Historically, in digital advertising, third-party cookies have been used to identify audiences in desktop and mobile web environments for the purposes of reaching them and gathering insights on consumer activity. Although the timeline has been extended, advertisers are still grappling with what the future of identity will look like across the entire landscape once cookies are eventually deprecated.
While desktop and mobile are heavily impacted by the fate of cookies, the same challenges that face these environments do not apply to connected TV (CTV) which is an inherently cookie-less environment. Although device identifiers (and their standardization) have advanced audience targeting and measurement capabilities in CTV, challenges do still remain for advertisers that are planning cross-channel or cross-device campaigns.
Video streaming (OTT and CTV) has rapidly accelerated in terms of adoption and strategic importance for media companies. It has enabled a dynamic shift in how we consume content and changed the model for content production and distribution. At the same time, it has created a host of new challenges—especially when it comes to advertising.
This rapid growth and consumer behavior shift has also highlighted the increasing importance of these channels as core revenue generators, witness the acquisitions of Pluto, Tubi, Xumo and the high profile launches of HBO Max, Paramount+, and others. The revenue numbers are large and growing. Hulu is on track to do $2.7 billion in 2021 ad revenue alone, Fox expects Tubi revenue to more than double, and eMarketer projects that CTV ad spending will increase 40% from 2020 to 2021.
TV and entertainment viewing patterns changed dramatically in 2020, accelerating numerous evolutions already afoot in TV targeting, reporting, data, measurement and more. What’s around the bend in media buying? Here are a few key areas of industry focus to keep on your radar.
More Is More in Streaming
The appetite for streaming content has skyrocketed and shows no signs of slowing down. Global viewing grew 44 percent during the last three months of 2020, according to research firm Convivia, which tracks 500 million unique viewers and 180 billion streams annually. In fact, within this streaming surge, ad-based video on demand (VOD) is projected to experience 22 percent compound annual growth and become a $20 billion segment by 2024, according to the VAB. If your TV ad strategy hasn’t pivoted to align with this surge, it’s in urgent need of a refresh. It’s also worth noting that this surge in streaming is on top of existing cable viewership, not in place of it.
Topics: New York Interconnect
More than two months since its launch, it’s no secret where the new kid on the SVOD block, ViacomCBS’s Paramount+, is getting its programming persona: directly from its parent company.
Of the more than 30,000 unique television episodes available from the successor to CBS All Access at its early March launch, some 25,000, or close to 84%, were sourced from the ViacomCBS vaults.
And why not? With ownership of iconic pop culture brands like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central (not to mention CBS itself), ViacomCBS possesses an enviable content pedigree that gives the two-tiered streaming service immediate marquee value.
A deep dive into the Paramount+ offering quantifies how ViacomCBS has populated a deep streaming offering. A One Touch Intelligence VODTRAK® audit from March 2021 yielded this top-line breakdown of the content ViacomCBS’s own brands have contributed (approximate number of titles in 000s):
Streaming video has transformed the TV landscape. Many audiences that once watched linear TV through an antenna or cable box have now “cut the cord” and view content exclusively through services like Roku, Hulu and Youtube.tv.
CTV is making inroads across all audiences. What was first the domain of local retailers and direct-to-consumer online brands has now expanded to include a broad range of advertisers, including real estate companies. Consider the following numbers:
Topics: Audience Town
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.