Coca-Cola Partners With BeApp To Launch 60-Day Live-Streamed Concert Series

Coca-Cola has partnered with a new live music streaming platform called BeApp to launch Coke Studio Sessions, bringing fans 60 consecutive days of intimate live-streamed concerts.

Through BeApp, available for free on iOS and Android, fans can access immersive performances daily, at 7 p.m. ET, from 100 artists worldwide, including Katy Perry, Bebe Rexha, Miguel, Steve Aoki and the cast of Hamilton. 

BeApp’s first weekend of live streaming kicked off on May 14 with performances from Diplo and DJ Khaled, among others. Reruns of concerts will be archived on BeApp or Coca-Cola’s YouTube channel within 24 hours after they’ve streamed.

BeApp offers a gamified experience that enables fans to invite friends and family to join live streams, gain currency points through interacting and sharing through the app and redeem points for prizes like artist shout outs, BeApp merchandise and “front row seats.” For example, when fans win seat upgrades, their photo and name will be visible to live-stream viewers.

Throughout the 60-day Coke Studio Sessions, fans can also donate to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to support relief efforts. Coca-Cola will match up to $3 million in donations made through the activation.

Coca-Cola says it was in talks with BeApp about the Coke Studio Sessions well before the pandemic but accelerated the launch as stay-at-home orders remained in effect.

Verizon launched a similar series called Pay It Forward Live, which aims to keep live music alive while supporting small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, artists perform live from their living rooms. Fans can watch via Verizon’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as Yahoo, Fios channel 501 and 604, among others. For every use of the hashtag #PayItForwardLIVE, Verizon pledges $10 toward small businesses for up to $2.5 million. 

As for how organizers of major musical events have responded to limitations: On April 18, Global Citizen broadcasted an eight-hour cross-platform musical special in partnership with the World Health Organization in support of healthcare workers. Coca-Cola was one of 12 corporate partners behind the digital event. 

Music festivals have pivoted virtually at a time when venues are closed and consumers turn to live-streamed events for respite from the current state of affairs. According to the tenth wave of The Harris Poll’s COVID-19 survey, conducted between May 1-3 among 2,039 US adults, 56 percent of Americans say they’re listening to music to cope with stress and anxiety, including 67 percent of 18-34 year-olds.

The Harris Poll also found that 35 percent of Americans accessed a free trial or activated a new subscription for music, news, fitness, or online learning service during March and April.

Marketers Value Content But Aren’t Using Tech To Manage It

Seventy-two percent of marketers view content as a core business strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report, “2020 Content Management & Strategy Survey,” fielded pre-pandemic in January and February. Yet the findings suggest that organizations are not using technology sufficiently to carry out strategic content management.

Just 23 percent of respondents say they’re extremely or very successful with strategically managing content across their business. Half of the respondents attributed the success of their content strategy to the ability to connect with their audience’s values, interests and/or pain points.

The two primary considerations while planning content include driving the brand’s value proposition (82 percent) followed by showing empathy with customers’ values, interests and/or pain points (78 percent).

Nearly half (43 percent) of respondents say they take a project-focused response to creating content.

Seventy-eight percent of marketers say their organization takes a strategic approach to managing content. When asked why their organization doesn’t take a strategic approach to content management, 63 percent of respondents named a lack of processes and 57 percent reported that leadership hasn’t made it a priority. A little over half (52 percent) cited a lack of financial investment in resources.

What’s more, 73 percent of respondents say they either don’t have the right technology to strategically manage content or they aren’t fully using the technology they have to its potential.

The top three cited content technologies in place include social media publishing and analytics (90 percent), email marketing software (84 percent) and content management systems (71 percent).

Other challenges to strategic content management include inadequate staff skilled in content strategy (63 percent) and communications between teams (60 percent).

The CMI’s findings are based on responses from 250 content marketing managers from organizations of over 50 employees.

