It’s been a mainstay for so long that TV may have become overlooked and under-analysed in a diverse media landscape, despite it continuing to develop. Richard Wheeler, head of agency development ANZ at Samsung Ads, addresses current misunderstandings of Connected TV (CTV).
Remember the days when you had to get off the sofa to change the channel? The panic of dashing to the bathroom or making a snack before the adverts finished? It’s mind-blowing to think how much TV has evolved since many of us were young. In 1996, Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king”. It’s now clear just how right he was. The internet changed everything – including the TV with Connected TV.
The TV industry has been through an explosive transformation. How we watch, plan and buy TV today is totally unrecognisable from just a decade ago – and it’s not finished yet. Anyone following the advancement of CTV over the past few years could be forgiven for needing a lie down to get over their whiplash. Mergers, acquisitions, innovations and new technologies continue to change the state of play. Advertising capabilities are being fuelled by CTV’s growth and now marketers are being tasked to re-think their media strategies.
Earlier this year, Samsung Ads embarked on a roadshow, visiting more than 45 agencies and talking to over 1000 buyers, planners, and strategists about the evolving TV landscape. The team spent time listening to challenges Aussie agencies are facing across planning, execution and measurement, as well as discussing the role CTV can play. It was quickly realised that many are finding it difficult to contextualise the market, keep up with consumer habits and maximise the power of CTV for brands. What’s adding to the complexity, however, is a number of common misconceptions around TV advertising in the age of streaming.
Misconception number 1: it’s hard to manage ad frequency
With so many options for viewing content, advertisers are right to be cautious around the possibility of under or overexposure.
In Australia most people still choose to watch both linear TV and streaming. On Samsung Smart TVs in H1 this year, over two-thirds of TV viewing time was spent in a streaming environment versus one-third in linear. Advertising on linear or streaming CTV is not really an either-or debate. Those relying solely on free-to-air TV to get their brand seen are at risk of missing mostly streaming audiences.
The advanced technology and targeting capabilities of Connected TVs open up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to reaching and engaging with consumers. Crucially it can tell us whether an ad campaign has reached a TV set before. This means we can truly measure campaign reach and ensure brands don’t miss out on audiences that may have been unreachable in other elements of campaigns.
By applying a data-driven marketing approach to the CTV environment, advertisers can solve a number of challenges like driving incremental reach and competitive conquesting, helping to continuously improve the experience for viewers and advertisers alike.
Misconception number 2: there’s no quality content in CTV
While it’s true that AVOD (Advertising Video On Demand) and FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming) channels do not have the same reputation among advertisers for high quality content yet, new FAST players are starting to advance the narrative. And it isn’t just from the traditional content players you’d expect with everyone from FIFA to Jamie Oliver launching FAST channels. Audiences are also taking note. A recent Telsyte study revealed 60 percent of non-paid streaming users believe there is enough good quality free content, with nearly five million Australians using FAST channels or platforms in the past 12 months.
For those new to the concept of FAST: think scheduled content within streaming TV channels. Australia is currently home to over 400 FAST channels – a huge leap from just two years ago. FAST may not yet be producing blockbuster originals, but that is not the purpose of FAST.
Our own FAST service, Samsung TV Plus, is home to almost 100 channels, giving audiences free access to some of the most popular ‘lean-back’ shows, including MythBusters, Baywatch, news channels, such as Sky News Now, sport and documentaries. Pluto TV, Paramount’s FAST offering, also recently launched in Australia with curated content to suit every generation, from South Park to Happy Days.
While it might still be the new kid on the block, FAST is becoming the go-to platform for viewers who just want to switch on, without endlessly scrolling through services and apps, figuring out what to watch.
Misconception number 3: ads are just ads, regardless of platform
In the past, research has shown that advertising is generally viewed similarly across platforms. However Australia has become a streaming-first nation and it’s clear that the appetite for ads is changing.
Samsung Ads commissioned a study earlier this year to better understand the latest perceptions and habits around watching TV. The results showed brands that advertise on streaming platforms are perceived to be five times more modern and five times more innovative when compared to brands that advertise in non-streaming environments. These figures jumped to eight times and six times, respectively, for respondents aged 18-34.
Respondents also perceived brands advertising on streaming as three times more relevant, premium and unique than those brand ads seen in non-streaming environments.
Consumers today understand and are increasingly open to the value exchange of free content in return for ads, as long as those ads are relevant, which the data-led approach of CTV advertising delivers.
Last year saw “the biggest decline in TV in Australia”, according to Pearman Media with around 20 percent of free-to-air viewers in primetime going elsewhere and it is reported $300 million in forecasted ad spend will exit linear TV this year. As our industry continues to transform and consumer behaviour follows suit, we need to re-evaluate our own misconceptions, or risk being left behind.
Technology is changing the world so quickly that challenging the status quo has become a necessity. As Bill Gates predicted – content is king. But now we can see that data holds the keys to the kingdom.
The insights Smart TVs can offer advertisers are shining a light on the reality of the CTV landscape, empowering brands to get closer to audiences.
Images attributed to Samsung Ads and Richard Wheeler.