As part of The Future of TV Advertising UK fortnight, we spoke to Alex Hole, VP Samsung Ads Europe, about viewing and audience trends, the role of advertising in the monetisation of streamed premium video, and the challenges for advertisers looking to maintain reach as linear viewing declines and streaming audiences could become more fragmented. He also gives his views on the value of connected TV to advertisers, and how this environment can be further improved for media buyers.
Question: What are the trends in viewing behaviour that are shaping the TV landscape today – where are audiences going, and why?
Alex: As an organisation, we are uniquely placed to have a holistic view of TV viewing experience on Samsung smart TVs, which enables us to see how viewership behaviour is changing across the board.
We’re seeing both polarisation and convergence in viewing behaviours. As an overarching trend we’re seeing consumers across the board increasing their OTT consumption, and many are increasingly playing more games on their smart TVs. Our first-party data shows that 42% of Samsung UK households are light linear TV viewers, watching less than 2 hours of linear content per month.
It’s predicted that 75% of UK households will connect their TV to the Internet by the end of this year – a trend that is only being accelerated due to our current situation, as households are streaming more content. Our most recent insights show that UK households are increasing TV content consumption, which is led by growth in SVOD viewership, followed by linear.
Why are people using more OTT services? Choice and variety could be some of the key reasons why CTV adoption is increasing, with more content at our fingertips to suit any taste or mood.
Question: How much of the growth in streaming video consumption can be funded by subscriptions – do you see signs of subscription fatigue among consumers?
Alex: We’re seeing strong growth across use of SVOD (subscription video on demand) services. Consumers love great content; you only need to look at the news to see the appetite for streaming – for example globally Netflix has added 15.77m net new users and Disney+ has 50m users after just five months since launch.
What’s important for future growth is to focus on the consumer experience and aid discovery so that users of all OTT services – whether they are funded by subscriptions or ad-supported – can easily find new, relevant content that suits their interests, ultimately making choices easier and keeping them entertained. We are proud as a business to partner with SVOD services to help surface their content to our consumers.
Question: Some analysts are predicting significant growth in AVOD – is there a major role for ad-supported streaming in general (live and on-demand)?
Alex: At Samsung Ads we absolutely believe there is a major role for ad-supporting streaming, which is why we have launched Samsung TV Plus in seven markets across Europe. Available programmatically or via a managed service, this is an AVOD service that includes content from an array of content providers across many genres including film, comedy, news and sport. Importantly Samsung TV Plus provides our viewers with the ability to discover and access great content for free and gives advertisers new ways to connect with audiences that are shifting their viewership behaviours between linear and OTT.
Question: Do you think the allocation of media spend across all television accurately reflects where audiences are, or does it need adjusting?
Alex: The world of CTV is complex, with many different opportunities for advertisers to allocate media spend. Consumer behaviour is shifting at breakneck speed thanks to the proliferation of channels, and OTT viewing will only continue to change too, so advertisers need to be more flexible in how they get their message across to consumers. As a business our teams focus on desired outcomes for our partners in each market and plan accordingly. As a relatively new entrant into the media landscape we are keen to work with our customers to deliver the best possible service for both advertisers but most importantly deliver great experiences for Samsung TV owners.
Question: What are the biggest challenges for advertisers looking to maintain reach in a world where linear is in decline and streaming audiences could become more fragmented?
Alex: Understanding the ecosystem can be daunting without a map or guide because TV consumption is constantly changing – we are seeing this with our own data. This in turn creates a challenge for advertisers to find audiences because they are presented with more choice and an array of methods to consume content. Media planners need a truly multi-channel media plan for advertisers to reach today’s consumers who have fragmented viewership patterns.
Advertisers need to look for partners who can solve this challenge for them – one that can identify those viewership trends, provide insights on how they are evolving and ultimately connect advertisers with these audiences as they switch between Linear and OTT and vice versa.
42% of Samsung UK homes are light linear TV viewers
Question: Does connected TV have a special role for advertisers, given the big screen and the opportunity for co-viewing and shared experiences within the digital realm?
Alex: We strongly believe that TV is a fantastic canvas for advertisers to build brands, launch products and communicate their messages to consumers – but TV is more akin to digital experiences now compared to linear in today’s environment; the user is completely in control of their experience and this impacts how we reach them.
At Samsung Ads our role is to help advertisers do this; we are able to utilise our first party data, which is deterministic and not modelled to work with advertisers to understand how they can reach consumers in the best way for them.
TV consumption is growing and therefore will continue to form an integral part of the media landscape. It’s incumbent on media owners within this space to work with advertisers to ensure the platform continues to deliver amazing experiences which deliver against their objectives whilst delighting consumers.
Question: What are the next steps for connected TV to make it an even better environment for advertisers?
Alex: This is a nascent industry which is evolving very quickly. First and foremost we are focussed on our customers (Samsung TV owners), working relentlessly on how we improve and enhance the discovery of content. As we do this we will work with advertisers to create innovative methods of connecting brands with the audiences on our platform.
As an industry we will continue to protect customer privacy, provide total transparency around the advertising ecosystem, and work tirelessly with advertisers to deliver great experiences. We launched the Samsung Privacy Choices App at CES this year, which gives users greater control over data collection.
Question: Tell us about the creative ways advertisers are using the connected TV environment to reach audiences – any unique opportunities?
Alex: There’s so much potential for creative advertising on CTV for forward thinking brands and advertisers to take advantage of; from reimagining ad breaks to personalisation to curated content of their own.
From extending brand message on CTV to households who have not been exposed to a linear campaign, helping broadcasters broaden their reach amongst streaming audiences, to engaging gaming audiences as they play games on smart TVs – there are so many ways that connected TV empowers audiences to discover new content and brands!
Question: Samsung Ads provides a connected audience platform for advanced TV advertising, with large scale, servicing multiple clients. What principles underpin your drive for success, and how you lead your team?
Alex: Samsung Ads always puts the viewer at the heart of everything. We strive to offer innovative advertising experiences for our customers, including opportunities to discover new content, movies, series, promotional offers and services on their Samsung Smart TVs.
We are lucky to have an experienced, dynamic and diverse team at Samsung Ads and we take a humble approach to how we work with advertisers; connected TV is a burgeoning industry and it is our responsibility to analyse and capture the new ways to connect with audiences. We look to work closely with our partners in collaboration to learn together.
Question: If we look into the far future, so a 2025-30 timeframe, how will TV change?
Alex: The first electronic TV was first used in 1927 and the first ever smart TV was launched by Samsung in 2008 – so this is an apt time to be reflecting on how TV will have changed 100 years on. TV at its heart has always been about entertainment in our homes; something that facilitates shared experiences. Even in a world of SVOD, AVOD, OTT, TVOD and everything in between, delighting audiences should and will still be of vital importance, and the key to that is aiding discovery. With choice can sometimes come paralysis – so our job as TV providers and advertisers will still be to surface relevant and entertaining content to the individual using the technology at our fingertips to do so.
I also see gaming as a huge trend that will continue to proliferate into the next decade and our own insights support that – we can see that gaming activity on smart TVs is growing across Europe.
About Samsung Ads Europe
Samsung Ads drives Advanced TV advertising solutions for advertisers by leveraging first-party data, powered by Automatic Content Recognition (ACR), to deliver greater measurability and analytics to drive business results. With insights from over 30 million Samsung Smart TVs across Europe, only Samsung Ads can provide advertisers with a holistic view of TV viewership behaviours.
To learn more about Samsung Ads, please get in touch with the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.