If You Want to Navigate the New TV Landscape, Start by Shifting Your Mindset

As the worlds of CTV and linear merge, impression-based ad buying is the future

Data-driven TV is here. Impression-based ad buying is at the epicenter of the seismic shift currently transforming the TV landscape. The ability to target, measure and assess campaign ROI with connected TV (CTV) is raising the bar for all video ad campaigns, driving advertisers to invest heavily in the platform.

Forecasts show a 33.1% increase in CTV ad revenues this year. Advertisers are also investing heavily in linear addressable, which brings the same impression-based, data-driven approach to cable and satellite TV environments. Linear addressable spending is expected to grow 16% this year and exceed 4 billion by 2023.

In light of Covid and recession concerns, advertisers are looking to be even more calculated with how they invest. CTV delivers a premium, big-screen video environment coupled with audience addressability for targeting and measurement.

Yet, even as CTV ad budgets surge, the medium itself is evolving—further advancing the entire TV buying ecosystem. While many advertisers once conceived of linear TV and CTV as two distinct platforms, this is no longer the case. The worlds are merging, opening up more addressable inventory and unlocking greater targeting capabilities.

As this transition continues to take form, here are three key ways advertisers can adjust their mindset to best maximize spend in today’s expanding television market.

Ad-supported CTV is a cornerstone of media plans

While once primarily a way to achieve incremental reach, CTV is now a staple of a marketer’s media mix—with three out of four video marketers considering it a “must buy.” This was made plain and clear at this year’s upfronts. CTV will account for more than two-thirds of U.S. upfront digital video ad spend this year.

CTV is now a cornerstone of media planning for two reasons. First, consumer usage has far exceeded the tipping point, so much so that 40% of U.S. households are only reachable on CTV. Second, CTV provides a clear opportunity to better leverage data for more precise targeting, measurement and more accountability for brands.

The majority of CTV consumption is now ad-supported: advertising video on demand (AVOD) viewers make up more than 50% of U.S. digital video audiences. And look no further than the two biggest subscription video on demand (SVOD) juggernauts, Netflix and Disney+, that are overhauling their models to offer an ad-supported viewing tier.

Consequently, marketers are now thinking about CTV first, not as an afterthought. They’re also approaching CTV as part of a full-funnel marketing solution, and retargeting audiences across platforms.

Brands can demand more from CTV

In CTV, a premium viewing environment with 1:1 targeting is table stakes. Household-level deterministic data is being activated to target audience segments on a national scale. Deterministic data is also used to allow brands to target underserved households from concurrent linear campaigns, so investments are fully maximized. This includes addressable audiences, greater reach, flexibility, frequency, stronger reporting and greater transparency.

While marketers have access to a range of other marketing channels and more premium content than ever before, CTV has matured to become a powerhouse, high-performing channel with more offerings. That said, while CTV provides marketers access to a greater range of premium content than ever before, the power of live linear shouldn’t be ignored.

Live streaming now captures major audiences: 68% of CTV viewers watch at least one live streaming service, and 70% of CTV live streamers regularly watch sports content. According to Magnite, live sports streamers are more likely to discover new products, remember ads and make a purchase than the average TV audience.

Tentpole events such as sports, awards shows, red carpet events or music performances draw a highly engaged live audience with appointment viewing and spikes in viewership. So, make sure your CTV strategy delivers the live audience segment.

All roads lead to impression-based ad buying

As the worlds of CTV and linear collide, all inventory is becoming addressable. For all intents and purposes, it’s all becoming CTV. All roads are pointing to a world of better data-driven, accountable and measurable advertising.

In time, all TV will be available via both managed services and programmatic. Programmatic provides advertisers a true omnichannel view for better planning, targeting, reach, frequency management, measurement and attribution. Programmatic buying has already taken hold in CTV: This year, programmatic CTV will increase by 39.2%, with programmatic CTV sustaining double-digit spend growth into 2023.

As a leading content distributor connecting brands and audiences, DISH Media has a full-scale view of the advanced TV landscape and is at the forefront of its evolution. DISH TV was one of the first to launch national, household addressable. As an early pioneer of CTV, DISH built Sling TV into an industry leader in streaming television. Across both platforms, DISH is constantly developing new ways to help advertisers optimize impression-based buying with ease and efficiency.

DISH Media also believes in a fully converged, interoperable and data-driven TV ecosystem. We’re continually developing new capabilities that will further this effort. Looking forward, marketers who adapt their mindset will win. The future of all television is impression-based and data-driven. See you there.

Kevin Arrix is responsible for DISH TV’s and SLING TV’s advertising sales, analytics and operations. He leads the team spearheading the company’s advanced advertising initiatives, which include cross-platform addressable, programmatic sales and dynamic ad insertions.