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The Next Frontier for TV Advertising Is Outside the Living Room

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The world of advertising in 2024 will undoubtedly be a doozy. There are many trends to watch–the endless possibilities of AI, the continued rise of retail media networks, the rapid advancements in measurement and attribution–but chief among them is the unstoppable growth and momentum of streaming.

Marketers have long braced themselves against linear TV’s slow-but-steady decline by following their target audiences to the greener pastures of streaming services. But streaming is not necessarily making marketers whole. In fact, Madison Avenue's de facto chief economist Brian Wieser suggests that advertisers are increasingly being left holding the bag. In his recently published report, Wieser raises the alarm that ad inventory on TV (linear + CTV) will drop sharply–by 24%–through 2027. So, despite more TV viewing options than ever before, as well as new ad-supported platforms popping up like daisies, advertisers are still left with a shrinking base of reachable consumers. Why?

This is because “streaming continues to take share of TV consumption, and consumers of the many SVOD services generally want to choose ad-free options,” according to Weiser. He also notes that streaming TV’s “ad-light” standards don’t provide an ample pathway back to a flush of ad inventory. With streaming ad loads of ~3% of total time spent (compared to linear TV’s ad loads of ~20%), we’ll never again see the inventory levels of yesteryear, no matter how much streaming grows.

To recapture these eyeballs and maximize impact, brands need to think differently–starting with investigating alternative solutions and testing new channels–to ultimately evolve their perspectives about where and how their video dollars are invested, and even how they advertise in general.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a good, old-fashioned diversified media plan is more important than ever. Utilizing various channels (social media, print, display, OOH, etc.) not only expands audience reach and engagement but also increases flexibility in spending optimization based on performance. And, crucially, this approach yields broader insights that foster a better understanding of your audience.

In this context, television is particularly influential given it’s the dominant form of video viewing for the masses and remains instrumental in shaping consumer behaviors. Even through earth-shaking innovations that have completely changed the ways people consume content, TV has endured as the undisputed heavyweight champion of both entertainment and advertising impact.

One of the highest touch and newest lanes for TV advertising is outside of the living room. Millions of consumers watch TV daily in many places outside their living room–in restaurants, bars, gyms, airports, and more. And, while TVs outside the living room are traditionally devoid of quality content optimized to play in businesses, there are CTV and DOOH services that have made watching TV highly relevant in these spaces by delivering premium content, custom programmed for business environments and those moments of viewership. This has opened TV ad inventory tonnage (think: tens of billions of monthly impressions) that was previously unavailable to marketers.

With TV outside the living room, advertisers now have the opportunity to reach their target audiences with intentionality–at more active and contextual moments of their consumer journey–at these “everyday” establishments. Ad creative can now be tailored to environment, location, and time producing more dynamic, interactive advertising that spurs immediate purchasing action. For example, a coffee franchise could draw consumer engagement and motivate purchase by timing their ads to key coffee buying moments, which steers consumers into the closest physical store location.

Programmatic tech–Nexxen and Xandr, among others–has even modernized to address the distinct demand for these ad placements, by designing a new CTV OOH inventory classification. With this classification, marketers can now access this supply with more transparency and intentionality than ever before.

This classification enables advertisers, who’ve been investing in these platforms incidentally, to leverage the inventory transparently and with purpose.

While the rapidly shrinking pool of television ad inventory, fueled by the decline of linear TV, paints a grim picture–and the universe of “cord cutters” and “ad nevers” continues to grow–audiences are still reachable via a variety of new advertising channels, including outside the living room. Actively utilizing CTV technology to move beyond conventional TV advertising is a critical and untapped opportunity to convert previously dormant screens into something far more imaginative for the consumer.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Atmosphere. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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