Behind us are the days when traditional TV providers decided what we watched and when. The ball is officially in the viewer’s court. Still, the steady rise of the TV streaming movement prompts the question, how exactly is streaming affecting advertising?
The shift simply means that advertisers will need to create more diverse and targeted marketing strategies to reach their desired audiences. According to Tier10’s Director of Media Olivia Devereux, a good mix such as social media and television tends to accomplish this. She explains that Tier10 operates from a two-pronged marketing strategy, which first involves reaching a broader audience through television advertising to build brand awareness. Then, on the digital end of things, ads are directed at a more targeted audience, people who are really in the market to purchase.
Devereux continues by explaining that, when it comes down to it, “free media drives the audience.” There will always be holdouts who continue to use their digital antennas or stick to their cable-only plan versus having to pay extra for a streaming subscription. Services like Netflix may not include ads, but many streaming services do. For example, Roku and Hulu are both ad-supported services. Users can opt-out of ads on Hulu, but for an additional cost, of course. In addition, online streaming through channels like ESPN or even ABC may not happen live, but these platforms still include commercial breaks.
Advertising in the Age of Streaming
Before the invention of TV streaming services, the main way people watched TV was live over-the-air coverage or services provided by cable and satellite companies. It was a cinch for advertisers to get the attention of their target audiences — they simply had to schedule their commercials during prime showtimes on leading cable networks. Broadcast TV was essentially the only way to watch TV shows and movies. Plus, back then, viewers had to abide by the network’s schedule.
However, the rise of social media outlets like Facebook opened the door for a new way of advertising, and TV streaming services have further impacted the game. Does this spell the end for ads on TV?
“Make no mistake,” remarked Devereux, “it’s still highly relevant in today’s media climate.” Thanks to local news and live sports programs, a great deal of Americans will continue to enjoy broadcast TV. What’s more, experts caution advertisers to refrain from exaggerating this change. The number of viewers who prefer video streaming services continues to increase, but this shift is happening gradually. Industry estimates show approximately 75 percent of households have traditional TV in 2018, and while that number may slightly shift in favor of streaming services over time, it will still be above 70 percent come 2020. More importantly, the two options can and do coexist. It’s not an either/or situation — most viewers gladly enjoy the perks offered by both platforms.
How Streaming Affects Advertising
Ultimately, convenience, cost, and lack of ads are some of the top reasons users turn to subscription streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. People can enjoy these services anytime they want and binge-watch all the available episodes if they choose. Despite these perks, traditional broadcast TV is far from dead.
“Television still reaches the most people, bar none,” assured Devereux. “Regardless if it’s streamed later or viewed live, TV is still king.”
Although a growing number of viewers (primarily young adults) are choosing online streaming services over watching with a digital antenna or cable subscription, research from Pew shows that the majority (59 percent) are still watching their TV the old-fashioned way. According to 2018 data from Nielsen, 93 percent of viewers watched traditional TV on any given day. It seems, just as much as things change, they stay the same. Americans aren’t totally releasing their ties to traditional TV viewing.
Rest assured, advertisers of the world: commercial ads aren’t going anywhere.