Has The Pandemic Opened Demand For Premium Streamer Growth?

Traditional TV upfront market of buying advertising time on live, linear TV networks is on the line again. And here’s a bottom-line question: How much money will actually go to premium streaming this year? $500 million? $1 billion?

This year -- more than ever -- we speak of owned platforms by legacy media companies calculating that possible ad-market size, such as NBCUniversal’s Peacock, ViacomCBS’ Paramount+, Disney’s Hulu, Fox’s Tubi, and the forthcoming platform from WarnerMedia’s HBO Max. And there are other interested third parties too.

Digital video has been around for some time.

We can narrow this down a bit when it comes to connected TV advertising spending -- estimated to hit $11 billion this year and $14 billion in 2022, according to eMarketer, looking at ads from Hulu, Roku and YouTube with data excluding “network sold” inventory via traditional linear TV advertising.



This data has some relationship to the $20 billion or so legacy national TV networks pull in each spring and summer -- advertising placed throughout a September-August TV season. Total national TV advertising totals over $46 billion overall annually, according to Standard Media Index.

A pandemic awakening to premium streaming is surely a major element in the possible motivation for marketers to move. In addition, media executives have been complaining about lower ratings, bad TV network viewer estimates and rising prices for decades. And this year, there has been even more disruption.

Still, even with standard TV viewership erosion, major TV brand advertisers have been reluctant to shift away from long-protected legacy TV networks' low-base pricing, which benefits loyal TV marketers.

While many have been moving ad dollars to Facebook, Google and more recently Amazon are keeping a significant portion of TV advertising dollars on TV networks -- due to highly promoted, recognized content -- is still a thing. The Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the NFL are still a major factor for brands on the awareness track.

Yes, that last comment does relate to sports. But it also offers up what marketers believe is important: Getting massive reach and scale of U.S. consumers in easily accessible video content.

All this is rapidly expanding, especially around streaming content of now well-known TV and movie brands. TV marketers will follow these paths of least resistance.

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