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P&G, Coca-Cola eye bigger role as mobile video producers

In a sign of mobile?s growing importance for video content consumption, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola are reportedly looking at building branded video streaming channels in India as an alternative to television ads.

Media consumption rates on mobile continue grow, with many brands now considering advertising on smartphones and tablets an important extension of their TV advertising. However, with mobile becoming the first screen for many consumers, especially in emerging markets such as India, more brands could begin to look beyond simply making mobile their primary advertising channel and at producing video content on a bigger scale to help engage mobile users.

?Mobile as a dominant platform isn?t a shocking notion as more and more people are using it as a dominant screen,? said Britt Peterson Fero, head of strategy at Publicis Seattle.

?Moreover, given that Internet penetration in India is really driven by mobile, it's not surprising to see brands leverage this as a core screen there,? she said.

?What is significant to me is the move towards becoming content producers/publishers. This underscores a new era of brands becoming producers, not just marketers, and the investment in creating content of value, not just ads.?

In discussion
The report in India?s The Economic Times says P&G and Coca-Cola have had preliminary discussions with top wireless carriers in the country about starting their own streaming video channels that would deliver branded content and ads to smartphone users. The channels would be offered free to India consumers.

Such mobile video channels would, in theory, cost less than traditional TV ads. Additionally, the brands would have a better of idea of who is watching their ads, something that is a challenge on TV.

As mobile networks continue to be upgraded, it is becoming more feasible for brands to deliver video content on mobile and be assured that the user experience will be favorable.

P&G and Coca-Cola both have a large international presence and have been very active in mobile marketing in many of the markets where they have a presence.

Dominant video channel
While this is all reportedly still in the discussion stage, it is possible that other brands could consider a similar strategy.

?It?s a question of which screen leads in certain scenarios and where the mobile experience delivers better than other screens,? said Ms. Peterson Fero. ?Mobile isn't just a place to run TV ? it carries different uses in different situations and you have to build for that.

?But as far as video content distribution, yes ? mobile is going to become a more likely contender as a dominant screen/channel. In fact, it is well on its way to doing that,? she said.

Brands could face several challenges with this strategy.

For example, building the relationships with wireless carriers may not be easy.

Also, brands will need to be able to develop compelling content that will keep consumers coming back to their video channels. This could significantly impact the operational structure of big consumer marketing brands.

?There's business opportunity in it for wireless companies, particularly in India where a big percentage of people still aren't using data fully,? Ms. Peterson Fero said. ?But that's a cost to wireless companies too, so the challenge is in establishing mutual equity.

?The success of this program relies less on the channel and more on whether or not people are invested in the content each brand is producing,? she said. ?If they've got something valuable that can entertain me or that I'm vested in spending time with, then great, I?ll seek it out, and if you do that through my mobile device you're just making it easier for me.?

Multi-screen experiences
The news is the latest evidence of the shrinking role for traditional TV and print advertising as mobile continues to grow.

For example, P&G and Coca-Cola both leverage a wide of mobile marketing and advertising tactics, including in-app ads, mobile social media, SMS and mobile payments.

?People have been talking about TV and print dying for some time and it hasn't happened,? Ms. Peterson Fero said. ?It does send a signal that mobile isn't just an 'emerging platform' any more though.

?Mobile is just as dominant as the Internet and it's rapidly becoming people's most-used screen,? she said. ?Marketers need to live up to the challenge of delivering a multi-screen experience ? not just one built for traditional TV.?