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If you’ve been following our battle series closely (comparing Performance TV to other video advertising mediums), you’ll notice one thing in common: Performance TV is the winning contender, on every level – from both a branding and performance perspective. But how does it stack up against linear television?
Today, we’ll take a walk down memory lane as we compare one of the legacy forms of advertising – Linear TV vs. Connected TV (Performance TV).
Linear TV is defined as the traditional form of TV, which is programmed and watched as scheduled through satellite or cable, and is not streamed to a specific user on demand. It generally caters to prime time viewing, which is when most people are in front of their screens.
To further clarify, the term “linear” in this phrase simply refers to the method by which television programs and content are consumed. Rather than on-demand viewing (as is the case with modern streaming services), linear TV programming is viewed according to a predetermined/scheduled lineup of shows.
While Linear TV viewing still holds some form of nostalgia, especially with a mature audience (more on that later), changes in consumer’s consumption habits have affected the way marketers view Linear TV as an advertising tool – in fact, according to media consultancy Ebiquity, Linear TV will see an estimated 21% fall in commercial impact by 2025.
Prerecorded programming, hosted on a server, streams through linear TV on a set schedule. Software is used to determine both the timeslots for the shows, as well as the accompanying advertisements that go along with it.
The obvious exception here would be for live events, where raw footage is received, edited in near real-time, and sent to viewers, often on a very slight time delay.
For advertisers, getting your ads on linear TV can feel a bit intimidating. The easiest way is by working directly with an advertising agency that specializes in negotiating deals with cable companies. The entire process is beyond the scope of this particular post, so if you want the ins and outs, check out this piece on cable TV advertising.
On-demand streaming on CTV platforms is quickly pulling ad revenue away from linear TV advertisers, but there is still a future for linear. Here are a few notable benefits of linear TV advertising.
For now, linear television is still a viable option for reaching audiences during live TV programming. Whether it’s a sporting event like the super bowl, news broadcasts, morning shows, or shows that involve live audience voting, there is still demand for linear TV programming.
In addition to its live TV appeal, linear TV ads are still the most effective way to reach the largest number of baby boomers. Around 38% of individuals aged 55 and older spend more time watching linear TV content on cable than on any other platform. Compare this to Gen Xers at 21%, millennials at 16%, and Gen Z adults at 9%, and it’s clear that linear TV still has a place for advertisers trying to reach older audiences.
Although advanced audience targeting options are limited on linear TV, compared to CTV/OTT platforms (more on this in a moment), linear TV still allows you to target viewers by channel, or air time. This is particularly useful if you know that your best customers are most likely to watch a certain show at a certain time.
What is the difference between linear TV and OTT? OTT stands for “over-the-top,” and refers to the viewing of TV content via an internet connection rather than on a linear schedule. So OTT advertising, in essence, is the act of displaying ads and marketing material to this internet-connected audience as they stream their favorite shows.
This means that advertisers have a lot more freedom and targeting options with streaming TV advertising platforms compared to the rigid structure and limited options of linear TV advertising.
What is the difference between linear TV and connected TV? Well, you already know the answer! Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) are essentially the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably in the industry, so don’t be confused.
For the full breakdown, you can read our post about OTT vs. CTV.
Here are some of the main challenges with Linear TV advertising:
When you look at the combination of rising Linear TV production and increased advertising rates, a distracted audience, and inability to measure results – it’s no wonder viewers and advertisers alike are cutting the cord in favor of Connected TV (CTV).
Fast becoming the future of TV as we know it, Connected TV can be accessed across multiple platforms including smart TV, mobile, or OTT devices (think Chromecast, Xbox, and Amazon Fire Stick). It is estimated that the number of Connected TV users will rise to over 204 million by 2022, roughly 60% of the population, a ripe opportunity for advertisers.
Here’s why Connected TV, or Performance TV as we like to call it, is the one to watch:
It is no surprise that Performance TV is the clear winner when compared to Linear television. Who’s next in the ring to square up against CTV? Watch this space as we announce our next battle next week.
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