Streaming TV: The New Age of Television

Most of the largest advertising spenders are switching much of their television ad spend to streaming for good reason.

Cable television has been an advertiser’s best friend for the better part of a century. Offering nearly unlimited ad space and universal reach, cable reigned as king for brand marketers. Even as recent as a decade ago, 90% of US homes had a cable TV package. But times are changing, and so are TV viewer preferences.

Streaming is the New Industry Leader

As of July 2022, Streaming has officially passed Cable in total viewership (Nielsen). That 90% of US households with cable a decade ago has now dropped to only 44%. Streaming has been gaining on cable for years and it seems that finally the tides have fully turned. This trend is by all accounts expected to continue, as internal reporting for almost all major cable providers has shown a decrease in subscribers over the last several years.

So now that we’ve proven that viewers are cutting the cord and switching to streaming, some advertisers may begin to wonder what that means for them. One area of concern is that streaming providers often have both ad-supported and ad-free viewing plans. The advertisers may wonder if TV consumers are choosing the ad-free subscriptions, causing advertising opportunities to dry up. The answer and good news are that most streaming consumers are choosing ad-supported plans. This is because most who switch from cable do so with cost-savings as one of their primary decision factors. In fact, 80% of streaming tv consumers use ad-supported options (LG Ads Solutions).

Advanced Targeting

This TV platform shakeup changes not only where advertisers should spend their marketing dollars, but also how.  Traditional cable offered easy branding for large companies who appeal to broad audiences (such as the food industry, banks, phone/internet providers). While cable was great for those brands, most brands don’t have as broad of targeting and require much more focused campaigns. This is where streaming begins to display its advantages over traditional cable.

Streaming offers previously untapped targeting options for television advertising. With cable you could only target by channel, time, and location. So, you were able to conduct research to see the audience demographics of specific shows, but there would always be wasted ad spend because likely no program is going to be an exact match to your target audience. This is no longer the case with streaming.

Streaming Targeting Options

The targeting options for streaming tv are much more exact and extensive. Specific targeting options vary a bit from platform to platform, but in general you can target based on age, gender, location, interests, and content genre. Instead of targeting based on show audience demographics, we’re targeting the users based on the information the service has collected on the user and delivering ads on anything they watch. Another cool feature is that it allows you to target different audiences with separate messages even when watching the same content.

Not only does streaming offer more advanced targeting but also a wider breadth of programs. Most cable channels, even relatively niche ones, had to keep their programming broad enough to appease anyone watching the channel. With streaming providers, each consumer chooses what to watch on their own. So, the programming itself is more targeted. Instead of broadcasting one big message, platforms now can send a thousand small, specialized messages to catch consumers no matter what they’re watching with content relevant specifically to them.

Streaming reaches audiences of all programs with individually targeted messages.

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Streaming Long-Term Viability

Now that we’re all in agreement that streaming TV is great for us as advertisers, we must begin to wonder if it’s all too good to be true.Is streaming really going to last?

By all indications, streaming is here to stay. Most of the largest advertising spenders are switching much of their television ad spend to streaming for good reason. The video streaming market size is projected to grow over 350% from 2022-2029 (Fortune Business Insights).

Global streaming market size graph

Not only are more cable users going to switch to streaming, but also many viewers paying for ad-free subscriptions are going to be switching to ad-supported plans. With rising CTV prices, 30% of Streaming TV consumers ditched their paid CTV for free ad-supported CTV over the last year (LG Ads Solutions).


Contact us to maximize your ad spend and set up your Streaming TV campaign today.

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