The State of Converged TV: Global Trends in a Cross-Platform World

By Jamie Lemle, CMO, TVSquared

Shifts in viewership, proliferation of screens and audience fragmentation have led us to where we are today: living in the age of “converged TV.” Advertisers, traditionally known for keeping linear and digital video budgets and planning in silos, are recognizing the need to bring all forms of TV into one view.

This convergence of linear and streaming has already had a profound impact on the advertising industry – from finding audiences across screens and adapting campaign strategies, to the need for real-time, holistic measurement and modern currencies. In turn, converged TV has also put the spotlight on legacy practices that have not kept up with the pace of change.

To get an industry-first global view on the state of converged TV, TVSquared partnered with third-party research firms, Advertiser Perceptions and Dynata, to survey nearly 1,000 buyers across the U.S., UK, Germany and Australia. The end result – The State of Converged TV: A Look at Global Trends & Adoption –revealed the challenges, barriers and opportunities aligned with converged TV and an advertising industry in the midst of transformation.

Shifts in Thinking: TV & the Role of Legacy Processes

Across all four markets surveyed, more than 75% of all respondents agreed that TV is now defined as both linear and streaming, and over 70% believed that all forms of TV should be sold on impressions. As a result, legacy currencies and practices are impeding the innovation of what they can do with converged TV.

This shift in thinking also applies to traditional buying. In the U.S., 80% said the Upfronts – the last bastion of old TV buying – need to be more data-driven, and 88% agreed they need to be more flexible and easier to transact across linear and streaming.

The pandemic put a large emphasis on the need for greater flexibility in the Upfront season, and other steps by media companies and organizations, like the VAB and IAB, show that the industry is listening as initiatives are emerging to help build a more open and mutually beneficial TV ecosystem for the buy- and sell sides.

Need for Holistic, Transparent Management & Measurement 

While the top factors for converged TV investment differed by country, they all supported the need to move past legacy models and toward a more holistic, transparent TV marketplace.

In order to devote ad spend to converged TV, the most important factor for respondents in the U.S. and Australia was “transparency of metrics,” while Germany was “ability to measure performance accurately at scale” and the UK was “ability to holistically manage linear and streaming.”

Findings also supported sentiment that traditional TV currency no longer meets the needs of today’s marketers, with “accuracy of cross-platform TV measurement and attribution” cited as a top challenge by around 50% of respondents. Yet, “achieving cross-platform TV measurement and attribution” also happened to be the leading priority for more than 80% of them.

Streaming & Linear: Looking More Similar Everyday 

In the U.S., where converged TV growth is more mature, the survey found that advertisers are measuring linear and streaming in similar ways.

More than 40% indicated they are measuring and streaming for performance/outcomes weekly, with 10-15% doing it on a daily basis. The frequency at which linear is now being managed also shows a huge step forward for an industry that has long been known for lag times and little flexibility for delivering insights. Additionally, 33% of marketers optimize linear campaigns for performance and 32% optimize creatives on a weekly cadence, closely matching streaming, at 35% and 31%, respectively.

As TV becomes more flexible across channels, as new cross-platform metrics take hold and as advertisers get more comfortable balancing budgets across linear and streaming, we’ll see an even greater majority of marketers manage TV holistically.

The Importance of Incremental Reach 

With audiences dispersed across platforms screens, buyers believe that converged TV strategies will help them reach, engage with and activate their total TV audience. So, it’s no surprise that incremental reach was both a top priority and top metric for buyers globally.

Within the report, TVSquared analyzed 20 converged TV ad campaigns running through out ADvantage platform. What we found was that, on average, the audience overlap of linear and streaming campaigns was approximately 30%, indicating that 70% of audiences reached via streaming could not be reached on linear.

We also found that advertisers who commit at least 15% of total TV ad impressions to streaming, are most likely to generate at least 10% more reach. Conversely, brands that commit less than 1% never generate more than 5% in incremental reach.

What It All Means

The current state of converged TV shows that there is still a ton of opportunity to leverage streaming and linear together to create the optimal media mix that builds reach and drives outcomes.

Reliable, transparent measurement across campaigns, combined with more transact-able currencies and the right set of metrics, can power converged TV and ensure marketers’ total TV investments and impression allocations are effective at achieving audience reach and outcomes across TV everywhere. The possibilities are endless.

Download a copy of “The State of Converged TV: A Look at Global Trends & Adoption.”

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