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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Behind Screen #3

The NYTimes has an article today discussing how content providers are plowing ahead with big plans for mobile devices.  The very smart folks at ESPN are at the forefront of this industry, as they've figured out how to deliver the right content, at the right time, to their customers.  They see the mobile "screen" as a critical delivery tool:

“People talk about it being the third screen,” says John Zehr, senior vice president for digital video and mobile products at ESPN. “I talk about it being the first screen because it’s the closest to you.”

The article notes that they are leveraging data derived from one screen (computer) to better understand what types of content to push to another screen (mobile):

"For its part, ESPN is not holding back. It already tracks what computer users read on its Web site to determine what like-minded sports fans want to view on their phones, and is pursuing a patent to protect the technologies underlying its multiscreen effort."

And reading on, it's clear that they aren't just looking to match up the right content to the right group of viewers.  They are also working hard to deliver highly relevant, visitor-specific content to their visitors:

"The goal is to monitor individuals’ interests on the Web site and then
use the information to match cellphone content to their tastes. If
someone is watching a football game on ESPN.com
and has to hit the road, Mr. Zehr says, chances are that they would
like the game to appear on their cellphone 20 minutes later."

Now that's targeting.

Some nuggets of data from the article:

  • 9+M people visit the ESPN cellphone web sites each month
  • 64% of 18-24 year-olds watch TV with their cellphones almost always nearby
  • 44% of all cellphone owners use data services
  • >75% of 18-26 year-old cellphone owners use data services

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