Navigating the Fragmented Video Universe!

By now, we’ve all heard how streaming TV has dominated overall advertising growth, while traditional TV advertising has declined.

But are we oversimplifying the streaming versus linear conversation? After all, many streaming services are offering access to the same live channels that were once exclusive to cable TV, including YouTubeTV, Pluto TV, Roku TV and Tubi to name a few. For all senses and purposes, streaming “live TV” is nearly identical to the traditional cable offering.

Perhaps it’s time for us to shift the conversation to talk about how we align video to the audience, not the platform or service. In reality, it will take a combination of linear, streaming, and digital advertising for marketers to reach both the audience scale and the targeted customer base that they need to drive results. Instead of seeing traditional TV and streaming as opposing forces, perhaps we should view them as complementary tools in our marketing strategy, each with its unique purpose. The rise of “hybrid” FAST services only reinforces this idea. Both mediums can coexist and serve a purpose in reaching our audience effectively.

Free-Ad Supported Television (FAST) services, such as Tubi and Pluto, are growing rapidly and offer viewers a choice of channels to watch scheduled and live programming (Fox, ESPN, ABC, etc.), much like traditional TV. Unlike other streaming options, there are no subscription fees attached, which is appealing to today’s cost-conscious customers.  As a result, FASTs have grown rapidly with 50 million active users and $1B in yearly revenue.

This is a part of TV’s continuing evolution that has been going on for over 50 years. The current shift in behavior is reminiscent of the transition from Broadcast to Cable, and later to Satellite.

How do we navigate the fragmented marketplace?

Suffice it to say that in today’s media landscape, content, and sports events are spread across multiple services, making it difficult for viewers and marketers to navigate. What is certain is that traditional TV will not die overnight, and neither will the constant changes in merging providers and programming rights.

The future is hard to predict. It is possible, however, that Disney and Charter have foreseen the future by allowing cable customers to couple ad-supported streaming with their traditional television subscriptions. In the meantime, as an agency, we continue to adopt a channel-agnostic approach to match the target audience to the relevant video content, at the time and place they choose to watch. It is our job to keep our finger on the pulse to understand the evolving marketplace and align clients with the right strategy to achieve their goals.

Nicky de la Salle is the Vice President of Growth at DirectAvenue. With more than 20 years of experience, including a decade at a “Big 6” global agency, in performance marketing and growth strategy, she is a proven senior leader with specializations in omni-channel marketing, eCommerce and digital marketing channels. Nicky has driven the performance marketing vision for Fortune 500, Entrepreneurs and Tech-Disrupters alike both in the US and internationally. 

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