- Linear TV and premium digital video continued to converge in 2018, as viewership trends were similar and the industry worked to unify advertising across both sectors, according to FreeWheel — a Comcast division — in its fourth quarter Video Marketplace Report (VMR).
- Forty percent of all ad views were delivered via connected TV in 2018 — up 53% — as viewers use the device to watch programs at home, while ad views for live content grew 86%, signaling that viewers watched live content whenever they wanted on a variety of devices. Premium video grew 27% in 2018.
- More than half (52%) of advertisers and agencies combine buying digital video and linear TV, and 91% plan to do so by 2021. Seventy-four percent of advertisers say it’s "important" or "very important" to integrate digital video and linear TV data. More than 75% of premium video viewing occurs outside of the traditional TV primetime.
While FreeWheel’s VMR illustrates the continued convergence of linear TV and premium digital video, it also sheds light on how users are accessing content and interacting ads. The insights could help marketers strategize future digital video campaigns, as "watching TV" can mean many things these days — tuning into a linear TV program, binge watching on connected TV or over-the-top (OTT) platforms or following live events on a mobile device. And, many consumers embrace multiple formats.
Despite the growing convergence, the report shows that just over half of marketers are combining their digital video and linear TV ad buys. This finding is in line with previous research showing that full convergence isn’t widespread as 53% of marketers plan the two strategies together, and 40% purchase bundles from multichannel providers, per Advertiser Perceptions’ 2018 Video Advertising Convergence Report. Two in five advertisers reported leveraging data to target ads.
Marketers are investing more in advanced TV options, attracted by audience targeting, cross-screen planning and buying, and addressability. More than 90% of advanced TV cross-screen campaigns saw online sales lifts, with the retail sector seeing offline sales increases of 129% and a 146% jump in brand penetration with combined TV and digital campaigns, a 4INFO analysis revealed.
Over-the-top (OTT) TV and digital video are snapping up a larger share of marketers’ digital budgets. Ad spend on OTT was projected to increase 40% to $2 billion in 2018, and addressable TV was expected to reach $800 million, according to Magna forecasts. The increase is linked to higher consumer adoption of smart TVs and set-top boxes, and 84 million homes were expected to be reachable by nontraditional ad campaigns last year. National linear TV ad spend was projected to grow 1%.