April 18, 2018 By Zak Mehan
The streaming giant reported financial earnings this week and Wall Street liked what it saw. The company added 7.4 million new subscribers, bringing its global total to 125 million. The company is also partnering with Comcast to start bundling its shows into Comcast content offerings, adding a conduit to audiences besides cord-cutters.
And it knows that keeping those subscribers hooked won’t come cheap. The company plans to shell out $8 billion on content in 2018, which CEO Reed Hastings says still isn’t enough.
Cool. People watch Netflix. Big whoop. Let me get back to Flint Town.
Big whoop, indeed. Netflix’s status as a content powerhouse is important, especially as the video-on-demand provider houses more deep-dive documentaries into industries, or even companies. Documentaries often take an in-depth look into already-scrutinized industries like pharmaceuticals or finance, which could substantially exacerbate public perception problems within these industries and create substantial brand headaches.
Engagement with Netflix documentary producers should be done carefully and soberly. They have a powerful access point to a massive (and growing) audience, creating new reputational risks to companies.
Every once in a while, we think it’s instructive to see how media companies – companies that literally exist because of human attention – make use of social media channels and capabilities to reach their audience. After all, they should be masters of the art. And some are.
Digiday writes that Bustle, a news and entertainment publisher, uses Instagram’s Stories like episodic TV. For those unfamiliar, Stories is a capability within Instagram that allows a user to take a photo or video, overlay text and effects and broadcast it to followers for 24 hours. Company pages can keep these stories on their profiles for later viewing.
Bustle, and sibling sites Romper and Elite Daily, are producing numerous shows that air in small portions over the course of Stories. The publishers are then selling ad spots to companies to be spliced between Stories.
While not all brands will have enough content to build the equivalent of an episodic TV show, all should consider the function strongly in their social media strategy. Stories are a great platform for building narratives over time or hosting series. They also feature at the top of users’ screens when the app is opened and offer opportunities to add engaging text and tell stories. Keep this one in sight.
For anyone as nerdy as me, I’d recommend checking out Harvard’s Nieman Lab’s digital and social media research round-ups. One published this week featured a plethora of teachings about the spread of fake news, the effectiveness of fact-checkers and how audience analytics are impacting the way newsrooms operate.
Given we’re all about visual content this week, we wanted to touch on one study relating to what’s been a pretty hot topic over the last year or so: the rise of 360-degree and virtual reality video content.
In particular, Nieman Lab highlighted a study from Columbia University on whether 360-degree video news stories generate more empathy than text-based articles with video screenshots. It’s probably unsurprising that the result is that they do (albeit amongst an audience comprised mostly of individuals from 18 to 34).
This is important as companies try to figure out how to really connect with audiences using the multitude of tools available through digital media channels. One sure-fire way seems to be to provide stakeholders with an immersive, visual experience that makes the video a reality that person can experience.
Also, not to get too wonky here, but empathy – evoking feeling – is something that cuts across audiences, be they policymakers, investors or end-consumers. We think these enhanced video experiences should be an important part of any digital communications arsenal, no matter what the situation.
Should Social Media Companies Pay Us For Our Data? NPR
Report: Social media use is increasing despite privacy fears TNW
Social media, politics, and the bubble of distraction TechCrunch
AT&T, Time Warner CEOs to Take the Stand in Defense of Merger WSJ