Discoverability is TV’s new battleground

Luke Carmichael, head of advertiser partnerships at Samsung Ads Australia explains why discoverability is now one of the most important elements for content providers.

There has never been so much TV content readily available across multiple services and growing viewership is no longer a case of ‘build it and they will come’. Brands and content providers who are battling for attention on the biggest screen in the household must shift their focus towards discoverability.

There is no doubt that the pandemic changed how Australians watch TV. 8.6 million Australians now access content via a smart device every day. We’re not alone in thinking this, as Seven recently confirmed CTV is the most underutilised platform in Australia. As content multiplies, the battle for attention on the largest screen in the home is heating up.

However, the golden age of TV and the proliferation of choice comes with a downside for the end consumer; they’re overwhelmed by the abundance of choice. A study commissioned by NOW showed that people will spend 100 days of their lives deciding what to watch and 49% of people take so long to decide that they end up watching nothing at all.

Content players so far have focused heavily on creating the best app, with the best user experience and the best content. But that’s only half the job of building and retaining a strong user base. Content is scattered across multiple platforms, each with its own search and discovery functionality. As viewers deal with decision paralysis, content providers have a big opportunity to simplify the journey of discovery.

Discoverable by design

Smart TVs are evolving to reduce some of the burden of decision making by providing smart design and relevant recommendations for audiences based on their interests and past viewing behaviour. However, it’s also important for brands and publishers to ensure their content is readily available across third-party integrations. You can have the best app, with great content, but if someone can’t find it on a third-party platform, then it becomes somewhat redundant. The curation of stories needs to span on and off the platform.

According to a PWC survey, 79% of viewers look to the Smart TV home screen to aid discovery and recommendation. App usage on Smart TV’s is set to soar. We have entered a new era of content discovery and navigation is a crucial factor when it comes to the modern TV experience.

Inside of all of those apps, providing content which keeps people glued and then recommending someone’s next binge-worthy series, latest docuseries and the smart TV homescreen on the plays an important part of this.

Loved that, what’s next?

So, how can you take the DNA of a smart TV app and make it more discoverable? One vital component is to use the personalisation features available within different integrations and optimise the discovery experience. For example, the ‘continue watching’ shelf within a connected TVs user interface is just as important as the ‘continue watching’ feature in a content provider’s own app.

Providers can also play with push factors, like testing native placements with different creative and calls to action within third-party interfaces. Is your journey from a native ad to the app and content library as seamless as possible?

Acquisition isn’t the only piece of the puzzle though. Audiences are more transient in a world of choice, so it’s critical to show them content they may not yet have heard about, but are likely to enjoy. Retention is an important strategic opportunity, and publishers should find every opportunity within a third-party interface to make it easier for viewers to discover what they want to watch next.

Data led recommendations

Smart design on Smart TVs is an obvious win to get audiences to interact with content, but this can be far more potent when data is used to create a personalised TV experience that enables useful and time-saving content discovery for the viewer. It’s this understanding that can make the difference – knowing the content a Smart TV device interacts with can provide useful clues for publishers in what to suggest for that device.

This might look like a smart TV recommending a Netflix show about F1 to big motorsport fans, or suggesting a new sci-fi show to viewers who have an affinity to Sci-fi content, without the viewer spending wasteless time googling ‘best new sci-fi shows to watch in 2022’.

Publishers looking for ways to reach and hang onto audiences should have an audience-centric approach to reaching the end viewer. Pointing viewers towards content they’ll love right from the homepage can turn a frustrating search into a rewarding TV experience. This ultimately creates a receptive and engaged audience for content creators.

The TV landscape is fragmented, and consumers have an overwhelming menu of choices, so much so that they’re willing to not watch anything when battling decision fatigue. We need to do something more to stand out. Building omnipresence is multifaceted and it’s the new battleground for content players to explore.

Luke Carmichael, head of advertiser partnerships at Samsung Ads Australia


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.