February 5, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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How streaming TV is undergoing a major shift in the customer user experience

I started in this industry managing transitions in technology and customer preference, such as format changes—VHS to DVD, DVD to Blu-ray, then the move to digital. Now, we stand on the precipice of another transition: consistent usage.

The industry’s focus for many years centered on getting as many subscribed customers as possible. Whether those viewers watched content one day a week or seven was secondary. But here at Amazon Fire TV, we’re seeing a shift toward usage first. It’s become important to move away from just focusing on viewers who come to watch this month’s must-watch new show, and instead engage with customers on an ongoing basis, monetizing services through consistent views.

Free is a big draw

The one thing that is universal and resonates with customers is free. It’s simple and provides a transparent value proposition that matches customer expectations, resulting in a great customer experience and high engagement for services. 

I’m seeing ad-supported services, especially free ad-supported TV (FAST) partners, driving one of the highest growth categories on Fire TV. The FAST opportunity is huge, and services are evolving to meet customer needs, including Amazon’s Freevee service (previously called IMDb TV) and partners like Pluto TV and Tubi TV. They’re offering engaging content for customers, and in turn creating category opportunities for advertisers, with more viewers more frequently exposed to their messages. 

The transition to focusing on more consistent engagement has created a new essential: the ability for customers to access the content they want in the easiest way possible. Historically, live content such as sports is harder to find, so Fire TV continues to invest in linear content, because investing in linear content solves the tough-to-find problem. 

Meanwhile, viewers can watch games and live events on Fire TV with partners like Paramount+ and Twitch, or Thursday Night Football exclusively on Prime Video, the NFL’s first exclusive—and successful—national broadcast package with a digital streaming service. 

We’re excited about these partnerships, not only because they bring great content to our customers, but also because each partner approached us with a unique challenge they were trying to solve and an audience they were trying to reach. Our approach was to build personalized solutions that resonated with specific targets. 

When I sit down with major streaming partners to talk about how they’re going to show up on Fire TV, we discuss how we can build a targeted strategy that matches their business priorities and meets customers where they are. Some partners are most interested in engagement with their existing catalog, some are focused on subscriptions and some want to drive downloads of their apps––each partner wants something different.

One great example was our partnership with NBCUniversal and Peacock for the 2022 Winter Olympics. When customers turned on their Fire TVs during the Games, they saw a live TV content row (available to select partners in a beta) that allowed them to quickly find and access live moments that were important to them while they were actually airing. It was successful, both for the must-watch event each primetime, but also for events that appealed to a smaller and more passionate fan base—let’s say, curling fans who could easily find their sport directly from the home screen.

Ease of use, search … and voice

Further, with our most recent updated interface, we’ve integrated “search” and “find” to create a single destination where users can discover new content from Fire TV’s extensive catalog. And our Alexa hands-free voice controls make discovery even easier: Our research has found that over the past 12 months, customers who use voice features engage with content twice as much as those who don’t use voice controls. 

With this in mind, we unlocked new, exclusive Alexa capabilities for Thursday Night Football, like voice-enabled instant replays and enhanced player stats on Fire TV that make it easier to access important in-game moments and information just by using voice. Think about it: If you can ask Alexa to show that last touchdown again, it’s moving beyond ease of discovery to actually informing the viewing experience. This adds to the delight, quick discovery and continued engagement. And the more engagement with the content the better for our partners, including advertisers.

Connecting with audiences in relevant ways

I’m sometimes asked how the FAST experience can help advertisers offer more personalized messages. The new streaming viewing experience ensures that brand partners have the tools they need, putting the right content in front of customers at the right part of their journey. With FAST on Fire TV, you can have personalized, targeted capabilities that allow brands to reach audiences with the most relevant messages. For these reasons, we’re more prepared for the next transition than ever before. 

To learn more about advertising on Fire TV, click here.


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