inform their choices. Yet despite this palpable need, curation interestingly hasn’t made it as deeply into the advertising world as one would expect. Indeed, one hears of content curation around social media, to mention an example, but why is this practice of selecting, organising and looking after content not being more widely applied?

Programmatic needs to be woven into a much more complex feedback system that informs message curation as part of a broader strategy.

In programmatic, the data generated for and the speed at which insights could be gathered make it ideal for dealing with today’s Now Culture. Nevertheless, for this potential to be capitalised on, the existing paradigm must change. Rather than approaching it as a standalone, execution-only channel, programmatic needs to be woven into a much more complex feedback system that informs message curation as part of a broader strategy and planning exercise.

For example, multiple decision trees could be planned around customer journeys for a given audience cluster, which can then be delivered when specific triggers take place, the outcome of these feeding back into the original set of assumptions. Today, most of these triggers happen within the programmatic space (there are some exceptions of more sophisticated execution, of course) but what if these could come from all the different touchpoints a potential consumer may be exposed to and help us think, plan and deliver in a more holistic way?

It will be the sum of these parts for the purpose of gaining insights that inform the entire process that will allow us to take full advantage of the "speed to audience" made possible in programmatic and help us succeed with a digital-native, mobile generation.


Content continues to get quicker. Just look at the publishing products that have been launched or dramatically upgraded in 2015. The New York Times’ NYTNow app, Facebook Instant Articles and Twitter’s Moments - where Twitter’s editorial team curate collections of content around live news events, "bringing live news to life" in their words.

Then there’s Google Now on Tap, which, as part of the latest Android OS, analyses what appears on the user’s screen and then predicts what useful content to serve up related to what it "sees." For instance, when Now on Tap sees an emailabout making reservations at a certain restaurant, it will bring up Google Now’s familiar-looking cards to show directions to the restaurant, Yelp reviews, the menu and other information where applicable.

From a media perspective, this focus on content in the moment, provides buyers with many contextually interesting targeting opportunities. For example, the New York Times now allows advertisers to buy mobile ads against a particular moment in the day, like ‘prepare me for the day ahead’ or ‘help me follow a developing event’.


Google Now, surfacing relevant content on your home screen based on contextual learnings, knows what you want before you do. There are a few steps before this, that will help Google develop its predictive algorithm – evidence that this is underway can be observed with auto-complete style instant searches through Google Voice search. To support this trend in the short term, we’ll need to optimise our search campaigns for multiple keyword searches. ‘Where is the Eiffel Tower’ rather than ‘Eiffel Tower’ for example.