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Streaming: the future of TV advertising

By having an innovative content and advertising experience, platforms and streaming services can drive engagement with consumers to a level only possible by having direct relationships with viewers. This enables those providers to offer rich audience data and large, relevant audiences – making them a compelling investment source for advertisers seeking to reach new viewers and re-engage with those they once targeted on linear.

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Data-led advertising enables creativity to align with accurate campaign targeting and measurement, and ultimately leads to a better ROI. And while data-led advertising has delivered results in a purely digital landscape, its use on traditional TV has lagged.

However, with the shift to TV streaming, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach and engage with consumers on the most powerful medium like never before. TV streaming offers consumers a wide variety of quality content to choose from, often at a lower cost than linear Pay TV. Findings from Roku’s 2021 Streaming Decade report shows that 90% of UK consumers now class themselves as streamers, and 2 in 3 are willing to pay for an ad-supported service at a lower cost than a monthly subscription, with free services that are completely ad-supported offering even more choice.

Optimising for the user helps the advertiser too

Although subscription models are popular, consumers are also open to advertising on TV streaming in exchange for quality content and lower costs. By having an innovative content and advertising experience, platforms and streaming services can drive engagement with consumers to a level only possible by having direct relationships with viewers. This in turn enables those providers to offer richer audience data and large, relevant audiences – making them a compelling investment source for advertisers seeking to reach new viewers and re-engage with those they once targeted on linear. That investment creates a flywheel effect, allowing ad-supported streaming services to continuously level up the experience and adding more entertainment, attracting more viewers and more advertising opportunities. However, while the theory is sound, how can this flywheel effect deliver positive advertising returns?

Identifying the advertising opportunities

On TV streaming there are many subscription VOD services that don’t currently feature advertising. However, advertising supported business models are increasingly taking a greater hold of the market. For advertisers, it represents an opportunity to diversify their inventory and to reach audiences who’ve shifted away from linear.

And it’s not a trend solely focused on millennials or Gen Z; streaming has become popular across all age groups. Our report shows that 94% of 18 – 40-year-olds are active streamers, whilst 84% of those aged 41 – 70 are regular streamers too. This change in behaviour means advertisers cannot think of streaming as simply an optional extra, it needs to be part of a fully integrated investment strategy targeting a range of demographics.

TV streaming can also be a powerful mechanism for brands new to TV advertising. Targeted campaigns on traditional linear TV in the UK is limited only to regional geographies, which still requires a large investment and typically leads to waste. In contrast, by relying on data and an understanding of the audiences likely to watch content on streaming services, advertisers on these services can be much more tailored in the audiences they target. In doing so, enabling the campaign efficacy and reach to be much higher and more likely to lead to better long- and short-term campaign metrics as a result.

When part of a unified platform, streaming also enables advertisers to gain one holistic view of consumers across services. This insight provides brands with the opportunity to reach viewers across streaming services, aligning with their interests through a much more targeted approach that further reduces wasted spend. In the future, such a setup could even translate into complete cross-media measurement mechanism that seamlessly blends all media into one metric.

Find the right partnerships

With the rapid growth of TV streaming, some are arguing we’re entering a new gold rush in the industry. The boom in TV streaming has created a very competitive market, with numerous streaming platforms and tech companies competing over content, customer experience and low costs. The challenge now for advertisers isn’t whether to invest in streaming services, it is which services and platforms they need to consider.

As more marketers and brands, particularly digital brands – those born from the digital era – discover the benefits of TV streaming advertising, the broader industry will start to benefit from the trickle down of those investments – with analysts, vendors, writers, producers, creatives and more in line to benefit from the boom of TV streaming advertising.

Making great TV content is expensive, and it’s crucial that the advertising industry recognises and understands the unique value that only TV entertainment delivers – and are prepared to make the investment to ensure it remains a premium inventory.

The future of TV

Streaming is the future of TV, and it represents a huge opportunity for advertisers, platforms, and services. For consumers, streaming means more choice and easier access to the premium entertainment they love. And, as consumers shift more of their entertainment time to streaming, incorporating ad-supported services into their viewing stack makes perfect sense. To deliver the best opportunities for all parties, TV streaming should continue to deliver the basics of great TV: premium content and a great user experience that makes it easy for consumers to access the entertainment of their choice.


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