Emerging Trend: Place-Shifting Powered by Mobile Devices

The other night I couldn't sleep and so I reached over to the nightstand and grabbed my Blackberry. I loaded my RSS feeds in the mobile view of Google Reader and spent the next 30 minutes catching up on business and political news. What is really striking about this was how simple and satisfying the experience of reading news and editorial on my Blackberry has become. Adding to the intrigue, I recently picked up a video iPod and have discovered the joys of photos and video on the super-small screen. For years people have been talking about the time-shifting that took off with TiVo and has only accelerated with the explosion of online video. The mass adoption of mobile devices like the Blackberry and iPod has suddenly made place-shifting commonplace. I think it's useful to frame the concept in more general terms than simply watching TV from any laptop or device. Place-shifting is being driven by content as much as it is by a specific medium (TV). It's common knowledge that people are spending more time online and less in front of their TVs because that's where the more interesting and interactive content is. It's not about getting TV anywhere, it's about getting the greatest selection of content. So what are the implications for online marketing? A few things come to mind: 1. Content rules more than ever. Strategies and plans need to be formulated with multiple channels and media in mind. Search still rules but the simplest mobile content channels (RSS, SMS, etc.) will continue to rapidly grow in importance. 2. Interactivity and participation work really well in a mobile world. When developing ideas for interactive campaigns consider the mobile user. Reaching this audience is still relatively difficult to do with compelling content but the barriers to doing so are falling rapidly. Get just a little bit ahead of the curve and incremental improvements to any online marketing program can be the result. 3. Tracking and analytics are lagging. As far as I know, the most popular analytics tools do not provide much visibility into the ways in which the mobile users are accessing and interacting with online sites and content. This will change but it remains a challenge. Place-shifting is real and is increasingly relevant to online marketing. Successful strategies in the days to come will hinge in part to how well marketers exploit the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls of this emerging trend.


merben said...

Great insight on Internet marketing. Mobile devices do have the potential to make an impact on online marketing.

PlusOne Marketing said...

Very interesting concept. Of course having an awareness of place means that we need to be acknowledging other aspects of their surrounding competing for attention.

And as you have pointed out in your example, you place was home in bed, but this also brings in time and your mental desire to either skim information of get really heavy into reading some items in particular.