In the not-so-distant past, I lived in a home with one big, old, tube TV with a giant cable box and brick-like remote. I was tuning in to MTV, the only channel I wasn’t allowed to watch, and the only channel that existed as far as I was concerned.
Fast forward a few decades – can you even imagine that scenario? Staying home from something important to watch live TV? I mean, I guess some people still do this for The Bachelor or sports, but not to the degree they did back then. Not when the average U.S. household has seven screens and more than three different streaming services allowing access to more on-demand content than we ever dreamed.
With this proliferation of media options and devices, people are consuming more video content than ever before. And while the variety of options can tickle anyone’s fancy, it has also introduced a ridiculous level of complexity and confusion for viewers, brands, agencies and buyers alike.
But instead of continuing to study 100-page white papers and glossaries of terms (been there, done that) and creating 40-page decks for our clients trying to explain the media landscape, I’ve simply concluded there are only two types of video in this world: linear and advanced.
To me, linear is what you get over the air or via a traditional cable or satellite service. Advanced TV is everything else: addressable, OTT, CTV, OLV, digital video, etc. I’ve chosen to ditch all the acronyms and definitions and call it what it is: video. The alternative is the definition of insanity: having the same conversation about what’s what over and over again, and expecting there to be some level of clarity and understanding.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to business and start talking about when to leverage these as marketing channels:
Linear vs. Advanced TV
|Reach||120M HHs||15M HHs|
|Scale||$70B annual spend||$14B annual spend|
Well-established measurement standards
Reaches the cord-challenged millennial
Advanced targeting capabilities
Limited targeting capabilities
When purchased traditionally, can result in wasted impressions
High demand can limit inventory
Difficult & costly to measure
Lack of supply can limit availability
|Use Case||When building brand awareness, recall and purchase intent are the key objectives||When extending reach beyond linear to specific audience(s) is the key objective|
Some like to view linear and advanced TV as an either/or scenario, but I like to think of them as complementary. While linear can provide a highly efficient way to reach a broad audience target, advanced TV can extend that reach to a younger, more targeted, light TV viewer.
At the end of the day, there is value in all media – it just depends on what you are trying to accomplish and the lens through which you are evaluating its effectiveness. The most important thing to do is partner with an agency that will work with you to understand your needs, challenges and goals to create a unique strategy that drives the outcomes your business needs to succeed without the complexity, confusion and risk that seem to exist in the video marketplace today. Simply give them the right direction, then sit back, relax and don’t pressure yourself to understand all of the acronyms and definitions or let the complexity freak you out.