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Something Old or Something New? Why TV Plus Streaming is the Marriage for You

Heather Coghill, senior director, audience insights, Effectv
Heather Coghill, senior director, audience insights, Effectv (Image credit: Effectv)

Advertisers today face many difficult choices. In-house or agency? Manual or automated? First-party or third-party? One of the most challenging choices is how to make the most of video advertising – that is, how to balance traditional TV (the “old” way) with streaming (the “new” way). 

New data uncovers the importance of incorporating both strategies into an effective media plan, as well as the right budget allocation to drive the best results. 

In an analysis of over 20,000 campaigns from the first half of 2021, we found that advertisers who employ both streaming and TV see the best success, regardless of spend level or brand category. More specifically, campaign reach is highest when 10-40% of a campaign investment is allocated to streaming – no matter how high or low the investment.

Adding streaming to a TV campaign or adding TV to a streaming campaign drives additional reach among unexposed audiences, proving it is a valuable combination. In fact, 37% of streaming impressions went to “light” or “no TV” households – in other words, households that most likely would not have otherwise seen the ad, or would have only seen it sporadically on TV.

TV and Streaming: Dispelling the Myths

Despite this compelling evidence that TV and streaming work best together, myths and misinformation are holding some advertisers back. And, although both TV ad spending and streaming ad spending are expected to grow this year, there are still advertisers who feel strongly that one is “better” than the other. TV traditionalists believe that streaming ads are reaching only young people on a tiny screen, and that nearly all streaming is ad-free. On the other hand, streaming mavericks believe TV is past its heyday, or that no one is watching traditional linear channels in today’s on-demand world.

The reality is that many beliefs about TV and streaming are simply myths and proven false when diving into the numbers. Regardless of your stance on TV versus streaming, reading this data may change the way you plan your next video advertising campaign.

If You Think TV Is No Longer Relevant… Consider This

TV continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach large audiences of all ages. In fact, in the first half of 2021, consumers spent an average of 6+ hours per day watching TV, with 88% of time spent with live TV. And, while true “cord cutters” do exist in the U.S., 70% of households that watch streaming also subscribe to cable. In fact, among households that watch streaming, 61% of their viewing time is spent with cable or broadcast TV.

All of this means that TV is still an important reach vehicle for advertisers. Here’s why: According to an analysis of over 20,000 multiplatform ad campaigns with at least 40% of the spend allocated to streaming, TV exclusively accounted for two-thirds of the total campaign reach – proving that TV is still the best way to reach a large audience in a short amount of time.

If You Think Streaming Isn’t Effective… Consider This

In the second quarter of 2021, consumers’ time with streaming video worldwide increased +13%, including a +46% increase in smart TV viewing, compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, connected TV (CTV) ad spending is expected to grow by nearly 50% this year, showing an increased interest in the medium among those in the industry.

Some advertisers worry that streaming ads are too often watched on mobile phones or tablets on the go, where it might be difficult to capture the viewer’s attention. The reality is that streaming via a connected device offers the same lean-back experience as traditional TV, with 76% of streaming impressions seen on the TV screen.

And if you worry that only young people are watching streaming, it turns out mom and dad are watching, too. According to a new study of streaming households, adults over 35 spend more time with streaming video than those under 35.

Finally, it’s not just about paid subscriptions with no commercial availability! You may be surprised to learn that over half of all streaming time spent is with ad-supported content. Sounds like a pretty good bet for advertisers.

With all of this in mind, there is only one clear answer to whether your next advertising campaign includes TV or streaming. The answer is…yes.

Effectv is the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

Heather Coghill

Heather Coghill is senior director of audience insights at Effectv.