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MEDIA VOICES: Reaching MTV's Multidevice Viewers

August 15, 2014 | Mobile | Video

Colin Helms
Senior Vice President, Connected Content
MTV Networks

Colin Helms, senior vice president of connected content at MTV Networks, says that while mobile video viewing of the network’s programming continues to grow, tablet users are more engaged, with streams per user 80% higher compared with smartphone viewers. Helms spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about how viewers of MTV’s programming are consuming video content across a variety of platforms and devices.

eMarketer: What video programming does MTV offer on mobile?

Colin Helms: Everything fans can find on our desktop experience is now available on mobile. This includes shows like “Teen Wolf,” “Finding Carter,” “Catfish” and “Awkward,” to annual events like the MTV Video Music Awards and MTV Movie Awards. Additionally, music programming, including live performances, interviews, music videos, new-form content originals and after-shows, is on mobile too.

“On desktop, mobile and our apps, ‘Finding Carter,’ ‘Teen Wolf,’ ‘Teen Mom 2’ and ‘Awkward’ are consistently the top-performing shows.”

eMarketer: What are your most-viewed videos or shows on mobile?

Helms: There has not been much difference in the most-viewed shows across different platforms or devices. On desktop, mobile and our apps, “Finding Carter,” “Teen Wolf,” “Teen Mom 2” and “Awkward” are consistently the top-performing shows.

eMarketer: How does MTV mobile viewing compare with desktop? Has the mix changed in recent years, and do you envision it changing in the next couple of years?

Helms: We’re seeing strong and consistent growth on our mobile platforms. A large part of this uptick is due to the introduction of our TV Everywhere mobile app in 2013 and the ability to authenticate to watch full episodes on mobile web.

It’s also due in part to migrating show pages to a more responsive design that optimizes the mobile experience.

eMarketer: How do viewing patterns differ between smartphones and tablets?

Helms: Currently, tablets make up 30% of mobile usage, but account for 45% of mobile streams. Our tablet users are more engaged, with streams per tablet user 80% higher than those for smartphone users.

eMarketer: Do you have insights about how people are watching your mobile programming—is it with mobile as the primary screen or in conjunction with TV?

Helms: It depends on the type of program. For water-cooler moments like the VMAs or “Teen Wolf,” we know our audiences are not only watching live, but are also in an active dialog via their mobile device.

“Our tablet users are more engaged, with streams per tablet user 80% higher than those for smartphone users.”

We’ve found great success in tapping into that passion to create experiences that can amplify and extend that engagement.

eMarketer: What can you tell us about advertising on smartphones and tablets—what sorts of ads work best on each of those devices, and how does this compare with desktop?

Helms: In the market overall, content is king. However, when it comes to handheld devices, the reality is that convenience is paramount.

When delivering ads to mobile viewers, it’s important that you not create too many barriers or delays for them getting to what they want.

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