Regardless of whether you’re talking about traditional television broadcasts or the latest explosion of on-demand services that have literally blown up over the last decade or two, television is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
According to the latest statistics, Americans aged 18 and above average around four hours of television time per day, and over 80% of TV households in the US have at least one internet-enabled television. In addition, around 64% of all these households have three or more TV sets.
Putting all this together simply cements the fact that people are watching more and more television than ever before, perhaps an amount of audience will only continue to rise since we’ve had several lockdowns with the COVID-19 pandemic, and internet-enabled devices are becoming increasingly common, especially with the rise of VR just around the corner.
This is where the concept known as ‘advanced television’ comes into play, and as a publisher, marketer, or even a modern business owner, this is a concept you’re going to want to become incredibly familiar with, and in this article, we’re going to give you the lowdown that you need to know.
What is advanced television?
The western world faces more cord-cutters – consumers who decide to abandon satellite TV. As eMarketer stated in its report, the number of pay-TV users decreased to roughly 73 million people from more than 86 million in 2019. This figure continues to drop. Why is this happening? There is one answer: advanced TV like CTV offers a greater variety at a more affordable price.
Let’s start with the basics.
Advanced television (or ATV) is the umbrella term for various methods of streaming television content. You heard right: Television is no longer restricted to cable providers, thanks to advanced TV.
Here are some related terms to think about:
Addressable TV is the term given to a television set that’s connected to the internet and can provide video-on-demand services. This is probably the most common type of modern television since they have been around for several years at this point, and most households will have them, even if they’re still in a simple form.
If you can watch live, traditional television broadcasts, but you can tap a few buttons on your remote to watch Netflix, Sky, to watch YouTube, or rent a movie, then you’re dealing with an addressable TV.
From a marketing perspective, one of the most important things to understand about addressable television is that it allows advertisers to serve ads dynamically. This is especially important because marketers can play ads to a specific audience based on targeting data.
For example, if two households are watching the same show at the same time, chances are, they might each get different adds, whenever the ads roll in. This provides a range of new opportunities to marketers and publishers when it comes to getting their content in front of an audience who are most interested in it. Essentially, when showing ads based on consumer interests, demographics, and/or habits, marketers in turn will maximize budgets and other essential resources.
A connected TV is a television that can stream content over the internet, whether the functionality is built-in (because it’s a smart TV) or accessed via a separate device (such as using a Apple TV, a gaming console, etc.).
An easy example of this would be a viewer watching live television broadcasts from a device like a Chromecast or an Amazon Fire TV stick. The user will see ads throughout the show they’re watching, just like they would when watching traditional television, but these ads can also be targeted based on a user’s demographic data.
Simply put, all these terms refer to connecting a television device to the internet using an intermediary device.
OTT refers to video content delivered to viewers via the Internet rather than traditional cable or satellite TV platforms. OTT is the name given to a specific service, but the device being used will remain a connected TV, as mentioned earlier.
Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ are examples of the most popular OTT services currently available. Suppose viewers wanted to catch a specific show that they’ve seen or heard about on a certain channel. For example, if someone wanted to catch up on a show on NBC, then the appropriate OTT service in this case would be Peacock. All viewers have to do is download the Peacock app, set up an account, and then start watching the NBC show wherever they are and whenever they want to. It’s here that ads may appear between (or in the middle of) content options on the platform, all depending on what service is being used.
A VOD (Video-on-Demand) service
VOD (Video-on-Demand) services are the advanced TV services that allow someone to watch a previously aired show at their leisure. For example, a viewer can’t watch tonight’s episode of NCIS. However, with VOD, he or she is able to watch that same episode when they get home from work the following evening.
During the episode, advertisements may appear on the cable or satellite provider’s app several times, just like they would when watching the original broadcast, regardless of whether it’s a traditional broadcast.
So, with that, we’ve covered the very basics of what advanced television is. There is no doubt that television has come a long way over the last 40 years, and it almost certainly has a long way to go in its journey, but for now, this is where we’re at, and this is what’s on offer.
As a marketer or publisher, these are all the avenues of television you need to be aware of. Since you now have much more control over the ads you can play, an audience you play them to, and what kind of content you can play them with, rather than bidding for slots between traditional television broadcast shows, you now have far more opportunities to hyperfocus your marketing efforts for even more optimized results.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This all sounds really good, but what does it actually mean, and how does advanced TV help you?
