While the majority of traditional media companies are just starting to get their heads around where audiences are and adjusting distribution channels in response, some digital-only companies are finding new ways to reach their audiences online when those audiences aren’t at a traditional device commonly used for mainstream media consumption.
And one of the most promising new places to pubish are those little boxes once thought of as the preserve of the teenage recluse – the gaming console.
Reddit – often known as “the internet’s front page” – is now available on Microsoft’s Xbox One games console, where gamers will be able to browse any of the site’s “subreddits” while they’re playing games through a dedicated app called “ReddX”.
Users of the app will be able to do all of the usual things they can do when browsing the site on desktop – read and participate in threads, view image galleries, watch YouTube videos, vote up and down posts, and zoom in and out of text-based threads.
Twitch, which live-streams people playing video games, already has an Xbox One app, but new features are being added, including the ability to watch a stream with friends, capture audio from headsets, and for the Kinect add-on to follow and zoom into your face while you’re live-streaming your gameplay.
The site itself is reportedly on the verge of being acquired by Google for a cool $1 billlion.
MTV is also launching an app on the Xbox One, in which users with an MTV subscription will be able to watch entire episodes of certain series, get sneak peeks and bonus clips, and also access fashion and pop-culture news as well as behind-the-scenes looks at hollywood movies. It’s unlikely that there’ll be music videos available in the app, too, but that kind of mirrors what MTV has become anyway…
Playing in new spaces
None of these developments are particularly groundbreaking in and of themselves, but they represent one older and two newer media companies reaching out to audiences on a platform that very few outside the gaming industry are accessing.
According to games market research company Newzoo, the global games market will be worth $75.2 billion this year, and is predicted to grow to $86.1 billion by 2016.
Those figures come from an industry reportedly attracting up to 1.2 billion active gamers, with 33.6 million of those in the UK.
Games consoles are also still the most popular devices for connecting TVs to the internet – according to Ofcom’s recent communications marketing report, they are responsible for 54 percent of internet connected TV activity (although that figure is slipping while set top box connections are growing).
Media consumption activity on games consoles still differs wildly from more traditional consumption devices, however. 36 percent of “watching” time spent on games consoles is on downloaded TV or films on DVD, Blu-ray, VHS while only one percent of watching time is spent looking at short online video clips from sites like YouTube.
That compares to 41 percent of watching time spent looking at YouTube on desktop, 28 percent on laptop, 36 percent on smartphone and 15 percent on tablet.
But as these devices become more popular, and become core parts of the media activity of a wider range of age groups, the opportunity is only going to get bigger. And one of the best ways to get more people using these channels to consume media is for publishers to start making their content avaialble on them.
Image via Rebecca Pollard used under a Creative Commons license.