As we begin to wrap up the first quarter of 2021, it is clear that the industry’s relationship with CTV will continue to challenge advertisers as they look to capture viewers across screens and keep pace with cord-cutters. In addition to a few wishes that we spend less time in the coming year in virtual meetings and more time together in-person and that we can gather safely for the industry events that help us grow relationships, I also have a few wishes and predictions for the programmatic CTV rocket ship, a bright spot in 2020 and a continued area of momentum for the advertising industry in the year to come.
Discovery Inc.’s new direct-to-consumer streaming service discovery+ stacks up well against category leaders by virtue of a deep on-demand content reservoir yielding more than 55,000 individual titles.
That count is based on an audit of the discovery+ content offering that compares the new streaming powerhouse with other entrants in the category, and with TV Everywhere and video on demand offerings from affiliated pay television providers. The audit is part of the STREAMTRAK® industry data series from One Touch Intelligence.
In terms of pure volume, discovery+’s tally amounts to more discrete TV episode selections than are offered by several prominent SVOD services, including Disney+, NBCU’s Peacock, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, and even the reigning category king, Netflix. If one of the mandates for modern-day streaming success is a deep pool of titles, discovery+ has worked its way into the big leagues from day one.
In the political arena, the 2020 U.S. election may seem like the event that never ends. But for the ad-supported streaming video category, a surge of political advertising has now subsided, returning the fast-growing AVOD business to something approaching normalcy.
What “normal” means in the AVOD camp is different, of course, from the broader ad-supported television economy. For one thing, AVOD participants like ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and the Crackle video service tend to insert significantly fewer advertisements per hourly viewing session than what viewers elsewhere have come to expect. An ad-load analysis for November shows that even though these two services topped the AVOD charts for total ad time, their totals remain well less than the 16 minutes or more per hour typically seen in the national television network ecosystem.
Very few people will lament the end of the rollercoaster year that has been 2020, least of all the marketers and publishers who have been challenged on a daily basis to navigate uncharted economic, societal and behavioral waters. But if there’s one thing to celebrate coming out of the recent turbulence, it’s this: 2020 has forced businesses to embrace and demonstrate a level of agility that many would have previously claimed impossible. And that’s laid an interesting foundation for progress going into 2021.
In a business climate where executives suddenly have the permission to rethink everything, we’re going to see companies doing just that. In 2021, we’re going to see established and challenger brands alike double-down on their newfound nimbleness by testing and experimenting with media and advertising in ways we’ve never seen before. Let’s take a look at the types of media exploration that are on the rise and how brands can make the most of a recovery-focused landscape.
Topics: New York Interconnect
I’m bullish on ad-based free streaming channels on Connected TVs. eMarketer projected the CTV ad market would grow to $14B in 2023, double the 2019 figure. Why is the Free Ad-based Streaming TV market, or FAST, so hot?
Because after a decade of flubs by TV OEMs, they’ve finally nailed it. Many licensed Roku. Others, Android TV. Samsung iterated to get steadily better. LG’s Web OS was good from the get-go. And Vizio’s revamped SmartCast gained accolades at CES. This is in addition to the blockbuster success of OTT set-tops like Roku and Fire TV. Another factor? The rapidly maturing live linear streaming tech stack. It is far less glitchy and buffery than a year ago even, and costs are dropping.
It adds up. Unboxing a TV is a new game. Just connect to Wi-fi and watch hundreds of free channels of news, sports and entertainment within seconds. No roof climbing. No scanning. No input switching. No cable guy.
And more are coming. The Consumer Technology Association projected 41 million new TVs will be shipped in the US this year. Nielsen says we have 120 million homes. Just spit-balling here, but every three years we’re sending another new TV -- with hundreds of free streaming channels -- to every home in America?
So why should we curb our enthusiasm?
In challenging times for marketing, creative quality is more important than ever. Today, most advertisers (63%) are adjusting messaging to meet the moment, including increases in mission-based (+42%) and cause-related (+41%) marketing, according to a recent IAB survey.
Here are three best practices to adapt streaming creative while consumers shelter in place.
The postponement and cancelation of every major sports league has created an entirely new reality for marketers and broadcasters alike. Sports have emerged as the absent center of the media landscape, one that has come to symbolize the disruption from COVID-19 in our industry.
It makes it easy to forget that, before the sudden pause, the value of live sports was coming under serious scrutiny. The NBA’s TV ratings were down dramatically. The Olympics, March Madness, MLB, and other marquee sports properties are demonstrating similar trends. Super Bowl ratings this year had inched upward - but it was the first time that had happened in five years, and the multi-year downward trend for the landmark game is unlikely to change course.
Across the board, traditionally reported sports TV ratings were down, and it all begs the still-pressing question: should networks and advertisers freak out?
Topics: 4C Insights
Given the current regulatory climate around consumer privacy, many ad industry observers are anticipating a broad move away from audience-based targeting in the digital space, with contextual targeting increasingly being presented as the primary alternative. While this shift might seem logical on the surface, the binary thinking represented in the audience-versus-contextual debate is problematic, particularly as the thinking expands out to emerging channels like Convergent TV.
Topics: 4C Insights