Historic night in NBA gives snapshot into modern viewing habits

NBA Jordan/ James Side by side

Two points shy of becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer Lebron James backed his man down as a sold out Crypto.Com Arena stood with phones in hand ready to capture the historic moment. Dribble, dribble, dribble, step-back, history. 19,000 camera angles ready to be uploaded to social channels, shared in group texts, and saved forever. Shortly after, two images started making the rounds on social highlighting how the audience has changed since MJ buried a game winner in the 98’ NBA Finals to secure his 6th championship. It’s the perfect reminder for production teams that your audience is viewing your content with a second device in hand.

In a historic moment like this those phones are pointed at the action, but in most cases that device is drawing your audience’s attention away from your content – whether in-venue or in the living room. This is the norm, and content creators need to adapt their strategies to keep viewers engaged. Interactive technology has become a powerful tool for content creators to achieve this goal – not fighting against the second screen device, but instead learning how to incorporate it into creating interactive moments and deeper engagement.

Providing viewers with the ability to interact with the content on their second device, they are able to participate in the viewing experience, making it more enjoyable and memorable. Using interactive features like polls, quizzes, and trivia, gives audiences a meaningful reason to engage with your programming on their second-screen. This can help increase the audience’s attention span, reduce distractions, and create additional sponsorship opportunities. We see many productions in-venue or on-air, like the Golden State Warriors & Amazon’s Thursday Night Football, leaning into this and having great success.

Golden State Warriors
Amazon Thursday Night Football

In addition to the polling interactivity, bringing in real-time social conversation is another way to engage your audience and enhance your storytelling. Turner Sports does this at an award-winning level, and in this moment showcased posts on social that helped highlight the enormity of the moment. They showed posts from other NBA players congratulating Lebron, and brought in a Tweet from the locker room to give viewers a perspective they couldn’t see during the game broadcast.

Turner Sports – NBA on TNT Tuesday

Beyond the engagement, interactive technology enables content creators to gather valuable data about their viewers and use that information to create more targeted and personalized content. Using QR codes to drive the audience to your owned properties is one of the most valuable strategies in 2023. It keeps audiences on your platforms longer, it gives you control of the data, and allows you to create a strong story you can sell to your sponsors.

Content creators who are able to successfully adapt to the changing viewing habits of the digital age will be able to build stronger relationships with their audience, make their sponsors happy, and ensure the success of their content.

Interested in creating cross-channel  production strategies? 

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