Television is converging. It’s a natural progression for the medium, given the substantial change in viewer options. People are consuming more content in the U.S. now than ever before. A big reason for this growth is that there are so many more consumption options. Being wherever viewers are is what your local advertisers want, which includes traditional OTA (over-the-air) spots and digital options. The future for advertisers and local media sellers is converged TV.
So, what does converged TV really mean? What are the challenges and opportunities? Let’s take a deep dive into the topic.
What Is Converged TV?
How people watch TV was once simple. Now, there’s significant fragmentation. Consumers want to watch content how they want and when they want. Advertisers are responding with the desire to buy a combination of linear and digital spots for a campaign at one time. This practice is converged TV, which combines linear TV, OTT/CTV, digital video and O&O (owned and operated).
This paradigm change transforms buying and selling, and TV ad buying no longer has the narrow parameters of dayparts and programming. Meeting business needs and offering a converged TV buying approach will be critical for local TV growth and sustainability. Let’s look at some quick facts on the topic.
The Converged TV Landscape
Looking at the converged TV ecosystem currently, you can foresee both challenges and opportunities.
Advertisers Are Increasing Spending
According to data, 80% of advertisers spent more on converged TV in 2022. Additionally, 45% of brands allocated 20%-40% of total media spend on converged TV. With advertisers shifting budgets around, you have to be able to adapt with them. Limiting what they can buy from you to linear means those dollars are going elsewhere.
Digital Options Amplify Reach
There is a substantial opportunity for OTT/CTV revenue at the local level. It’s a category that expects notable growth in the local market in 2023. For local advertisers that were on the fence, they got a real-life “aha” moment of how valuable it can be, as political advertising leveraged the tactic successfully.
When you can offer this and digital video along with linear, your advertisers can hit cord-cutters, an attractive demographic. Targeting capabilities are also available for demographics, geography, interests, interactions and more. With linear and digital, it’s not either-or. Advertisers should be able to allocate budget by tactic, and you can deliver the entire proposal.
Most TV watchers still tune in to broadcast TV and subscribe to streaming. As a result, your advertisers don’t want to serve ads too often and cause negative sentiment. While amplification is great and can help with recall, saturation causes disengagement. You’ll want to devise a plan to avoid this, thinking carefully about how targeting can differentiate audiences.
Following the Viewers
Advertisers have many concerns about viewer fragmentation. They may be struggling to follow where local audiences are and realize they need to diversify. When companies have a well-defined target buyer, it’s easier to focus placement and spend, but most have more general ones.
Consumers’ watching preferences are constantly changing. They move from live broadcasts to on-demand airings to streaming platforms. As a result, it’s challenging to reconcile the many ID tags (unique identifiers from devices) across digital and linear that relate to the same viewer or household. Standardizing this will be a critical milestone that can provide insight into reach, frequency and performance of messaging. Additionally, this intelligence supports greater personalization of ad content.
Defining New Metrics
With converged frameworks comes the need to redefine metrics. All the current ones for linear and digital are still essential. However, new ways to measure performance will become just as important. Advertisers will look for analytics around the convergence, such as incremental reach and how tactics amplify each other. Only this 360-degree view will enable total transparency. One area that needs resolution for metrics to be meaningful is the future of audience measurement.
Scaling and Siloes
Scaling any strategy can cause bumps in the road. Since converged TV involves multiple tactics, the logistics of it can be cumbersome and manual. Local TV hasn’t had the tools to do this seamlessly. Adding to this complexity is that the selling of different media types may exist in siloes. As a result, there’s no holistic strategy or visibility. Both issues are solvable with better technology tools that integrate everything into a centralized sales platform. Such a solution streamlines selling across linear, OTT/CTV and O&O.
Converged TV Should Be on Your Radar
The opportunities around converged TV are only going to grow. There are several approaches to take, and the sooner you modernize your mindsets, workflows and tools, the better. While 2023 is expected to be a flat year for revenue, 2024 will see significant increases for local markets.
The key takeaways for increasing converged TV revenue include these points:
- Create a consistent message to your advertisers that linear and digital together have the greatest impact. Make sure they know they can buy all from you and how that affects reach and targeting.
- Develop specific ad mix recommendations to customers based on their audience, budgets, goals and industry. There’s no cookie-cutter template for this; your advertisers expect personalized proposals.
- Adopt technology that automates and consolidates the selling of all inventories, integrates other applications like those for ratings, and provides insight-driven analytics.
- Use technology to make it easier for advertisers to make converged TV buys from you with the right platform, processes and mindset.
The converged TV ecosystem will grow more important to buyers and sellers because it’s consumer driven. You have to follow the people as they continue to redefine what consumption is.
You can find more insights on the changing landscape by checking out our 2023 Local TV Advertising Trends infographic.