22. 2. 202422. 2. 2024
Dave Morgan reflects on how we currently view the world of television and total video.

Two important headlines from MediaPost this week: “Total TV Viewing Hits 4-Year High In January” and “Linear TV 'Down, Streaming 'Flat To Slightly Up': Analyst.”

Let’s look at them one at a time. The first story reported the latest Nielsen numbers for combined linear and streaming TV that showed “total TV viewing [in the U.S.] climbed to a four-year high in January of 2024, with usage up 3.7% from December in total day viewing for persons two years of age and up.”

Total TV viewing in the U.S hit a record level!

The second reported analysis from Bernstein Research predicted that U.S. media spend on linear TV would go down along with viewing declines, that spend on streaming TV would be flat to growing -- with much depending on the cost per thousands that Amazon can command for advertising in Prime Video, which has historically been ad-free.

Basically, linear TV ad spend is going down and streaming is largely going up, constrained at this point not by content viewing, but availability of advertising, since so much of it has historically been ad-free or ad-light.

Net, net, overall TV ad spend in the U.S. is growing, following audience, ad load and pricing!

At what point will we stop talking about streaming versus linear TV as if they're fighters in a heavyweight championship fight?

Viewers don’t care. To them, it’s just TV. For the most part, advertisers don’t (or shouldn’t care). It’s just about audience, content, ad capabilities and outcomes.

Don’t blame the headline writers. The stories and headlines are written this way because it's the way our industry continues to organize and operate. Our industry lives in silos. We love silos.

So many of our TV companies -- buyers, sellers, enablers -- are still fundamentally organized around the delivery method of the TV signal: digital, linear (broad, cable, satellite). And that siloing extends to language, terminology and acronyms. Most of our streaming TV folks can’t speak linear (Fringe, CPP, P2+, etc.). And most of our linear folks can’t speak digital (Outstream, PMP, RTB, etc.).

We need to move on now. Most advertisers looking to TV for efficient, predictable consumer growth need audiences that are present and accessible on both streaming and linear. And, for those buying on both today, they’d like to have a lot less wasted frequency.

Our viewers would greatly appreciate better integration of ad experiences between streaming and linear, and among the various streaming providers. They’d like to have a lot less ad frequency of the annoying ads.

And yes, dealing with non-TV devices differently (PC, mobile, game device) will have to be addressed soon. Not all are primary-screen, high-engagement experiences. But, for now, let’s treat streaming and linear together. Please.

What do you think? Isn’t it time to move on, and treat everything on TV like TV?

Thanks Kirk McDonald, for the inspiration here! You’ve been fighting this battle longer than any of us.

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