Media Buys Are More Valuable as Streaming Steals the Spotlight

Linear TV is officially no longer the most popular way for consumers to access content

Convergent TV Summit returns March 21-22. Hear timely insights from TV industry experts virtually or in person in NYC. Register now to secure your early bird pass.


It has been a long time coming, but the power dynamic has finally shifted in streaming‘s favor. Linear TV is no longer the most popular way for consumers to access content, and the forecasted ad spend in CTV is reflecting that power shift.

The generation who grew up with internet access, mobile streaming and social media is continuing to gain more and more purchasing power. This group of digital natives has a unique set of expectations when it comes to ad exposure and brand loyalty.

They expect flexibility and convenience across all their experiences, whether it be consuming media or making purchases online. They also expect authenticity and personalization, something that linear TV simply has not been able to offer.

The rise of streaming is an opportunity for brands to engage with this next generation of consumers through hyper-targeted media buys that simply were not possible before.

Communities are being built

Yes, digitally native consumers flock to streaming because the ability to pick and choose what and when they will watch is far more convenient. But because of this shift, consumers are also looking to streaming as a form of self-expression.

They are digging deeper, beyond the subscription giants of Netflix and HBO Max, to find content providers that align with their individual interests. And as they discover their favorite streaming services, they are building communities with other like-minded people who share those same interests.

We have already started to see communities bubble up to the surface, and genres that were once considered niche are becoming mainstream. We’re seeing streaming services solely dedicated to genres like K-drama, non-English content and short-form grow exponentially.

This is equally as exciting for brands because they have more opportunities to invest in platforms that are populated with potential customers that align with their target audiences.

Take a video game company, for example. Before streaming, they could tap into cross-network media buys during specific programming hours to spread awareness of an upcoming release. While they might be reaching a vast audience, the truth is only a fraction of those consumers are going to be interested in learning about the game, let alone purchasing.

Now, that same company can invest in dynamic, AVOD-targeted placements that not only reach their audience but can provide meaningful interaction, moving the consumer further down the funnel. Not only are they able to invest with more confidence that their ads are being shown to the right consumers, but they can provide true personalized value via a QR code coupon, store locator or simply linking to learn more.

Streaming is more personalized

Because streaming allows for flexibility across device, format and time of day, brands have the ability to reach individuals when it’s meaningful for both the consumer and the brand’s business. Not only are they able to reach the consumer at the right time, but they also have access to real-time reporting and optimizations, a capability that wasn’t turnkey with linear TV.

As personalization capabilities continue to grow for the consumer—I see you, Netflix, with my targeted thumbnails—and as more streaming services turn to an AVOD business model, brands will have more opportunities to create engaging and targeted ad experiences for their consumers.

Authenticity stays on top

All these shifts in behavior ladder up to a reinforced trend of authenticity being the most important thing for consumers. We are going to continue to see consumers build communities where they can curate content that fits their mold, and they will be much more receptive to ad experiences that complement those streaming journeys.

These personalization capabilities will deliver authenticity while still reaching large audiences at scale and will help brands find so much more value in their media dollars than they previously thought possible.