It's All TV: Stop Silo-ing It By Delivery Method

  • by , Featured Contributor, February 22, 2024
Two important headlines from MediaPost this week: “Total TV Viewing Hits 4-Year High In January” and “Linear TV 'Down, Streaming 'Flat To Slightly Up': Analyst.”

Let’s look at them one at a time. The first story reported the latest Nielsen numbers for combined linear and streaming TV that showed “total TV viewing [in the U.S.] climbed to a four-year high in January of 2024, with usage up 3.7% from December in total day viewing for persons two years of age and up.”

Total TV viewing in the U.S hit a record level!

The second reported analysis from Bernstein Research predicted that U.S. media spend on linear TV would go down along with viewing declines, that spend on streaming TV would be flat to growing -- with much depending on the cost per thousands that Amazon can command for advertising in Prime Video, which has historically been ad-free.

Basically, linear TV ad spend is going down and streaming is largely going up, constrained at this point not by content viewing, but availability of advertising, since so much of it has historically been ad-free or ad-light.



Net, net, overall TV ad spend in the U.S. is growing, following audience, ad load and pricing!

At what point will we stop talking about streaming versus linear TV as if they're fighters in a heavyweight championship fight?

Viewers don’t care. To them, it’s just TV. For the most part, advertisers don’t (or shouldn’t care). It’s just about audience, content, ad capabilities and outcomes.

Don’t blame the headline writers. The stories and headlines are written this way because it's the way our industry continues to organize and operate. Our industry lives in silos. We love silos.

So many of our TV companies -- buyers, sellers, enablers -- are still fundamentally organized around the delivery method of the TV signal: digital, linear (broad, cable, satellite). And that siloing extends to language, terminology and acronyms. Most of our streaming TV folks can’t speak linear (Fringe, CPP, P2+, etc.). And most of our linear folks can’t speak digital (Outstream, PMP, RTB, etc.).

We need to move on now. Most advertisers looking to TV for efficient, predictable consumer growth need audiences that are present and accessible on both streaming and linear. And, for those buying on both today, they’d like to have a lot less wasted frequency.

Our viewers would greatly appreciate better integration of ad experiences between streaming and linear, and among the various streaming providers. They’d like to have a lot less ad frequency of the annoying ads.

And yes, dealing with non-TV devices differently (PC, mobile, game device) will have to be addressed soon. Not all are primary-screen, high-engagement experiences. But, for now, let’s treat streaming and linear together. Please.

What do you think? Isn’t it time to move on, and treat everything on TV like TV?

Thanks Kirk McDonald, for the inspiration here! You’ve been fighting this battle longer than any of us.

9 comments about "It's All TV: Stop Silo-ing It By Delivery Method".
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  1. David Kenny from Nielsen, February 22, 2024 at 5:11 p.m.

    60% of media revenues are subscription, vs 40% advertising.     Subscription convergence will drive us to a converged TV model.    And yes, the audience is ahead of the business model right now.      

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 22, 2024 at 6:10 p.m.

    Agreed, Dave---I've been saying this for years and we recently changed the name of our long running annual report, "TV Dimensions", to "Total TV Dimensions" to reflect this reality.

    So why do some keep bashing one form of TV---"linear"? Simple. For those who believe that all advertising and media buying/selling must be done "the digital way", linear TV is seen as the last bastion of "legacy media" that must be overcome. Once it is destroyed and all TV viewing has shifted to streaming, they believe that branding  advertisers who have long been wedded to "TV" will have no choice but to change their ways and deal direct with consumers---or blocks of consumers---- via interactive means. That means that "data" will rule , that all buys will be made programmatically and there will be no more upfronts. Instead, brand managers will monitor their "outcomes" daily and adjust their media usage for specific target groups---or individuals---daily, using specialized creative that is tailored for every consumer type, mindset, etc. as it varies from day to day, week to week, etc.

    Obviously, this is a totally unrealistic appreciation---and dream---which is not going to happen. Some advertisers may approach their media that way---mainly search  and DR advertisers---- but many will not as there is no need or benefit in doing so. Nor will all viewers wish to employ streaming's on-demand capability and shun "appointment viewing". As streaming evolves it will probably transform itself into an upgraded replica of linear TV, though with added viewing and marketing options that some may find useful.

    At present, the "digital way, or the highway" folks don't understand that there is no single way to plan or buy media and no single type of viewer who thinks that streaming is not "TV". But they will learn---trust me.

  3. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, February 22, 2024 at 6:17 p.m.

    Great point David ... no question that the convergence of subscriptions will drive the convergence on the ad side. And audience is certainly going to be the fulcrum point of that convergence.

  4. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, February 22, 2024 at 6:19 p.m.

    Ed, you are spot-on ... those who only see linear TV as a beast to be slayed by the programmtic-driven performance marketer will be sorely disapponted when it never happens, and they will never learn the special nuance that lives with the linear TV world that will ukeiatley infect the world of Total TV.

  5. Kevin Gallagher from 701 Consultants, February 22, 2024 at 7:09 p.m.

    Great article. I couldn't help thinking that one of the reasons the siloes exist is because most HoldCo and large agency Buying Teams are still siloed by delivery method, with separation by National, Local, Digital, Programmatic, etc. Rarely is there a " Strategic Investment" Buying Lead who has sole accountability for client budgets across delivery methods. 

  6. Edward Gold from Blue Dog Agency, February 23, 2024 at 2:02 p.m.

    100% Agree.  Video has always been the strongest branding medium out there, and every iteration just helps make it more targetable to an advertiser's key audience, from network to cable to online to connected TV.  Advertiser's and agencies love it, and for those that said the "the :30 second TV spot is dead" have never been so wrong.  Thanks for saying it Dave!

  7. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, February 24, 2024 at 11:48 a.m.

    So true Kevin. Without true cross-channel strategic planning, the silo will old is hard to break.

  8. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, February 24, 2024 at 11:49 a.m.

    Thanks Ed Gold! Yep. Linear TV will be important for a long, long time yet!

  9. Jim Meskauskas from Media Darwin, Inc., February 26, 2024 at 1:31 p.m.

    I've said for many years that talking about "digital media" is like talking about "electro-vacuum." All media is digital like all vacuums are electro. This industry sticks with nomenclature derived from descriptions of delivery methods much longer than necessary. I think it's partly due to the fact that it makes us look smarter by framing things as if they are a complex set of many moving pieces (like saying "utilize" when "use" will do). 

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