The CTV landscape is vast and continues to grow. It’s estimated that by 2023, there will be 38m CTV users in the UK alone, which makes up over half of the UK population. This growth is mirrored by the sheer amount of content readily available on CTV devices – Smart TVs, streaming sticks and games consoles. CTV enables viewers to seamlessly move from linear broadcast TV to AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) to SVOD (subscription-based video on demand), providing a multitude of new opportunities, but also creating challenges for advertisers and broadcasters, who are unable to easily decipher viewing preferences and locate desirable audiences.
‘TV’ can refer to many things. It can be the physical device that content is viewed on, or the content, channels and services themselves, or even the viewers and their shifting behaviours. So, in order for us to truly understand the current TV landscape, we must merge these definitions and take a holistic view. People use their TVs for a multitude of purposes. Nowadays gaming on TVs is increasing, people are watching more internet-delivered content than ever before, as well as continuing to tune in to scheduled broadcast television, courtesy of their electronic programme guide (EPG).
What’s more, the popularity and sheer number of available streaming services, from Netflix to Disney+, to more niche services that provide genre-specific content, are evidence of the content-first approach viewers are taking to television. With the industry changing rapidly, it is important to approach the idea of TV with flexibility, because TV is now a home-hub for all connected living. The industry must be willing to adapt to viewers and their needs. Knowing what audiences want and being able to provide services that enable their viewing habits is crucial in this ever-evolving marketplace.
To truly understand what people want from CTV, viewing data must be used to guide the way. Samsung Ads’ insights show that 14% of Samsung Smart TVs in the UK are exclusively viewing OTT (Internet-delivered) content, meaning that 14% cannot be reached by linear broadcast TV at all. Further to this, 42% of Samsung Smart TVs in the UK are only watching up to two hours (or less) of linear broadcast TV a month, meaning millions of Samsung TVs are defined as ‘light linear viewers’, showing the rapid migration towards content delivered via an Internet connection. Samsung Ads’ insights also show that in recent weeks streaming now represents 54% of total viewing, surpassing linear broadcast hours for the first time. For media planners, advertisers and content providers alike, a well thought out CTV strategy is more imperative than ever.
VOD services give viewers access to a vast array of content, enabling them to find exactly what they are looking for across a variety of apps and platforms. The power is now firmly in the hands of the consumer who dictates when, how and what type of content they want to watch. Unsurprisingly, this has shaken up the traditional TV model. In order to meet the increasing depth and breadth of viewers’ tastes, a data-first approach is essential for content production, scheduling and advertising. Only by understanding viewing data and, therefore, consumer behaviour, can media and technology companies create the range of content, products and user experiences that people desire.
In the UK alone, 70% of Samsung TVs navigate between OTT and linear broadcast content in a behaviour we, at Samsung Ads, describe as ‘platform surfing’. Linear style viewing is still sought after and remains an important part of pre-scheduled content, which is well-tailored for a specific audience. Samsung’s free streaming service – Samsung TV Plus – builds its OTT channels into the TV’s electronic programming guide (EPG) alongside existing broadcast channels, allowing viewers to navigate smoothly between traditional linear TV and Samsung’s curated portfolio of internet-delivered AVOD channels. Samsung TV Plus features OTT channels – including news, sports, movies and documentaries – in a scheduled format, allowing people to tune in at any time of day, assured they will find content that meets their tastes. The beauty of CTV is that all types of television – linear broadcast, OTT, gaming or otherwise – are available in one place, empowering the viewer to take charge of their own content journey – ‘platform surfing’.
As the television landscape evolves, so does the advertising experience. CTV has enabled challenges around ‘frequency capping’ – often associated with online campaigns – to be addressed. TV advertising is no longer limited to 10, 20 or 30-second slots in breaks between content. We are seeing new opportunities and ad formats emerging, such as on the First Screen of the TV before a viewer has even decided what channel or service to watch. The array of content also means that advertising can be better tailored to viewers, with brands now able to take an audience-first, segmented approach that ultimately leads to more relevant ads that viewers enjoy and engage with more.
As the TV eco-system expands, so do the opportunities in CTV, where we can look at data to see where audiences are, and what type of content they are viewing across OTT, linear and gaming. Understanding the behaviour of the ‘Total TV Watcher’ is a strategy which will ultimately drive success, as we at Samsung deliver the next generation of TV experiences.