Connected TV: The Future is Now

Advertisers Lag Behind Consumers onto the CTV Bandwagon

No doubt, you’ve taken note of the rise of Connected TV. It’s a standout among the latest deluge of industry buzzwords. You might be wondering what exactly Connected TV is. Or maybe you’re familiar with CTV, but you’re curious as to why advertisers don’t appear to be flocking to the technology with the same enthusiasm as consumers. Don’t worry – we’ve got you.

Connected TV (CTV) refers to any television set that can be connected to the internet and access OTT media services. And with the continued rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Sling TV, just to name a few, CTV has indeed become increasingly prevalent. Today, some 75% of U.S. Households have at least one connected TV device. And 195 million viewers are predicted to watch CTV this year.

While the targeted, automated ad bidding was once strictly confined to online and mobile, the rise of Connected TV is bringing programmatic into the living room.

There’s no doubt that this rapid market saturation is tied to the longstanding trend of cord-cutting. Some 13,000 Americans cancel their cable TV every day. But, although viewers no longer wish to be bound to high cost cable contracts, the allure of the living room remains. People still prefer to watch on the largest screen in their homes, whether that happens via a Smart TV, gaming device, Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast.

Despite CTV’s widespread adoption by consumers, advertisers haven’t been lockstep with their migration. This is partly because of the fragmentation of the new viewing landscape. And it’s partly because the reach of linear TV, while diminished, remains so powerful. But perhaps the biggest reason is the fact that old habits die hard. It is no small task to change the general thinking around advertising via TV, despite the evolving capabilities. The techniques, infrastructure, and personnel expertise of the traditional linear TV machine are not easily altered. But the sea change has occurred. And the old school broadcasting ideology, focused on just that – casting a broad net and advertising widely and with as much frequency as budgets would allow, has given way to targeting and niche marketing. Generally, showing consumers only ads that are relevant to them. Which studies have shown is preferential to consumers.

Connected TV’s next step is to bring that new school ad ideology into the living room. But the long-standing broadcast model must continue to evolve, finding ways to incorporate targeting and automation into its infrastructure. Programmatic is here to stay. Its undeniable utility can be quantified by its widespread usage — projected to amount to $84 billion in ad-spend by the end of 2019. And while the targeted, automated ad bidding was once strictly confined to online and mobile, the rise of Connected TV is bringing programmatic into the living room. And the ad dollars will follow. It’s a matter of when, not if.

EMarketer summarized it well when they said, “The dynamics of connected TV advertising are challenging given the fragmentation among platforms, relatively small scale and a lack of standardization in data gathering and reporting, but the popularity of the medium makes it a tantalizing ad opportunity.”

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