The word “TV” is becoming harder to define. Consumers now watch content not only on traditional cable or broadcast TV sets, but also on phones, Kindles, and smart TVs. Buying airtime used to be a lot simpler, as Stuart Smith describes: “You’d make a really beautiful ad — you talked to someone at your media company and they would tell you exactly where the ad was going to be placed, exactly what time it would run, exactly how long it would run for and exactly which program it would run alongside.” 

Television advertising was so predictable that marketers would throw watch parties to see their ads premiere. Enter “Total Video” – the catchall term for all the different ways that consumers are watching video content, across new platforms. Advertising in the world of Total Video is not as straightforward, but it opens up a host of new opportunities for better targeting.

We recently held a virtual roundtable with Paul Alfieri, CMO of Cadent, Stuart Smith, CMO of Caulipower, and Kevin Hunter, EVP and Head of Innovation at Catalina who discussed how brands can take advantage of the opportunities that the evolution of TV to Total Video presents. We’ve captured some of the highlights in this post. 

What is actually TV? Is TV a device? Is it content? Where’s the line between TV and user-generated video? Is a YouTube content creator TV if you’re watching the YouTube app on a TV? – Paul Alfieri

The Total Video landscape

  • Total Video can be broken into four categories:
    • Linear TV – Scheduled traditional broadcast/cable that only allows mass targeting (ABC, ESPN, NBC, etc).
    • Data-Driven Linear TV – A subset of traditional broadcast television that allows marketers to target based on viewing behavior (Comedy Central, A&E, etc).
  • Addressable TV Tech providers like Dish Network and DIRECTV that allow 1-to-1 and household-level targeting.
  • Connected TV (CTV)/Over-the-top (OTT) – Internet-connected devices like Smart TVs, Roku, Apple TV, etc., that make personalized ad targeting possible.
  • Though CTV allows for more personalized ad targeting, the majority of ad dollars are still spent on linear TV, which makes up the largest share of viewership. 

There’s a lot of really interesting technology solutions, but the technology solutions aren’t all talking to each other. The ability to target is evolving, but it’s not perfect. The ability to track across devices is evolving, but getting more difficult because of privacy concerns.  – Stuart Smith

Reaching your audience across Total Video

  • Total video, across the four categories above, is still the best medium for many brands. Digital ads via Facebook or Instagram can drive awareness but are not always as effective at driving purchases for brands like Caulipower, which can only sell their frozen products in retail stores.
  • Certain consumers may watch only linear TV, others only CTV. To reach their full potential audience marketers may have to be active across all platforms.
  • TV advertising has become more technical as viewing formats have fragmented. New tools and data sets are emerging that allow marketers to target across total video via their own first-party data. 
  • Digital privacy regulation and the deprecation of cookies has made building first-party relationships with customers even more important as companies try to reach consumers.
  • New digital formats have pushed ad lengths shorter and shorter. Thirty-second ads used to be the standard, but fifteen and even six-second bumper ads are increasingly the norm due to shortened audience attention spans.

It’s easy to just say, I’m gonna go all-in on OTT because it fits with the rest of my digital strategy, but you look at the Nielsen numbers and 60 plus percent of viewing is still done on live TV because people are watching local news and local sports and local broadcasting. I think the challenge of Total TV is: “how do you stitch together that mess?” – Paul Alfieri

Want even more data? Check out our solution guide on The Evolution of TV to Total Video.

➡️  CMO Club members can watch the virtual roundtable replay here.
➡️  Join your peers for an upcoming CMO Club virtual roundtable. Check out the calendar of events.