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Streaming Gets Hype—but Linear Broadcast Gets Views

October 18th, 2017   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas   ||    No Comments

Shows from streaming services and cable networks dominated the 2017 Emmy Awards and other award shows (not to mention media coverage). But the media hoo-ha over The Handmaid’s Tale and other prestige shows hides an important fact: Most viewing still takes place over linear broadcast—and that translates to ad dollars.

Now, advertisers are betting programmatic TV will take their ad campaigns to the next level.

Master of What?

Variety reported on a survey by Katz Media that found the most-watched and recognized Emmy nominees aired on linear broadcast, while the least-watched could be found on cable or streaming. In fact, survey respondents hadn’t even heard of close to half the nominees—the ones on streaming and cable. And a full 76 percent had never heard of critical darling Master of None.

At the same time, the universe of TV viewers has grown slightly year over year, according to Nielsen, totaling an estimated 304.5 million people for the 2017–2018 TV season. Huge audiences for linear broadcast mean big reach for advertisers, and they know it. While prime-time ad spending was close to flat in 2017, Nielsen says the total television advertising spend was $61.1 billion, up from $59 billion in 2016.

Projecting Programmatic

According to eMarketer’s latest forecast, total U.S. addressable TV ad expenditures will grow 65.8 percent this year, reaching $1.26 billion (this includes both linear broadcast and cable). By 2019, addressable television advertising is expected to account for 4 percent of the total. Programmatic TV advertising lets marketers build schedules on the fly based on hundreds of granular household or viewer attributes—an even more valuable capability for advertising in the digital age.

A recent Adobe survey reported by Broadcasting & Cable found 38 percent of advertisers plan on increasing their programmatic spending, compared to only 28 percent who plan to increase their overall TV budgets. Interestingly, 84 percent of advertisers who already employ programmatic revealed they’d likely increase their spend if there were more access to first-party data targeting—and 45 percent of overall advertisers stated they’d add programmatic if such access were available.

The Right Mindset

As viewing becomes increasingly multichannel, it’s critical media companies take advantage of these efficiencies in reaching the right audience. In an op-ed for the Hollywood Reporter, Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, wrote, “By leveraging sophisticated data and technology, we can target digital ads in a way that can be even more powerful than the previously assumed omnipotence of broadcast advertising—and at premium prices.”

Programmatic television can help broadcasters and local station groups make the most of every channel, including linear broadcast. Modern TV stations need to make this case to advertisers—and make sure they’re leveraging all distribution platforms and revenue streams.

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