Family Matters: Unlocking the Co-Viewing Goldmine

Vikrant Mathur and Jennifer D’Alessandro of Future Today explore CTV’s untapped goldmine: co-viewing — family programming for marketers.

A seismic shift, prompted by the pandemic and solidified by the growing trend of co-viewing, has dramatically reshaped how content is consumed and monetized. And it doesn’t look like this transformation is letting up anytime soon.

Gone are the days of isolated viewing on tiny screens. Consumers are returning to their living rooms and indulging in the big-screen experience as a full-blown family affair. Plus, thanks to the writer’s strike ending, we’re now swimming in a sea of great new content.

At IAB ALM, playwright, screenwriter, and film director, Aaron Sorkin highlighted the fluidity that streaming services bring to the ecosystem. We’re no longer stuck in a 22-week schedule, which provides writers with more freedom and binge-watchers with more options.

The industry is experiencing a transition towards a more sophisticated, standardized method of content delivery. The chaotic, unregulated early days of streaming (aka the Wild, Wild West) are making way for a more structured, viewer-focused approach. This maturation, though challenging, has resulted in an industry actively working towards addressing issues and enhancing the overall viewer experience.

Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today, said it perfectly: “As the industry matures, we anticipate a rise in standards, frameworks, tools, and technology evolving to improve user experience, combining digital’s promise with the luxury of premium, lean-back viewing.” 

Exploring Future Today’s Influence: Shaping Streaming’s Future

Since its inception in 2006, Future Today carved out a unique niche in shaping the streaming world. They’ve been all about optimizing user experience, from creating slick, user-friendly app interfaces to establishing best practices and setting industry standards for launching apps successfully across platforms.

“One segment of our business focuses on our owned and operated media brands, and the other is a B2B technology platform where we help third parties, media companies, and content owners launch apps and channels,” revealed Mathur. 

Future Today even collaborated with Roku and other OEMs in joint pitches to bridge the technological gaps faced by content owners. Their unique business model, though often imitated, has remained unduplicated and unparalleled in efficacy.

Future Today’s Co-Viewing Vision

Future Today excels in recognizing and leveraging the value of its audience, serving as a model for how brands should innovate in targeting kids, families, and co-viewing. Beyond conventional platforms like Hulu, HBO Max, or Disney Plus, Future Today advocates for a broader perspective in targeting these audiences. 

It’s a myth that family programming only reaches kids. The entire family is a part of the co-viewing experience. Co-viewing is about the whole household, not just the kids. Streaming buyers should consider the family as a holistic unit, shaping parental perceptions through co-viewed content rather than narrowly targeting adults through conventional segments. Think about how you can sway parents’ opinions in this co-viewed setting.

Parents watching streaming content with their kids are more engaged because their children often have questions about the products or services they see during an ad break. Jennifer D’Alessandro, Head of Ad Sales and Marketing at Future Today, shares a unique perspective: children are essentially “CEOs of the household.” Their opinions heavily influence family decisions, from dinner choices to car purchases. 

“Anything that a family decides together is fair game. Brands need to move beyond the notion of ‘I don’t buy kids’ and embrace the powerful influence of this audience segment,” she explained. 

Family programming is an untapped audience, rich with opportunities for marketers, and Future Today is leading the charge in harnessing this potential. By understanding the dynamics of family viewing habits and leveraging these insights, the industry can unlock new avenues for engaging content and effective marketing.