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2022 in Review: Connected TV’s Glow-Up

A recap of the highs, and even higher highs, streaming saw in 2022

2022 in Review: Connected TV’s Glow-Up

6 Min Read

2022 is a hard year to neatly wrap up for Connected TV. After years of explosive growth and record-high viewership, the platform matured and finally delivered on its promises. Streaming beat broadcast and cable TV for the first time, Disney+ and Netflix embraced ads, streaming services – and advertisers – started to think strategically, and new ad technology tools helped brands weather economic uncertainty with unparalleled targeting and measurement. 

We can’t blame you if you can’t remember everything that happened this year; it’s a little hard for us to keep track of it all. Below is a brief summary of every major milestone and event for 2022, Connected TV’s biggest year yet. Thanks for spending the year with MNTN, and we wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. 

Changing of the TV Guard

The start of this year saw streaming continue to upend many traditional linear TV experiences. As Super Bowl ad buys continue to skyrocket in price, Influential—an AI-powered social data platform that partners with IBM’s Watson—ran an analysis of online conversations for the last five championship games and found that positive reactions are at an all-time low (15%) but negative reactions were higher than ever. It was a bit of a wake-up call for brands as they saw diminishing returns on their ads for the big games—and noticed streaming increasingly embracing sports.

Meanwhile, 2022’s Academy Awards saw streaming step into the limelight. Apple made history as the first streamer to bring home the “Best Picture” award with CODA, a film that went on to win three awards total. Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog” and “Don’t Look Up” were also nominated for Best Picture. In fact, eight out of the ten nominees for Best Picture were streaming at the time of the Oscars. 

2022 saw more streaming services continue to spend top dollar and lock down exclusive films and TV shows, including the most money ever spent on a TV show—Amazon Prime’s Rings of Power, at $715 million for one season. It’s that commitment to quality content that led to streaming hitting its biggest milestone yet in July—outperforming broadcast and cable TV in viewership for the first (and surely not last) time in history.

From Ad-Free to Ads, Please

For advertisers in the CTV space, 2022 was a special year as every major streaming service went all in on ads. In March, Disney+ announced plans to introduce an ad-supported tier for their service by end of the year. They made their target release date and launched their ad tier on December 8th. The new offering proved popular at a $7.99 price point with consumers, and over 100 companies agreed to advertise at launch. While Disney is still struggling to get their ad-supported offering on Roku devices, the future is looking rosy for the House of Mouse: the ad-supported offering is projected to account for 88% of Disney’s global subscriptions by 2028, and 1 in every 4 subscribers may switch over to ads.

But Disney wasn’t the only service to turn to ads in 2022. Netflix, one of the founders of the modern streaming movement, also announced an ad-supported offering. The company’s about-face followed a public bruising the company suffered after their quarterly earnings fell far below target—and resulted in the company’s first subscriber loss since 2011. 

While there were many questions about what Netflix’s ad support would look like throughout the year, the company partnered with Microsoft to fast-track a model that costs $6.99 a month and launched in November. A month later, Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings publicly admitted that the company should have embraced ads years ago and acknowledged that his previous views on advertising were “wrong.”  

Landscape Contraction

For the last several years, the CTV market was under a period of heavy fragmentation and expansion. Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max, and countless others—it seemed that every time you turned around, a new streaming service had arrived. 2022 saw the opposite happen: as the CTV market matured, service providers rethought their strategies, target new audiences, and consolidate and merge with other services. The biggest example this year was easily the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery in the spring. 

The merger caused a bit of an identity content crisis for the newly created Warner Bros. Discovery, with the company immediately cutting films and shows—including completed and highly-anticipated content like Batgirl—as well as dialing back on kids’ programming and scripted content. The company spent the back half of the year quietly reorganizing its content slate, including removing some of its HBO original programs like Westworld.  In August, the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery announced an intent to merge HBO Max with Discovery+ in the summer of 2023.

Meanwhile, Disney’s ascension to the top of the streaming world continued. Its Disney+ continued to break viewership records, while the company continued to hold a majority investment stake in Hulu—which it used to provide more adult-rated content like its new Predator movie, Prey. There has been plenty of speculation about what Disney will do with these two services next year when Comcast will sell its remaining stake and Disney takes full control. 

Many industry observers, and even media executives, are speculating that Disney will merge the two services. We might have already seen some experimentation with this idea, as 2022 saw Disney+ shed its family-friendly-only image and start offering adult-rated fare including the Deadpool movies (staring MNTN Chief Creative Officer Ryan Reynolds). 

The Peak of the MNTN

All of these advancements in streaming services wouldn’t mean much without cutting-edge ad solutions, which is why MNTN also had a busy 2022 breaking new ground. 

  • In October, MNTN brought incrementality reporting to Connected TV. With incrementality reporting, marketers can see the true impact of their campaigns versus the results they would have produced anyway to make more effective optimizations and investment decisions—all with absolutely no additional costs or upfront planning required.
  • Performance TV’s audience segment reporting launched, letting marketers drill down and view performance data on each audience segment, giving a detailed picture of audiences that drive conversions
  • Maximum Effort continued to make advertising headlines for major brands.
  • Creative-as-a-Subscription, announced late last year, continued to shake up the industry and provide brands with high-impact creative that drove record performance
  • MNTN Performance TV unveiled Adobe Analytics support, letting marketers launch and measure their CTV campaigns alongside all of the marketing channels
  • MNTN introduced My TV Videos Library and Flighted Budgets to Performance TV. These features let marketers store and manage creative directly in the MNTN software, as well as gain total control to plan daily, weekly, and monthly campaign budgets. 

What’s Next?

If 2022 was the year that CTV rose to new heights, 2023 will be the year it soars. Next year, we’ll finally see what the HBO Max and Discovery merger looks like, we’ll discover Disney’s plans for Hulu, and we’ll surely see new market shakeups and advanced technology solutions to help marketers make the most of the platform.  

This might have been a big year for Connected TV and streaming, but as the old adage goes: “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”