Commentary

Will Streaming TV Usage Equal Linear TV By Next Year?

Some think digital streaming apps are not changing the game quickly. Streaming usage is growing so fast that NBC believes it could equal linear TV usage sometime in late 2022.

At an industry event, Krishan Bhatia, president/Chief Business Officer for global advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal, said it sees TV consumers spending 70% of their time with linear TV and 30% with digital video (including streaming digital). A year and half from now NBC says it’ll be 50-50.

Bhatia says the streaming world has equaled the perception of TV overall. Consumers no longer distinguish mediums -- linear TV, streaming, or otherwise.

Maybe, we can get a bit more granular here.

This probably is true when content is on the big TV screen. But are consumers feeling the same way when watching “This Is Us” on their iPhones?

NBCU isn’t alone in this thinking. Surely Disney-ABC, ViacomCBS, Fox Corp. and others are seeing the same internal data that NBCU has -- pushed, no doubt, by large streaming investments.

The disconnect, however, still might be the financial numbers.

For the upcoming TV season, starting in September, Media Dynamics estimates this year’s upfront advertising market will land at $19 billion -- up 2.2% from a year ago, but still down from 13% from 2019. At the same time, CTV advertising spending is expected to grow 50% this year to $4.51 billion, according to eMarketer.

So will this and future CTV money continue to go into legacy TV networks owners pockets? Overall, there seems to be a big jump in revenue to near parity -- that is traditional TV upfront ad dollars and newer CTV upfront ad money.

NBC’s projection would surely be trending with sharply rising anticipated spending by marketers. TV networks strongly suggested to marketers to shift around 20% to 30% of their linear TV budgets into streaming platforms now for the upcoming 2021-2022 TV season.

Bottom line: Will TV networks be asking for 50-50 split by next upfront?

3 comments about "Will Streaming TV Usage Equal Linear TV By Next Year?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 6, 2021 at 12:48 p.m.

    Wayne, a large part of streaming ---as measured by Nielsen---is YouTube and youTube---which I frequent very often---is, for the most part, not "TV" as many advertisers prefer it to be. Also, as I understand it, there is some cable viewing included in streaming via apps supplied by the systems to subscribers. So we have to be careful with our definitions. It isn't all "TV"  even though it is video.

    As for the predictions, I think that the short term asnwer lies somewhere in between the two you cited---about 40% in several years. The main reason why it won't be 50%---or even higher is the lack of key program types---yep, it's news, big time sports and specials----in streaming. As this changes, and streaming becomes more user-friendly--like enabling a viewer to "dail switch" without having to load each app separately----its share will rise----probably to 50% or higher in five years. But this will be accompnied by major  hikes in subscription prices as the various players try to maximize their profits ----which may create a usage " ceiling" that keeps "linear TV", even if reduced in scale, in business.

    As for the networks asking that advertisers switch up to 30% of their "linear TV" ad spend to streaming, nothing of thismagnitude  happened this year and most of what went to streaming was already planned to go in that direction. This, too, will change, but a 50% defection  from "linear" next year?---not a chance. Patience, grasshopper.

  2. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, August 9, 2021 at 3:13 p.m.

    Ed, in fact every type of content available via linear TV is available via streaming. The Superbowl. The Oscars. The news. March Madness. All of it. Because consumers can cancel their cable subscriptionption and opt for a vMPVD, like YouTube TV or Sling, and get what amounts to a cable bundle (including local stations) via streaming. I don't know what share of US HHs has a vMVPD today, but it's definitely on the rise as cable penetration continues to decline.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc replied, August 9, 2021 at 3:45 p.m.

    Agreed, but I'm referring to the volume of viewing activity as it is generated by each platform. For example,what percent of the total minutes viewed for a show like the Oscars special is attained via "linear"----meaning "pay TV" or an over-the-air antenna---versus what percent is received via streaming? At present, recent trends notwithstanding, I would assume that the lion's share is seen the old fashioned way.

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