Report: Data Intelligent Businesses More Likely To Exceed Revenue Goals

Businesses that use data intelligence to drive their strategy are 58 percent more likely to exceed their revenue goals than non-data intelligent organizations, according to a survey of 906 global businesses conducted in January 2020 by Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Collibra. The study defines “data-intelligent organizations” as “those who agree they have the ability to connect the right data, insights and algorithms so people can drive business value through data.”

The Business Impact of Data Intelligent Management” found that companies respect data-centricity but inconsistently execute it. For example, 84 percent of business analysts in the study agreed that it’s important to prioritize data at the heart of their crucial business decisions and strategies, but only half are actually doing so.

Data intelligent businesses are more likely to reach their main business goals and are better at mitigating risk exposure, addressing privacy and improving consumer trust. These organizations saw an 8 percent advantage in improving customer trust, an 81 percent advantage in increasing revenue and a 173 percent advantage in better complying with regulations and requirements.

Sixty-six percent of Australian businesses are most likely to routinely or always leverage data for decisions, followed by the same 62 percent of US businesses and 52 percent of European businesses.

Nearly all data intelligent businesses rate themselves as capable or very capable of excelling across the seven pillars of data management including finding data efficiently, accessing it, understanding it, applying it cross-functionally, publishing it, ensuring its accuracy and using it to drive business outcomes.

Still, nearly half of businesses fail to always or even routinely leverage data at the core of their business decisions. Manual data management tasks rob analysts at non-data intelligent organizations of the ability to leverage data.

Respondents reported spending 14 percent of their workweek on performing the actual data analysis, 12 percent on validating the accuracy of the data and 11 percent on aggregating the data into a usable dataset and the same for finding the data they need. As a result, these businesses are 55 percent less likely to say their data management strategies positively contribute to drive favorable business decisions.

Six out of 10 respondents reported that tools that streamline the search process for analysis, data access and data quality management will make data analysis somewhat or much easier.

More mature data intelligent companies plan to increase their investment in data management technology. In fact, they’re 52 percent more likely to increase spend on these tools than non-data intelligent organizations.

CTV Ad Spend Expected To Increase Dramatically

Most brands and agencies (97 percent) expect to invest in connected television (CTV) in the year ahead, and more than one-third believe they are currently investing too little. That’s according to an Integral Ad Science (IAS) and Digiday report, “The State of CTV,” conducted in February and March 2020. The report explores drivers of advertisers’ CTV interests as well as the pitfalls of CTV measurement and targeting.

CTV adoption was gaining momentum before the pandemic; in 2018, eMarketer predicted that 60 percent of the population will watch CTV by 2022. As people continue self-quarantining, interest in CTV has significantly grown, as 90 percent of people say they now have access to a CTV device.

In addition to finding that CTV ad spending is expected to increase dramatically, the data reveals that 10 percent of respondents are currently spending over $1 million on CTV. Twenty-seven percent are currently spending up to $100,000 a year while 10 percent are not investing in CTV advertising at all.

Although 44 percent of respondents say CTV ad spending should be set in the $100,001-$500,000 range, only 28 percent are investing this much. Still, 47 percent say that their CTV budget will be greater than $500,000 a year from now, compared to 36 percent who are already spending that much.

While respondents’ definitions of CTV vary, a majority define CTV as “video content consumed on a TV screen, delivered via an internet connection, including smart TVs and set-top boxes.” Whereas 12 percent define CTV as, “a mixture of both standard free-to-air TV and internet-delivered TV all in one place.”

A majority agree on what CTV entails, but many are confused about who sells specific inventory, slowing CTV adoption for advertisers. “Does a marketer go to a content owner, like NBC Universal or Roku, that aggregates inventory across various channels?” asks Matt Bayer, head of integrated sourcing, at CrossMedia. Bayer says a plethora of ad-network-like offerings exist, contributing to the confusion.

CTV advertising budgets also differ for different segments of the market, though most (38 percent) respondents say CTV is grouped with their digital ad budget. Whereas 29 percent consider CTV a part of their video budget, 18 percent combine CTV with TV budgets and 15 percent see CTV as a standalone budget item.

