The National Hockey League has moved into online video in a big way and that decision has paid off. The league reported a 17 percent increase in traffic to NHL.com, plus a 93 percent jump in mobile page views.
The NHL’s move includes both mobile device and connected TV strategies, and is designed to bring games to every screen in the house. Along the way, the league has learned lessons that apply equally well to anyone delivering online video. Here’s how Chris Golier, vice president of mobile marketing and strategy for the NHL, tells it:
1. There’s a Social TV Revolution Taking Place
Viewing videos is no longer a solitary activity. People are using social tools to share their thoughts and see what friends are watching. Besides simply streaming video, content owners need to provide tools for sharing and help shape the discussions.
“We’re seeing a social TV revolution,” said Golier. “We’re seeing all these platforms like Facebook and Twitter who are enabling conversations to happen, and now it’s up to the league to get involved in those conversations, to curate them, to provide tools to enable conversations to happen.”
2. Video Is Now a Four Screen Experience
With its GameCenter cross-platform product line, the NHL has started streaming to smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs. By serving its audience on any platform, it found that total viewing grew tremendously.
“What we’ve done this year is really make an aggressive push for a four screen initiative. Purchase once, register with us, and access across all four screens,” said Golier.
3. Tablet Viewing is More Popular Than Smartphone Viewing
While the smartphone was once a popular option for mobile video streaming, the tablet has taken over — at least for couch viewing. The NHL’s viewers use their tablets to engage in a social experience while watching a game. That’s an opportunity for the league to deliver interactive editorial and advertising content to its viewers.
“Mobile and tablet fans in general over-consume during game-time hours,” said Golier.
4. Be Where Your Fans Are
The NHL’s fans have above average incomes and are more likely to have tablet computers. That’s a strong reason why the league needs to have its content available for tablet viewing.
“We need to continue to be digitally progressive,” said Golier.
5. Customize Your Content for the Device
A TV experience is different than a smartphone experience, and both are different than a tablet experience. So why should the interface and options be the same for each? Delivering interactive content on tablets keeps your audience engaged and delivers new functionality to your advertisers. That way, you can deliver a higher-value ad experience, even if the audience is smaller.
“Somebody who’s watching an ad on television, it should be a different experience than watching an ad or sponsorship opportunity on a tablet,” said Golier.
Scroll down to view the entire interview (courtesy of Beet.TV).