Evolution of Linear TV & Advancement of OTT & CTV

August 16, 2019

Evolution of Linear TV

Over the past few years the rise of computerized televisions and television streaming services online has led to a new designation that of "linear TV." Linear TV is simply television as many of us always knew it: programming broadcast at a particular time without the options for stopping and starting with regular commercial breaks. The designation "linear" helps distinguish this television from the newer options available now. 

What is OTT?

OTT refers to the concept of "Over-the-Top" content in the sense that these television programs are streamed through a separate service that allows individuals with some form of subscription and an internet-ready device like a laptop or phone to watch television without any kind of connection to a cable provider. This content is sometimes ad-free sometimes full of advertisements and sometimes a mix of both such as streaming services that allow you to pay a higher subscription premium in order to cut out ads.

What is CTV?

CTV or connected televisions are hardware devices that allow linear television to meet Over-the-Top services through devices like Roku or Apple TV. They can support traditional cable and broadcast linear TV but they also have settings internally that allow the television to switch to various streaming services offering a full breadth of experience to viewers.

Advancements in Linear TV and Television Advertising

As traditional linear television increasingly seeks to address the popularity of television hybrid models that can be supported by CTV the state of television advertising is in flux. The vast majority of advertisers are either holding steady or reducing their investment in linear television recognizing the targeting potential and growth in the OTT service and device markets. The challenges in this current setting for advertisers are dealing with the fragmentation of the industry in that there are so many opportunities but not all have long-term staying power.

How can you take advantage of these trends? Here are just a few ways:

  • Consider your target audience as a retailer. Are your customers still most likely viewing linear TV perhaps particular channels and shows? It's easier than ever to get in on competitive television marketing. 
  • On the other hand if your audience skews young or skews toward technology "first adopters" you will be better served by figuring out which OTT services are popular among your target audience and capitalizing on them. 
  • When you are not sure consider how you can test advertising on a lesser-known (and thus less expensive) OTT service first determine potential ROI and decide how to proceed further.
  • Even if you aren't yet seeing benefits from OTT advertising recognizing that more and more connected televisions will be bringing OTT advertising to the "big screen" in most homes quite soon especially given the competitive pricing of OTT providers. Make a long-term strategy that includes CTV and OTT rather than relying on the linear TV ads of the past.
  • Analytics for internet-driven OTT streaming services are easier to analyze than traditional television ad impressions. Try to compare your reach the way your customers reference hearing about you and make future ad spend more data-driven than ever before.

Ready to learn more about the future of television advertising in a connected world? Contact us today.