As for the quality of CTV vs. digital video content, 55 percent say the quality of CTV content is higher. If CTV content quality was to increase, 80 percent say the CTV inventory would become more valuable, 62 percent say it would be more effective and 65 percent say CTV would become a better platform to invest in.

The survey also found that 57 percent of respondents observe CTV engagement levels to be higher than those of digital video. Forty-four percent of brands say that CTV is the platform with the most potential for new video ad innovations, with 51 percent of agencies saying the same. Almost half (41 percent) of respondents say short-form studio-produced content presents the greatest opportunity to engage CTV audiences.

Despite its traction, CTV adoption will require consistent terminology, targeting and measurement. Currently, the top three factors that would increase investment in CTV for brands are improvements in brand suitability (48 percent), improvements in measurement/metrics (45 percent) and transparency in ad placements being purchased (45 percent). For agencies, it’s transparency in the ad placements being purchased (70 percent), improvements in measurement/metrics (66 percent) and the variety of ad placements available (34 percent).

When asked about the key performance indicators (KPIs) measuring successful ad performance on video content, 76 percent of advertisers named time-in-view/completed views, 74 percent named reach/delivered impressions and 57 percent named conversions. Though time-in-view ranks first, the metric for this KPI is fuzzy, as measurement is far behind actual consumer consumption. Uniform measurement across all channels is necessary for linear channel budgets to shift to CTV and advertiser spend to catch up to consumption trends.

Yet until advertisers can address CTV’s frequency-capping issue, measurement and transparency will lag. “Campaign basics, like frequency capping, are not yet the norm with CTV/OTT, and thus over-saturation can become an issue,” says Ben Allison, vice president, global media, VaynerMedia. For example, if consumers are binging a show, they’re being served the same ad repeatedly.

IAS surveyed 105 US respondents from Digiday’s audience, 58 percent of which are agencies and 42 percent of which are brands. 

SONIC App Sees Significant Lift In Downloads With RCS Pilot

SONIC Drive-In saw five times more app downloads with rich communication services (RCS) than with previous multimedia messaging services (MMS), a pilot conducted by Mobivity from January 14-17 revealed.

Backed by Google’s RCS Business Messaging, the pilot delivered interactive messaging about the SONIC Drive-In app to targeted customers across over 3,500 locations. As a result, SONIC saw five times as many app downloads versus MMS mobile messaging and a three times higher app registration rate versus standard downloads from MMS recipients. In addition, SONIC saw a 50 percent purchase rate from consumers who registered on the app.

Mobivity and SONIC ran the pilot without leveraging offers, discounts or other incentives typically used within the quick service restaurant (QSR) category.

SONIC’s RCS pilot provides an example of how brands can leverage RCS to enhance communication with customers. Given its multimedia capabilities, RCS is meant to succeed standard short message service (SMS) and streamline cross-device messaging. RCS enables companies to visually brand their messages so consumers can tell who the message is from. With RCS, brands can also send image carousels that include an embedded call-to-action (CTA) via text. Through secure mobile transactions, RCS could be a major game changer for digitally native companies to conduct business via text.

In 2018, Google announced that it would use RCS as the basis for the Android messaging platform, Chat. Shortly thereafter Samsung and Google partnered to ensure RCS works cohesively between their messaging apps across all devices.

According to Mobilesquared, two percent of US consumers could receive an RCS business message on their mobile phone at the end of 2018. By the end of 2019, the figure grew to 17 percent.

Events Take The Virtual Stage

In the past weeks we’ve seen event after event get cancelled, but that doesn’t mean the events can’t make the shift to a digital event. That’s where virtual reality is stepping up and companies are leaning into the medium to help bring their events to life. 

This week we’re highlighting a couple of standouts that caught our attention and how they’re bringing their events to virtual reality or helping you bring yours to the masses through this technology.

Tribeca Hits The Virtual Screen

What’s happening: Cinema360 brings Tribeca Immersive to VR with Oculus. Tribeca Immersive, the innovative storytelling segment, offers virtual reality headsets owners to explore four 30-40 minute curated programs. Films are viewable now through April 26th in Oculus TV. Just like a physical event, these are time limited which encourages VR headset owners to check out the content now so they don’t miss out.

