What’s On

Is Lunchtime the new Primetime?

Once upon a time in the days before the internet, lunchtime was always considered off peak for advertisers but new research shows that the weekday lunch hour is now a prime viewing opportunity with millions of us streaming content whilst waiting for our delivery order to arrive.

‘Media snacking’ has proliferated with almost saturation access to smartphones in the modern workplace which can stream HD content using super-fast broadband speeds either via Wi-Fi or 4G (and soon to be 5G).

In his book ‘The Procrastination Economy: The Big Business of Downtime’ the author, Ethan Tussey, describes how the phenomenon of viewing content in the workplace has rapidly expanded over the past few years. He talks about how media companies have cottoned on to the trend and have even started producing content specifically made to cater for this new audience. He cites Fox Sports as a forerunner of the trend with their 30 minute web based content entitled ‘Lunch with Benefits’. These webisodes were available each day of the week on various streaming platforms with a mix of light-hearted interviews and previews of various sports.

More recently, the U.S late night talk shows have realized they can massively expand their audience by doing cut downs of the key shows. James Corden has been particularly successful with his ‘Carpool Karaoke’ series with people who didn’t stay up until the wee small hours to watch the show live but opting to view the cut down version the next day in the office at their desk during a break. Jimmy Fallon has pulled off the same trick with his ‘Wheel of Musical Impressions’ and ‘Lip Sync Battles’ which all pull in significantly higher numbers across his YouTube channel of snack-able clips, than the original broadcast of the actual show.

You want a few numbers? The 6 minute clip of Ariana Grande doing her ‘Wheel of Musical Impressions’ pulled in roughly 4 million viewers when it went out live. To date, the 6 minute clip has done over 136 million views.

Interestingly, not all of the viewing is done alone as one might expect. In many offices, the notion of the water cooler conversation discussing a piece of content after the event is beginning to wane and taking its place is joint viewing of content with fans of certain shows watching clips together and discussing the content whilst they watch it in time shift.

A recent study by the New York Times revealed that the workplace was the third most popular place to watch a streaming service like Netflix with 37% of viewing being done at the office (just a few percentage points behind planes at 44% and buses at 40%). As a consequence of people snacking on ‘Stranger Things’ at their desk companies are blocking some of these services but wily workers simply use their own devices instead.

And it’s not just in the US that this trend is prevalent – latest research suggests that around 86% of London workplace executives watch SVOD during their lunch break and 78% of them watch content on their smartphones.

The implications for producers and advertisers alike are significant as it’s clear that this is a rich vein of potential new revenue as consumers viewing habits rapidly continue to evolve and fragment. Marketers are also considering smarter ways of reaching their quarry beyond simply advertising in the content. The workplace itself is becoming a new battleground to reach consumers with increasing amounts of dynamic digital outdoor sites popping up in offices around the globe. According to Paul McBeth at ECN: “3 out of 4 workplace professionals talk to their colleagues about what they are currently watching and lunchtime is the perfect time for entertainment clients to showcase their latest short form content”

No wonder we see so many people wearing headphones at work these days…

So are you one of the growing numbers using SVOD to top up your viewing at work? Is this a trend you have spotted in your workplace? As ever, I am keen to hear your POV…

Steve Blakeman

Steve Blakeman is the Global Media Lead - Nestlé at Mindshare. Previously, he was the Managing Director - Global Accounts, OMD Europe. Previously, he was the CEO, Asia Pacific – OMD. Prior to that, he was Global Chief Integration Strategy Officer (Asia Pacific) for IPG Mediabrands (Initiative & Universal McCann). He has also had stints as worked as Managing Partner at Omnicom Media Group owned media agency, PHD where he successfully launched their second office in the UK. He began his career at JWT and has over two decades of experience in advertising, media and marketing communications.