Before we get started, let’s level set here. The definition of TV: A device for watching video content.
We need to stop thinking about TV as one dimensional.
Despite the many eulogies given for TV, it isn’t dead. Nor is it dying, rather, it is evolving. TV still has bench strength and is a valuable player in a cross-channel strategy. However, considering TV as one-dimensional leaves reach off the table.
Who is Who in TV?
We need to consider the entire roster of video options. A quick refresher on the players:
Connected TV (CTV)
- Sometimes also called OTT/Over-The-Top or SVOD
- This refers to content being viewed over the internet rather than through a device like a smart TV, Roku, or Apple TV, or through a service like Netflix. Prime, etc. as opposed to a traditional cable box.
- Accessed through broadcasters.
- Used data from third party and/or TV providers set top boxes to provide an additional level of targeting to a TV buy airing on linear television.
- Traditional TV viewing that occurs conventionally over the air or through a satellite or cable TV subscription.
Reach of TV Players
Linear television is still a solid player with 72% daily reach for A18+ in Canada (Lens-Meter data BY 2022 YTD). However, when you look at tuning for the younger cohort, its’ strength begins to ebb with reach at 52% for A18-34 and 67% for A35-54. And, regardless of the demographic, reach has been impacted by cord cutting (canceling of a cable or satellite subscription) and the growth of streaming content.
For all age demographics, cord cutting appears to have stabilized. For adults 18+, it reached its peak in the Fall of 2019 with 19% reporting severing ties with a cable provider and sits at 17% in the Fall 2021. A similar pattern exists for A18-49 with a peak in the Fall of 2019 at 27% and sitting at 24% in the Fall 2021.
While cord cutting has leveled off, subscription rates for video on demand continue to grow across all age groups ranging from 34% to 91% for A18-34 and A50+, respectively compared to Fall 2016. The time spent watching SVOD is similar across all age groups with a low of 8.4 hours a week to a high of 10 hours across Canada.
The Newest Opportunities + Growth
The growth of streaming is due, in part, to the plethora and quality of content available. However, streaming services face challenges to maintain growth and retain their existing subscribers as viewers jump to the latest platform seeking new and hot content often called subscription cycling. This, in combination with the increased cost of creating or buying original content, is impacting the revenue stream as not all platforms are ad supported (AVOD) and rely on subscriptions. This is a big part of why many platforms are moving to an ad supported model or considering two-tier pricing; a higher priced ad-free model and a lower cost ad supported model.
Although the introduction of ad supported, cheaper options is not new, the recent announcement by Netflix of the introduction of an ad supported option in 2023 is significant. Netflix is the dominant player with 68% of adults 18+ in Canada being a subscriber. Ad supported options are positioned as a win-win for all players. Advertisers and content producers will be able to reach wider audiences and consumers get access to premium content at a more attractive price point, perhaps more important with today’s rising prices.
How Should We Move Forward?
Remember, TV is not dead.
The way people view content on the largest screen in their home is changing, particularly with younger viewers. Viewing is now fragmented.
When thinking of TV and video, it’s important to think of all the players and how they reach, engage and work for your strategy.
This means to ensure your campaign maximizes reach and delivers your message to as many people within your target audience as possible, thoughtful coordination of your digital and traditional executions is of the utmost importance.