Why it matters: Aside from this being a great way to continue this portion of the festival, despite current global conditions, fans of the film festival that may not otherwise have the opportunity to watch this content are now able to experience it firsthand. This has taken Tribeca from a single location and given a global audience a chance to experience this unique event. From a marketing POV consider the new audience and reach that leveraging VR can present to these new cultural experiences and look for opportunities to reach these new audiences. 

HTC Offering VR Event Space

What’s happening: HTC pitches ‘Vive Events’ as they’ve identified a need and desire for businesses to continue participating in events. The events are meant to take the place of physical conferences and expos and can support up to 5,000 attendees at once. 

Why it matters: Even though everyone is staying home and most big conferences are getting cancelled, virtual reality is providing the presence people love to would-be conference attendees. If you’re planning a conference and are uncertain of the future of your event, it might be worth looking into this digital alternative to bring your audience and industry together while staying apart. The service also offers a way for people without VR headsets to participate, so anyone and everyone can still join in. 

The NBA, Microsoft Team Up To Create AI-Enabled Streaming Service

The NBA and Microsoft inked a multiyear deal to create a new artificial intelligence-enabled streaming service that delivers personalized game broadcasts and additional sports content. 

Microsoft Azure’s machine learning and data analytics will present users with localized experiences tailored to their preferences and rewards participation including real-time start overlays, alternative audio and video feeds and gaming elements. Users can earn loyalty points when they watch games, share content from the platform or buy tickets or merchandise, as reported by Variety.

The NBA says fans could potentially apply tiered rewards, status badges and streaks toward discounts on tickets, exclusive content, merchandise or the NBA League Pass, its subscription service that includes out-of-market games.

Additionally, through Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing services, the NBA will show users videos from its archives based on viewer history and location. The NBA aims to continue customizing these experiences for fans, coaches and broadcasters with the insights it gathers from the platform.

The deal marks Microsoft’s new role as the NBA’s official AI partner, entitlement partner of the NBA Draft Combine starting next season and associate partner of future events including NBA All-Star, WNBA All-Star and MGM Resorts NBA Summer League.

The new streaming service, which will become an updated version of the NBA app, is in development and will go live as soon as possible.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said of the announcement, “Our goal, working with Microsoft, is to create customized content that allows fans — whether they are in an NBA arena or watching from anywhere around the world — to immerse themselves in all aspects of the game and engage directly with our teams and players.”

Over the last few years the NBA has been working to reach younger fans via interactive digital experiences similar to those that Twitch offers. In December 2017, the NBA teamed up with Twitch to stream up to six minor league games per week during the season. And in June 2019, ESPN hosted a telecast of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on the ESPN app. Mimicking Twitch esports experiences, the game play included emoji-like symbols to appeal to viewers ages 12-17.

Nearly Two-Thirds Of App Categories See Revenue Boost Worldwide

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of app verticals saw an increase in revenue worldwide during the first week of April from mid-March, according to an AppsFlyer’s study, “The Coronavirus Impact on App Installs and Marketing Budgets.” Forty percent of verticals saw increased revenue of over 20 percent.

AppsFlyer found that across the world streaming apps doubled revenues since the last week of February but dipped by 35 percent during the week of March 31-April 6. Across categories, since March 23, health and fitness revenues jumped 35 percent, shopping revenues grew 15 percent while organic installs flattened and food delivery revenues increased 25 percent. Gaming app revenues are all seeing lifts in revenue.

In the US, installs and app usage have been stable, with revenue growing 42 percent since March 23. Streaming apps saw a 52 percent lift in non-organic installs as they focused on user acquisition between March 3-23. These same apps maintained organic growth of eight percent from March 17-April 6, resulting in a revenue increase of 23 percent during the same time frame.

With US schools closed until through summer and students learning from home, education apps are experiencing an increase in usage and revenue week-over-week, growing 86 percent since March 23 and no less than 154 percent since March 2.