The benefits of advanced TV service
There are many benefits that come with actively getting involved with advanced television and marketing on said channels. Most notably, you can extend your company’s reach tenfold. More and more people are abandoning traditional television channels in favor of advanced TV networks and services.
Since more people are on advanced television platforms, this means you have more opportunities to get in front of an audience who will be interested in what you have to offer. This ties in smoothly with the next point and perhaps the most important benefit to advertising on advanced television mediums – you get targeted advertising opportunities.
I’m sure you don’t need me to dive into detail with this one since it works in pretty much the same way as social media advertising. If you have someone sign in to an account to watch their on-demand services, and these services are connected to all the other services they use, this means you have a ton of data to work with.
Want to target a specific audience, for example, only 18-26-year-old males in the southern states of the US?? Sure, you can do that. Want to target households with families, two children, a pet dog, who typically look for holiday destinations for the Christmas holidays? Sure, the options are there.
But that’s not all.
Advanced television is known for being the premium estate of advertising. After all, many OTT, on-demand, and live streaming services will enforce non-skippable ads. Since people are watching highly in-demand content, this means they’re going to watch your ads, and they’re going to see your content.
There are also a ton of other benefits you’ll be able to enjoy when getting involved with advanced television marketing, including, but not limited to:
- Real-time analytics, easy tracking, and optimization features
- An omnichannel approach
- Stable expansion of the target audience
- Transparency and brand safety
- A great choice of ad formats (e.g., interstitial, native-to-video banners)
- Better interaction with consumers
- Higher relevance and return on investment (ROI)
- A range of budget options to suit your campaign
Perhaps, the primary benefit for both advertisers and watcherds is the fact that advanced TV services allow watching content out of home, meaning on-the-go, anytime, any place. Pixalate reported that there was a 232 percent growth of Connected TV and over-the-top applications from the third quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019.
What is the difference between linear television and advanced television?
Linear TV is a real-time television service that broadcasts via satellites at a specific time. It can also broadcast through cable programs. The main problem with this type of TV is that its audience is getting older. For instance, linear television is mostly watched by baby boomers, while Millennials switch to CTV and OTT services. Linear TV is still preferred by watchers who feel more comfortable with a familiar experience and do not wish to change anything.
Based on the above, advanced television is the opposite. This type of TV requires no cable connection. The world wide web or digital complements are how users can access content on advanced TV. Unlike in the case of linear television, consumers can choose what to watch and can skip ads. Advanced TV is preferred by the younger generation, which is unwilling to wait, ready for changes.
Using advanced television for your marketing efforts
So, advanced television services allow marketers to obtain a one-to-one, holy grail type scenario, according to which they can speak right to their target audience on a big screen of a premium-quality device. With the benefits clear, we move on to the next important question; when should you, as a marketer or publisher, be using advanced television advertising?
Advanced TV’s targeting capabilities complement other marketing tactics and allow audiences to be engaged across multiple channels. Of course, there’s a degree of trial and error you’ll need to get involved in, much like there is with every other form of advertising. But once you start getting to grips with how it works for you, you’ll be well on your way.
How to make the most out of advanced television efforts
If you’re stepping into advanced TV advertising for the first time, it can be a little unsettling when you don’t really know what you’re doing or what approach you want to take. However, if you can stay focused and you keep your goals in mind, you shouldn’t encounter any issues.
And that’s not to say your goals can change over time. They surely will. But you need that stepping off point in every campaign to get you started, therefore being able to optimally make the most of what advanced TV advertising has to offer.
So, start by prioritizing campaign goals and make sure your creative ideas support the key performance indicators you want to be working with to achieve these goals. Then, take time to figure out how you’re going to reach the right audience on every screen by combining both first and third-party data.
If we look to the next 3-5 years, the convergence of digital and traditional television will keep on evolving for sure. As with all advertising efforts, you need to ensure you’re measuring and optimizing your campaigns on a regular basis. This helps you make ample tweaks to give yourself the maximum chances to succeed in what you’re doing. Whether you’re a publisher or an advertiser, advanced TV should be a top priority in your endeavors.
George J. Newton is a business development manager and long-term marketing consultant at Coursework writing services.