As Salmon noted in his report, the most-asked question of him throughout his career has been: “When will the inevitable growth of Internet advertising disrupt TV ad budgets?” He says that moment is now, as the use of televisions to stream content from over the internet -- CTV -- bridges signature channel television and digital video.
Salmon called out several critical growth drivers for CTV advertising relative to legacy TV. One was advanced targeting, where ads can be delivered to groups of individuals or households, not just targeted according to broad demographics -- especially attractive to advertisers focused on bottom-of-the-funnel performance. Two, there's programmatic tools and automation, which make execution easy and fast.
Then there's the availability of self-service tools and APIs, which dramatically increase the accessibility to massive pools of small and medium-sized advertisers. And finally, there's the ability for brand advertisers to find and reach the younger and more elusive audiences they can’t find on legacy TV.
So, who wins in this new $100 billion in 2030 U.S. ad world? Here are a few of my picks:
Amazon & Google. Picking these two is easy. Both have massive scale already in CTV advertising today (AmazonFire, IMDB, Twitch, YouTube), with lots of user data for targeting and massive adjacent businesses that benefit and can subsidize long-term investments into greater CTV ad capabilities. It’s not so easy to see Facebook or Twitter winning here, though maybe Snap could become a player over time.
Roku, Samsung, Apple, LG and Vizio. Each of these companies has strong positions in CTV hardware and serves tens or hundreds of millions of U.S. viewers. Roku has a big lead today on the CTV ad front. The others will need to make significant, ongoing CTV ad-related investments to keep pace.
Disney, Comcast/NBCU, Discovery/WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS. Salmon believes that almost 80% of the CTV ad spend in 2030 will be captured by pure-play streamers rather than programming networks. This is good news for Disney and Hulu and is a big opportunity for Comcast-owned Peacock as well as for HBO Max and Discovery+, expected to become siblings in a Discovery/WarnerMedia merger, and Paramount+. Not all can become big winners, but there should be enough room for several strong mid-sized players, too.
Digital DSPs, SSPs and Advanced TV ad players. Companies like The Trade Desk, Magnite and Comcast’s FreeWheel have a head start as digital video ad platforms and are already gaining traction in CTV.
It will be critical though, to watch the pure-play streamers, since they are certain to want to own and control their own ad-tech stack, as we’re already seeing with Amazon and Google.
Key for the other digital demand- and sell-side platforms and advanced TV ad players to have a meaningful place in the market will be to find a differentiated part of the market where they can add unique value. My bet is that the most fertile area will be the capacity to truly automate and optimize campaigns cross-channel -- linear and CTV -- at the audience level, with tightly coordinated and transparent cross-channel planning, targeting, measurement and optimization.
Who do you think wins if CTV ad spend hits $100 billion in the U.S. in 2030?