The Revolution In TV Advertising

TV advertising has long been considered the most valuable and consistent advertising vehicle. It may have been the greatest advertising medium ever. So why is there a revolution in TV advertising and how can you benefit?


TV advertising was first transmitted over the airwaves and received by antennae on the set. Then came cable, delivering sharper pictures and a greater variety of channels. We now have Connected TV(CTV), TV that can be connected to the internet and access content beyond what is available via the normal offering from a cable provider. In other words, a Smart TV that is connected to the internet can be a Connected TV. However, laptops and mobile devices that have Internet access are also Connected TVs. This is where the revolution in TV advertising begins.


The internet provides a different access to the screen. Instead of programming coming from a broadcast or cable provider anyone with internet access can deliver video. This has given rise to OTT, Over-the-Top TV, which means any online content provider that offers streaming media as a standalone product. OTT is typically a paid subscription (think Netflix) but is also associated with cord-cutting. People who think cable subscriptions are too expensive can now use OTT services to get their TV over the internet at greatly reduced cost.

CTV can take many forms. It can be a news or sports highlight you watch on your phone. It can be a YouTube or instructional video. CTV and OTT can be watched anywhere, in the living room, on a laptop sitting in bed or on a train commuting. Usage of Smart TV and OTT is growing. A recent survey showed that 61% of Americans own a Smart TV and 52% use OTT services. And mobile video consumption increases at 100% every year

Geographic Targeting

CTV and OTT have changed advertising on many levels. Geographically, advertisers have greater control of where their ad will be seen. A broadcast TV ad will be seen across the entire market. In the New York City metro for example, that is approximately a 50-mile radius from midtown Manhattan. If your trading area is a 10-mile radius from your business, there is tremendous waste in broadcast. One of cable’s initial appeals was it had a much smaller footprint, reducing waste and making TV advertising possible for smaller businesses. But cable zones are not always border-conforming or logical. Just as you can with digital advertising, CTV can be bought at the zip code level, allowing purchase of just the geographies an advertiser needs.

Behavioral Targeting

Another advantage of CTV and OTT is behavioral targeting. An advertiser who knows the interests and behaviors of their audience can take advantage of third-party data to more accurately deliver messaging. A company who sells bicycle car-racks can target people who own a car and a bike. Increasingly, first-party data is being incorporated into OTT, making the advertising even more precise.

This is not to say that CTV does not have concerns. Brand safety remains a worry for many advertisers as they have less control of the content that is played before or after a commercial. This can create an uncomfortable situation for an advertiser who does not want their ads running with controversial topics. Frequency capping has also been an issue, with the same ad running to the same audience ad nauseum.

For today’s advertiser CTV/OTT offer new opportunities. Advertisers with very specific geographic and behavioral targets find this delivery system reduces waste. As CTV can be bought on a View-to-Completion basis, advertisers know their commercials were watched. Because cord-cutting is on the rise, especially among younger viewers, OTT gives access to viewers who don’t have cable. So, audience reach is increased. Just as with traditional broadcast or cable, two out of every three people use a second screen to look up information about a product they saw during that program. TV still drives web traffic.

By no means does this mean that broadcast and cable are media of the past. Both have great strategic value and can reach large audiences quickly. But the revolution in TV advertising means understanding how people consume content and reaching them accordingly. CTV and OTT give advertisers the ability to reach the right people at the right time.