6 Things to Know About TV in a Digital World

By Hadassa Gerber

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The current media landscape is defined by screens across devices; we absolutely live in a multiscreen world with around the clock access to content. While viewers may not differentiate between linear, connected and streaming TV, marketers' awareness of these differences is crucial for successful campaigns. Below are six key takeaways from new media research studies that marketers need to know in order to reach audiences at scale and make informed media planning decisions.

People Still Watch Linear TV

Linear TV represents 65 percent of total daily viewing and streaming TV represents 27 percent of daily viewing for adults 18 and older. While there is much focus on streaming and its programming in the media, linear TV maintains the larger share of total viewing.
(Source: Nielsen NPOWER Feb 2022 Adults 18+ Live+7)

Streaming Ad Inventory Is Limited

Streaming TV platforms do not all carry ads, and the degree of advertising is unclear for some. For example, streaming TV may have a 27 percent share of daily viewing for adults 18 and older, however not all of that share features advertising: 33.6 percent is ad-free streaming (SVOD) such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video; 24.9 percent is free streaming with ads (AVOD) such as Pluto TV or Tubi; and 18.2 percent is tiered subscription SVOD platforms which include a combination of ad-free and ad-supported options, such as HBO Max or Hulu.
(Source: Nielsen NPOWER Feb 2022 Adults 18+ Live+7)

Most TV Ads Are on Linear TV

In a TVB analysis of total viewing with advertising, linear TV comprised 84 percent of daily viewing for adults 18 and over (broadcast and ad-supported cable), free ad-supported streaming TV comprised 9.4 percent of daily viewing, and 6.9 percent of viewing was from tiered subscription SVOD platforms that may or may not have ads depending on the plan viewers chose.
(Source: Nielsen NPOWER Feb 2022 Adults 18+ Live+7)

Ad-Free Streamers Can Be Reached by Advertisers

Results from the GfK TVB 2022 Media Comparisons study show that broadcast TV and broadcast sites and apps can reach ad-free streamers. In fact, broadcast TV and its assets reach the majority of ad-free streamers across demos, including adults 18 and over (92 percent), adults between the ages of 25 and 54 (92.4 percent), adults between the ages of 18 and 34 (91.8 percent), those with income $100,000 and over (95.6 percent), parents (93.6 percent), and Hispanics (91.2 percent).
(Source: GfK TVB Media Comparisons Study 2022)

Screen Size Matters for Ad Viewing

Not all screens are equal. If advertisers want to ensure their ads are being optimally seen, it's important to know which screens viewers prefer for consuming various types of content. Findings from the GfK TVB 2022 Media Comparisons study show that 80 percent of respondents viewed ad-supported programs on large screens via linear TV (broadcast and cable), whereas only 22 percent of respondents streamed ad-supported programs on smartphone screens, 19 percent streamed on computers and 8 percent streamed on tablets.
(Source: GfK TVB Media Comparisons Study 2022)

Digital Companies Value TV

The biggest digital companies in the world recognize the value of TV – and use it. In a TVB analysis of Kantar ad spending data across media platforms, Meta spent 78 percent of their total ad budget on TV, more than all other media combined, and Microsoft spent 62 percent of their total ad budget on TV. The next medium was internet search at only 21 percent. Linear TV has become a marker of success for DTC companies and digital brands, alike because it effectively reaches target audiences at a scale that streaming TV and other digital assets don't even come to close to achieving.
(Source: Kantar Media, time period: 4/1/21-9/30/21)

In a continuously changing media landscape, the analysis is clear – linear TV remains a powerful driver for reaching audiences. By applying a holistic approach to media planning and buying, marketers can use linear TV to reach large audiences as well as non-ad supported streaming viewers. Employing streaming TV and connected TV to round out media plans is an effective strategy to reach and persuade consumers.


Hadassa Gerber is the chief research officer at TVB.


The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.