The explosive growth of over-the-top video has not only given consumers more options than ever, it has given media and advertising executives more data than ever. And some of that data has led to surprising results.
Case in point: During a panel at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference this week, Turner Sports senior VP of sales Seth Ladetsky said that when measuring viewers' time spent watching, linear TV was second to OTT (Roku, specifically) OTT and linear were followed by desktop screens and mobile.
As screens get bigger, the time spent watching gets longer, and OTT adds another element to the mix.
“To me it combines the best of digital and television,” Ladestsky said. “It is a big-screen television, and you are finding it.”
In other words, while many viewers on linear TV may stumble upon an NBA game while scrolling through the channel guide, on OTT most viewers are seeking out those games, and are therefore staying longer.
These changes in habits are possible because of the technology driving OTT adoption. While the deluge of choices can be confusing, consumers are adapting to the environment.
“The consumer having more choice is what is driving everything,”
said Andrew Swanston, CEO of True Optik, during the panel. “As an industry we have to focus on whether that is watching NBA League Pass through your Xfinity, or whether it is watched directly
from an app on your Apple TV. The consumer cares far less [what the platform is.]"
While consumers don’t particularly care how or where they get their content, media companies and advertisers do, and some long-term trends in the industry are still top of mind.
“Cord-cutting is still growing, it is real, it is hurting traditional networks and it is making them think of other ways that they can monetize their audience, and other areas where they can deliver valuable content, which is what is most important to viewers,” said Roku VP of demand partnerships Seth Walters.
OTT, at least in theory, offers greater targeting and precision for delivering the right ad to the right consumer, but there is still a lot of work to be done to maximize that potential, the panelists agreed.
As for ensuring that the double revenue stream that has made media companies rich and happy since the rise of cable TV stays relevant, Ladetsky said he wasn’t concerned. Whether people pay for a cable or streaming bundle, or whether they pay the company directly, he predicted most companies will be fine.
“It is not brain surgery. If you have a great show, people will want to watch it and they will pay for it,” he said. “If you have crap shows, it’s a problem.”