TV Is More Than a Medium—It’s an Ecosystem 

Driving audience engagement, discovery and action beyond the household

In the past year, the television landscape has undergone a transformational shift, with streaming overtaking linear TV. Despite this shift, the way viewers are watching content signals a return to television’s roots. In response to subscription fatigue, viewers are increasingly bundling services reminiscent of classic cable packages and are opting for free ad-supported streaming (FAST) services. Meanwhile, the TV screen remains the central hub of the household.

As a global technology leader in advanced TV that sits at the nexus of hardware, software and content, Samsung has an unrivaled understanding of consumer preferences. From FAST, to gaming to AI, here’s where TV is going—and what it’s returning to.

Streaming is entering the era of FAST

This is officially the FAST era. Viewers are increasingly embracing FAST services for their quality, content and value. In a recent report, Samsung Electronics found that 76% of Smart TV viewers use FAST, and more than half (54%) watch three or more days a week. 

Despite its wide adoption, FAST still has room to grow: Half of FAST users started watching in the last year. By 2030, FAST will replace subscription-based services as viewers’ platform of choice.

FAST’s adoption presents a boon for advertisers looking to reach engaged audiences at scale, with a lean-back, always-on viewing experience. Marketers are taking note and are increasingly including FAST in their media planning. But not all FAST is created equal. 

Size and scale of audience, content offerings, and user engagement are all key considerations for brands as they seek to seize the FAST opportunity. So is the “stickiness” factor—the willingness of audiences to keep coming back, as opposed to dropping off a platform. This is of particular importance as churn has become a significant challenge for streaming apps. In this respect, 60% of consumers who try Samsung TV Plus make it their go-to streaming service. 

Gamers are an untapped audience

2024 will be a tentpole year for gaming. It is projected that there will be more than 200 million gamers in the U.S. in 2024—a massive, widely untapped audience. Marketers are taking note, and plan to increase spend on in-video game ads by 40% this year, surpassing $8.5 billion.

Importantly, gamers continue to overwhelmingly choose streaming when they aren’t gaming, with 85% of their content viewing time on TVs dedicated to streaming.

Gaming and streaming are often coupled as a single experience on TV. For instance, 92% of people who game on their Samsung TV also stream on the same device on the same day, creating a “one-stop shop” environment to watch shows, movies and play games. Bottom line: If brands want to reach gamers, they should also look to reach them in non-gaming environments, such as streaming. 

Meanwhile, as interactive ads and gamified ad formats gain popularity, ad creative is being developed with gameplay in mind to engage players and boost brand visibility.

AI can be a differentiator for CTV

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. companies already use AI in some aspect of their business, with streaming platforms at the forefront. AI enhances content recommendations and audience profiling, which in turn sharpens ad campaigns and boosts ROI. It also improves the visual and auditory quality of digital TVs, creating a more immersive and personalized consumer experience.

Where AI is going, with respect to CTV, is even more thrilling. Powered by real-time data at scale, AI technology is being developed to make user experience more intuitive, and ads more relevant, which in turn, enables brands to hone in on creative storytelling. With AI-driven programmatic ad buying, brands can make smarter media purchasing decisions in milliseconds, leading to more effective campaigns.

TV is more than a screen

While consumer behavior continues to evolve, TV continues to be the centerpiece of the home. It is a discovery engine, an entertainment hub, a gaming center, art display and much more. 

Harnessing the full power of a customer’s viewing and consumer journey will make advertising that much more effective. For example, Samsung Ads has seen a sizable 60% lift in brand recall when advertisers pair Samsung’s native home screen ad with CTV to reach consumers throughout their viewing journey vs. running in CTV alone. 

Ultimately, TV will play a more dynamic role in driving audience engagement, discovery and action beyond the household. So, what does that mean for brands? Advertising dollars go further when they’re invested in platforms that leverage the audience’s entire connected lives to drive brand results and enhance consumer experience. 

A founding leader of Samsung Ads, Cathy Oh was integral to building the advertising division from the ground up to become a major force in the global CTV landscape, redefining the advertising and Advanced TV ecosystem. Cathy oversees Samsung’s TV and Mobile Services, leading strategic marketing for popular, award-winning services such as Samsung Gaming Hub, Samsung Art Store, Samsung Content Network and Samsung News. She also leads brand and partner marketing across these offerings on Samsung Smart TVs and Galaxy mobile devices.