Linear Television Isn’t Dead, It’s Evolving.

pile of tvsWe’ve talked a lot recently about the virtues of over-the-top (OTT) television and how the shift to on-demand content viewing is really shaking up media viewing, advertising, and buying. Some have said this is essentially the end of linear TV (i.e. shows that are scheduled and audiences need to tune in). Older generations of TV viewers are shrinking while younger generations are focused on their smartphones and other screens.

Some new data out by Nielsen, however, suggests that this simply isn’t the case. It turns out that teens (ages 12 – 17 for the purposes of TV audience measurement) are by and large still tuning into watch live programs. This is especially true for live sports (which is mainly consumed in real time), but also applies to primetime content.

What’s more, linear TV is starting to become more data-rich, which has allowed the industry to rely on what’s known as addressable TV, which allows advertisers to go beyond basic demographic information and more narrowly target households based on data. That is to say that linear TV is evolving in terms of what it can offer marketers. The challenge, as one analyst points out, is scale and whether or not more pinpointed targeting can help advertisers reach their goals.

Another industry stumbling block is reconciling traditional TV data, such as Nielsen ratings, with newer data, such as OTT household demographics, which can even zero in on individual users. These two data sets may or may not validate each other, and in some ways, they aren’t really reconcilable because the way people watch linear TV is somewhat different than how they consume OTT content.

Where does that leave marketers in terms of how they allocate budget? Well, for one, marketers themselves need to develop new approaches that accommodate disparate delivery systems with entirely different (and again, sometimes conflicting) measurement models. They also need to be able to assess situations where linear TV’s wider reach is preferable to OTT/addressable TV’s more targeted approach, and vice versa.

Generally speaking, the more data you have the better your media buy will be. Here at Capital Media, we gather as much pertinent information as possible when putting together a media strategy, and there are times where one approach offers more advantages than the other. That’s something that can only come with experience and a deep understanding of the medium. And we’ve got that in spades.

If you can’t tell if your television buy—be it on linear TV or not—is working, we can help. Contact us to discuss how your media buy can be improved.


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