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The Three Screen Trifecta What It Means To Marketing and Communications Pros

2 minute read | February 2009

Ed Dandridge, Chief Communications Officer, Nielsen

It used to be so simple: a TV show aired on television at a given time, and usually repeated a few months later. If someone knew they would not be home to watch a program, they’d set their VCR and watch the program later.  Likewise, measuring viewership was also a fairly straightforward affair.

Programs still air at a set time on TV, but now they’re replayed millions of times in any number of places – on the Internet, on a DVR or a cell phone.  Americans’ appetite for media remains as strong as ever and we are consuming it in new ways that are complex to measure.  The Three Screen era is here to stay, and Nielsen is innovating its analytics across all of these media platforms.

The competition for viewers – and advertising dollars – is intense, and networks, studios and other content providers are adapting how they produce and distribute their products.  In news, all of the major networks have interactive web sites that encourage viewer participation, and there is a steady stream of content produced specifically for the web to sate our appetite for news.

Perhaps the best example of how Three Screen has re-shaped how audiences consume media is the inauguration of President Barack Obama.  On January 20th, more than 37.8 million Americans viewed the proceedings on television – the second-highest number in more than 40 years of measurement.  But add to that the surge of people who viewed streaming video on Web sites and the inauguration was probably the most viewed in history.  This is a particularly fitting conclusion to a campaign that made extensive use of technology, whether blast e-mailing news of the selection of a vice president or raising more than $500 million online.

Just as content providers are re-thinking how to reach and engage audiences, so too should communications and marketing professionals.  It used to be straightforward: produce a white paper, issue a press release and put it on a news wire. But today, as the marketplace of information becomes ever-more competitive, fragmented and interactive, communicating with clients, employees, the media and other stakeholders requires a truly integrated approach.

What does that actually mean? Instead of press releases it means “smart releases” that integrate video, data and thought leadership commentary for distribution across multiple platforms — TV, radio, print, blogs, social networking, client newsletters and internal email.

In the coming week, check out the Wire for the latest edition of Nielsen’s Three Screen Report.  It will shed greater insight into how people consume media, and quantifies how usage is growing.  It will also provide further proof to everyone who communicates for a living that the three-screen trifecta is now essential to engaging your stakeholders.

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