These days, the overwhelming majority of people have an internet-connected device in their home, ranging from Smart TV’s, Apple TV’s, devices like FireTV Stick, Roku, X-Box, PlayStation and more. This gives people the ability to watch the same content from top broadcast and cable networks, but with the ease of a digital interface.
With connected TV comes a new breed of content providers such as Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. More often than not, instant streaming takes place on a closed platform, asking users to subscribe to material without a traditional cable provider. The process that make this streaming possible is known as over-the-top (OTT). The number of Smart TV’s and OTT devices in households exceeded 1 billion in 2019 and is continuously growing.
As the numbers rise, studies are showing that half of users who view content on apps like Hulu are more willing to sit through video advertising to continue to watch shows, a boost over traditional television viewers. Connected TV shows video advertising before and during content, or pre-roll and mid-roll advertising, and viewers often pay closer attention than with traditional advertising methods. In fact, this mid-roll advertising is so popular it is also the most competitive of video advertising.
Millennials and Generation Z are the largest consumers of streaming platforms, a big difference in the main target on traditional cable. This leads to the prediction that streaming platforms will continue to grow across all age ranges in the next few years. Also, according to Adweek, while viewing a program, two out of three people will use a second screen to look up information on a product they saw during a streamed ad.
So, should your brand include connected TV on the media plan for the next campaign? Sure, using connected TV adds yet another medium to get a brand’s message in front of desired and highly engaged audiences. And surveys reveal that 65% of millennials’ households use connected TV’s as their only source of video content. But even before the decision to utilize connected TV, the head-scratching starts when marketers ask how to account for it in the budget allocation, in the media buying process and even who owns it when talking with the client team. Since it’s both TV and digital, it’s not hard to see where the blurred lines exist.
For the tough one – who owns it. Yes, it’s TV programming, similar to what we’ve interacted with since the middle of the last century. But wait, the content is delivered through a digital connection, to a digitally-based device. So, is it part of the TV media line item? Or digital?
Let’s throw a wrench in the conversation and say it’s less about the method of delivery (cable/rabbit ears or internet) and more about the action and experience. Connected TV is about programming – episodes, documentaries, movies – which is the primary role of a media buyer. So, for the last 50 years, a buyer in a media agency has been tasked with determining the best programming for the brand’s audience. And the same still holds true, despite it being via a connected TV. The goal is to find the programming that aligns with the audience segment’s interest and build a meaningful engagement.
Now that that argument has been solved, should we tackle how to buy connected TV – programmatically or direct through platform? Or maybe tackle the varying price structures across all media types? Let’s save those for another day.
Connected TV media buys are only going to become more relevant, as they are a perfect combination of high-quality content, targeting, in-market optimization and robust measurement. Morgan & Co. has remained ahead of the trend in media, utilizing these platforms and opportunities in their media strategies for more than 23 years. Contact us today to learn more about the options available through connected TV.