Set Top Boxes Turn TV’s Into the New Frontier of Digital Marketing


Digital marketing got its start on your computer. Then it moved onto your smartphones and tablets. Next, it will move onto a device you probably already own: your television. In fact, if you happen to own a set-top box like AppleTV or Roku, it probably already has.

You may have heard the term “cord cutters.” A cord cutter is a consumer who has cancelled their expensive bundled cable subscription and replaced it with a set-top box that streams content from services like Netflix and HuluPLUS directly to their television from the internet. In addition to television and movies, set top boxes also stream content like YouTube videos, podcasts, and even games to your television. As internet based content makes its way to your television, internet based marketing will follow.

In the set top box era, how can marketers marry Internet and TV marketing?

First, if you’re a digital marketer first and foremost, you’ll need to remember to format your video content for television as well as smaller screens. Just like you’ve been optimizing content for mobile, you’ll now need to optimize for television.

Commercials will continue to be the bread and butter of television marketing. However, just like a computer, a set top box often empowers users to ignore, or skip over commercials entirely. This means that commercials need to be compelling. Learn the lessons of digital marketing and create content that isn’t disruptive but is entertaining and interesting enough on it’s own that consumers will seek it out and possibly share it.

Some brands will make even bolder forays onto set top boxes with content marketing. Chipotle, for instance, has begun producing an original TV series. Red Bull has gone a step further and created it’s own channel for AppleTV and Roku. Even mega-media company Disney seems to be getting in on the act with it’s recent purchase of internet-content superstars Maker Studios.

When anyone can simply ignore content they do not like, content marketing will become even more essential. This is a lesson digital marketers have learned. Now, this lesson will become essential for television marketing as well.