6. 5. 20246. 5. 2024
Here’s how to navigate the brave new world of streaming

Linear television is still a dominant force in today’s media mix, however, audiences continue to flock to streaming for a seemingly endless amount of on-demand content. Although CTV is now taking home the largest slice of total TV usage, it doesn’t always provide advertisers with the full picture. For instance, while 36% of total U.S. TV viewing belongs to streaming, only 17% of that viewing is on ad-supported streaming.

This should ring an alarm bell for advertisers seeking out key audiences only on CTV. But as any industry veteran knows, new challenges often bring a myriad of new solutions to the market. As advertisers grapple with finding consumers in a fragmented—and often ad-free—landscape, they must prioritize leveraging new platforms and develop a deep understanding of viewer consumption habits to inform ad-buying decisions to maximize their reach in this brave new world.

Leverage the rise of new streaming opportunities

Amid a surge of new platforms in the market, many of today’s consumers are seeking out a combination of linear TV and subscription video on-demand (SVOD), ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD), free ad-supported TV (FAST) and virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) content options. With many stricken by subscription fatigue and content overload, DIRECTV Advertising found that one in five (22%) U.S. adults canceled a streaming video subscription last year because they weren’t able to justify the cost.

For advertisers, implementing unique strategies to reach relevant audiences is nothing new—they have been doing it for decades and today’s TV advertising is no different. With the proliferation of viewing habits and services, advertisers must invest in both linear and emerging new models that meet the dynamic needs of viewers splintered across platforms.

Additionally, advertisers shouldn’t discount the inherent value of vMVPDs. By providing access to hundreds of premium TV channels across live and video on-demand in a single experience, MVPDs and vMVPDs maintain high engagement from loyal subscribers and still make up the majority of time spent viewing compared to SVOD, AVOD and FAST channels. At a time when many CTV viewers are sticking around just long enough to binge-watch their favorite show, vMVPDs are attracting stable audiences that engage with TV content for hours per day—instead of minutes per week—to today’s advertisers.

By tapping into all the ways consumers are accessing content, advertisers can meet viewers where they are and gain a better sense of the totality of the video ecosystem, providing them with higher viewer engagement and more bang for their buck.

Tap into the power of live TV

If this year’s record-high Super Bowl viewership proved anything, it’s that advertisers should never underestimate the power of live TV. Just within the past few months, ratings were up 34% for the 2024 Grammys, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve saw its ratings jump by 30% and 2023’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drew its biggest TV audience ever at 28.5 million viewers.

Time and time again, live TV programming continues to boost viewership and drive the most engagement across any type of content consumed, with approximately 67% of U.S. consumers reporting watching live TV every day.

Especially this year, live TV will be critical for major tentpole moments, like the presidential election and the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, allowing advertisers to meet engaged audiences where they are tuning in. As the live-streamed sports space continues to grow, it’s prime real estate for brands looking to reach passionate viewers in a stress-free and brand-safe environment.

In fact, DIRECTV recently found that 47% of its streaming viewers spend at least half of their time watching sports. With the announcement of streamers teaming up in the sport space, advertisers should think about how they can take advantage of new opportunities in this space to reach key audiences when they’re most engaged.

Secure brand safety with premium inventory

While today’s definition of premium is in the eye of the beholder, it’s understood that publisher-produced, long-form episodic content still carries weight among buyers, sellers and viewers. Consumers want access to top-grade content at their own pace, while advertisers want to ensure that what they’re buying is high-quality, fully transparent and brand-safe.

Given the increasing incidents of ad fraud, misinformation and harmful content in the media landscape, brand safety has become an increasingly critical element for advertisers, publishers, and audiences alike. At a time when U.S. publishers rank brand safety issues among top media challenges, brands are taking this concern seriously and looking to align themselves with brand-safe, premium environments.

There’s no doubt that TV content is the most premium and brand-safe inventory out there, but advertisers should consider additional guardrails like partnering with trusted publishers and fully authenticated viewing environments, as well as implementing rigorous brand safety and verification measurement to ensure their ad dollars are being invested wisely. For instance, rich first-party viewership data, direct-to-consumer identity solutions and access to content metadata across streaming platforms allow DIRECTV to deliver better targeting, packaging and transparency reporting. This data-driven approach enables brands to forge deeper connections with audiences while elevating brand safety and ensuring greater transparency after campaigns.

Think holistically to maximize efforts

To make the most out of the streaming landscape, advertisers must think holistically and invest in platforms with trusted audiences like vMVPDs and those that are capturing valuable viewer attention—like AVOD, SVOD and FAST—to maximize their reach and drive better ROI.

On these platforms, advertisers must work to meet viewers in relevant and engaging ways, whether through interactive ad formats like Pause Ads, or data-driven solutions like addressable advertising. Additionally, advertisers should prioritize quality TV content, brand-safe environments and partners who have robust data assets to identify, target and reach their audience most effectively.


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