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GE Goes Over The Top

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Alexa ChristonGeneral Electric is about to make its first foray into over-the-top devices and connected TVs, said Alexa Christon, the company’s global head of media innovation.

Through a deal with music and entertainment platform Vevo, GE will serve as a paid distributor of an original and curated video bundle to connected devices such as Samsung, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV beginning on Christmas Eve.

The campaign will run for two weeks.

The bundle, dubbed “Brilliant Rhythm,” includes a music video starring animation dancer Marquese “Nonstop” Scott, and an interview between hip-hop artist Nas and a GE neuroscientist.

“We’re feeling out, from an audience perspective, where the opportunities are to really get into the over-the-top space rather than looking at it from a pure-play marketing way,” Christon said. “Instead of focusing on a certain product or subject, we wanted to really create a narrative that’s engaging and educational.”

GE chose Vevo because of its focus on music videos and because the platform had applications on most of the major OTT devices, Christon added.

This could expand GE’s reach to about 700 million monthly active viewers on the high end. (Vevo’s audience base is 7 billion active viewers per month, about 7-10% of whom access its app from connected TVs).

Although GE primarily sees this campaign as a way to draw a new audience as opposed to utilizing the channel to sell ads, it doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Brands are experimenting with OTT devices before they figure out how to monetize content.

Still, it’s a topic that Christon is mulling.

“What if you could watch something on broadcast and then extend that to Facebook and then continue the conversation on Medium?” Christon said, noting that IP-streamed content is cannibalizing paid TV. “We’ll almost drop the phrase ‘TV’ or ‘broadcast’ and it will be about a certain kind of behavior whether you’re on the move or at home, but you need to want to catch something because it’s live.”

The proliferation of video on demand has opened up a new world for content creators. Not only are platforms and portals like AOL, Yahoo and Amazon trying to lure audience with original content, but now brands are, too.

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Vevo on Thursday released new data, citing its highest engagement rate – 87 minutes spent viewing 23 videos in November – stemming from its TV apps. Vevo also revealed a new integration with XBox One, the first of its CTV partners to feature the Vevo newsfeed (previously it was only available on Vevo.com and Vevo’s owned apps).

 

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