CTV is about as buzzy a buzzword as the ad industry has at the moment, referring broadly to Internet-delivered content and ads viewed through apps on connected TVs.
It’s buzzy because tons of people in the U.S. are watching streamed content through their connected TVs. Nielsen estimates put streamed viewing at almost 24% of all video viewed on TV.
It’s an ad problem, because the vast, vast majority of streamed viewing is on services with no or few ads. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max are by far the biggest streaming services. But, of the dominant five, only Hulu carries ads, and only on part of its service, with a very light ad load relative to conventional TV.
That’s why, when you analyze Nielsen data to determine how much of the “ad viewing” on TV occurs in streaming services, you learn it’s only 3%-4%.
Yep, you’ve got that right: CTV might be 24% of content viewed on TV, but more than 95% of all U.S. TV audiences’ time viewing ads can only be accessed through linear TV programming.
Which presents a real problem for marketers. What do you tell your boss who says she’s heard that everyone is cutting the cord and watching streaming content, and wants you to move your TV ad budgets to streaming?
You might want streaming ads. You might have lots of money for streaming ads. But the math says that there is a very limited pool of them.
Of course, if you log into some of the programmatic systems these days, they seem to have plenty of “CTV” ad inventory to sell. How is that possible? Where do you suppose it comes from? How much can there really be?
Do you wonder why auditors and verification services are reporting so much digital ad fraud in CTV these days? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that while lots of content is viewed on streaming services, not so many ads are yet.
What do you think?