Organic installs for US shopping apps grew 10 percent from March 31-April 6 with existing users generating a 28 percent revenue increase.

Player spend across all gaming categories is also up as of April 6: midcore gaming saw a 22 percent increase, casual gaming saw a 13 percent increase, social casino saw a 12 percent increase and hardcore gaming saw a nine percent increase. 

New York saw the most significant app install growth from the coronavirus lockdown. Between March 10-23, organic and non-organic installs jumped 30 percent and 50 percent, respectively. But since April 6, organic decreased by three percent and non-organic decreased by 10 percent.

App installs and usage in China peaked during the onset of the outbreak from January-February and thereafter dropped and flattened. Since April 6, however, installs grew nearly 50 percent due to the increase in gaming and lifestyle apps—midcore games grew 45 percent and lifestyle organic installs climbed 70 percent.

AppsFlyer’s findings are based on the weekly percentage of app installs and sessions per country, per vertical. AppsFlyer updated the report on April 9 and will update it next on April 23.

Acquisitions, Funding And Transitioning To VR

This week we saw Apple showing interest in NextVR, Strivr receiving a $30M series B funding, and a whole lot of verticals taking to VR in these social distancing times. VR is still on the rise and it’s poised to go front and center as people look for ways to pass the time inside.

Apple Interested In NextVR, Strivr Hits Series B Funding

What’s happening: NextVR, a VR platform for live sports, music and entertainment, is being eyed by Apple. NextVR is said to hold more than 40 patents, and this could be Apple’s primary goal. Strivr, who develops enterprise software for training employees through VR, receives $30M in series B funding. Strivr has 22,000 VR headsets in the wild with 1.6 million sessions.

Why it matters: Between acquisition and big funding, we’re seeing that VR is still very important in terms of growth. While it’s uncertain that Apple is looking to get into the VR hardware, content, or is just after the patents, it’s a good indicator that everyone is looking to see how virtual reality can impact our world and how we do business.

Nascar In Virtual Reality

What’s happening: With social distancing, we’re seeing a new surge in digital sports. Nascar for example has started eNASCAR, a virtual racing experience with the pros. The first week saw 903k viewers and the second week reached 1.3 million on FOX Sports.

Why it matters: While everyone is relegated to staying home, many sports are looking to virtual reality to help keep entertainment and live sports alive and well. While we don’t all work in the sports industry, this is a good reminder that no matter what market you’re in, you should consider looking at VR as an opportunity to help reach your audience during this isolating time. Not only does it help you stay in contact with your target market, it provides your audience with a way to virtually get out of their homes. 

Over Two-Thirds of Consumers Opens To Ads In Exchange For Free Streaming Video

Nearly nine in 10 consumers have access to connected television (CTV) but they may soon be experiencing subscription fatigue. A recent survey from Integral Ad Science (IAS) found that 76 percent of consumers are willing to see ads in exchange for watching free streaming video and 55 percent plan to watch free video streaming services in the next 12 months.

The IAS Streaming Wars report shows that adults aged 18-44 have the highest level of CTV access, with an average of 91 percent having access to a CTV. Preference for CTV has also grown as 59 percent of respondents say they use CTV as the primary method of streaming video.

The majority of consumers (84 percent) say they subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service with 79 percent noting that they currently use Netflix followed by 68 percent who are currently using Amazon Prime Video.

Consumers have access to almost three paid streaming services, indicating the market is potentially nearing saturation. Similarly, 64 percent of consumers say they don’t plan to add a subscription video streaming service in the next year resulting in new challenges for content providers to reach new users.

With 76 percent of consumers open to seeing ads in exchange for free streaming video and with free streaming services on the rise, IAS suggests increasing advertising to reach more consumers as ad supported content models will lead to increased CTV consumption.

Emarketer predicts that advertisers will spend $8.8 billion on CTV in 2020 and surpass $10 billion by 2021. The researcher also says CTV usage in the US will surpass 200 million in 2020. 

Findings from IAS Streaming Wars report are based on an online survey conducted among 1,270 consumers in December 2019 aged 18-60.