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TV Tech
TV Tech
George Winslow

The 2024 Outlook for Streaming, CTV and Advertising

Image of remote and a wall of video.

In recent years, the shift towards streaming media and more specifically streaming advertising and CTV advertising have obviously been some of the biggest trends in the media industry.

For our series on major predictions and trends for 2024, TV Tech collected predictions from more than a dozen executives in the streaming and advertising space. Here are some of their thoughts, company by company.   

Roku: “The Tide Will Turn” as Marketers Move Linear Ad Dollars to Streaming

“In July, linear TV dropped below 50% of total TV usage for the first time, while streaming reached a record high, at 38.7% of all TV usage,” explained Julian Mintz, head of US Ad Sales, Roku. “Yet, as more consumers continue to cut the cord, many marketers still allocate large media budgets to linear TV. In 2024, we believe the tide will finally turn. We expect advertisers to move more aggressively into streaming as a key investment for targeting their desired audiences.”  

“As the streaming market continues to evolve and mature over the next 12 months, we’re excited to see how brands across a variety of verticals such as sports, beauty, automotive and more invest in innovative advertising capabilities that will capture mass attention,” he also predicted. “At Roku, we see this next pillar of TV streaming advertising starting at the same place half of American TV viewing homes start their streaming journey, right on our home screen, and continuing with high-reach experiences across the streamer’s journey that only we can offer, from Roku City, shoppable ads, and more.” 

EDO: “`Tv’ Will Be Defined By Its Quality — Not By How We Watch It.”

Kevin Krim, the CEO of EDO, offers up four big predictions for 2024. 

Prediction #1:  “Fifteen years ago, “What is TV?” was a straightforward question with a straightforward answer: If a piece of content appeared on your TV screen, it was “TV” — whether it was a TV program or a TV ad, and no matter how you saw it,” he said. “Simple. But over the past decade and a half, this answer has become far more complex, and the lines between “TV” and “digital video” far more blurred. Today, we can access a network’s programming through a range of linear subscriptions, streaming services, virtual MVPDs, TV everywhere apps, and/or browser-based websites — whenever you want, however you want it — across our TVs, laptops, tablets, and phones. Conversely, the TV itself is now used for all kinds of content beyond the traditional broadcast-and-cable bundle: YouTube videos, Twitch streams, streaming exclusives, FAST app content, TikTok clips, and so much more.

“2023 saw a major shift in how EDO’s clients planned and budgeted for `TV’, more often than not including YouTube in their TV budgets after years of including it in social video budgets,” he continued. “Furthermore, an increasing number of industry power players are now recognizing the expanded definition of “TV” by offering consumers the option to bundle streaming services, or to pair a linear cable and streaming service subscription at a discounted rate. In 2024, this trend will only accelerate, as advertisers, networks, agencies, and streaming platforms come to define “TV” as “high-quality video content” — regardless of where, when, and how we access it.”

Prediction #2: “A more complex, competitive, and costly TV landscape will make media agencies more important than ever,” he said. “For years, marketers have looked to the readily available insights, sophisticated automation, and precise targeting of digital as an opportunity to cut their media-buying agencies out of the equation and bring buying `in-house.’ But many have come to discover (or are about to) that it’s much easier said than done, particularly in the world of Convergent TV. As consumers migrate from a single cable bundle to a smorgasbord of rotating monthly streaming services, virtual mPVDs, and FAST apps, making the right media buy has become that much more complicated for advertisers. And we expect more ad-supported premium video streaming entrants this coming year (think a much enhanced Amazon Prime Video and a new Apple TV+ ad-supported tier). 

“In 2024, we believe advertisers will increasingly lean on the media agencies that eat, drink, sleep, and breathe our industry to make sense of a world that seems to get more complex with each passing day,” he continued. “With 2024 presenting a double whammy of Elections and Olympics, the cost of buying Convergent TV will increase, presenting brands with a greater risk of getting boxed out of the increasingly competitive scatter market. And in a time of tightening economics where corporate headcount is precious, brands (and their CFOs) will be well-served to have a team of experts they can scale up (and down) out of their marketing budgets.”

Prediction #3: “Programmatic TV Advertising takes a leap forward, and we finally start asking hard questions about the data,” he said. “Buying and selling TV advertising via programmatic ad platforms was one of the hottest topics of conversation at this year’s Upfronts, with Disney announcing that one out of every three of its advertisers now buys programmatically — up from one in four the year prior. Programmatic will continue its Convergent TV invasion in 2024, as advertisers chase the allure of combining the highly engaging, premium environment of TV with the precise targeting they use to buy programmatic banner ads. It remains to be seen how media owners will manage the risk of cratering revenue yields that occurred when programmatic grew in the digital media industry over a decade ago.

“Regardless, this programmatic trend will force all of us to finally confront a gaping hole in the fundamentals of the audience-targeting ecosystem: the accuracy of the data,” he continued. “According to a recent study from Truthset, nearly half the data used in digital audience targeting is flat-out wrong. And plenty of so-called “premium” programmatic TV ad buys wind up being trafficked on low-quality websites instead of the prestige TV app experience buyers expected. As media costs increase in an Election + Olympics year, these quality issues will get a bright, hot spotlight on them.

“The upshot? 2024 will be the year that advertisers really start investigating the data they invested in to make their programmatic TV buying strategies sing,” he said. “As the quality of programmatic audience data is questioned, advertisers will begin focusing on what works — evaluating campaigns based on the tangible outcomes their TV dollars are driving. This, in turn, will drive the DSPs and SSPs to confront another notable gap – most platforms only optimize for audience targets and cost minimization, while leaders like Google are optimizing for outcomes. Modern marketers will win by taking a more holistic view of performance, rather than simply assessing their ability to “reach” smaller and smaller audiences of dubious quality.”

Prediction #4: “Major league sports fully embrace streaming — not just on Thursday nights,” he said. “When Amazon first won the rights to Thursday Night Football, media pundits were split on whether it would be a success. Would the median NFL fan be tech-savvy enough to log into Prime Video to see the game? Would the stream be able to hold up for major-league sized audiences?

“We’re now 1.5 years into TNF on Prime Video, and it’s safe to say these questions have been put to rest,” he said. “The NFL is a great brand with a loyal audience, and its fans are going to figure out a way to watch the action live, as evidenced by strong viewership numbers on Prime Video. What’s more, these games have consistently delivered more engaged audiences for advertisers. Think about it — it’s harder to switch out your TV’s streaming app than flip channels, and streaming has taught us to pick something and stick with it. No wonder that Apple is working with MLB and MLS, and Netflix is dipping its toes into the live sports waters, as well.

“In 2024, we expect to see more major-league level sports showing up on an increasing number of (exclusive?) streaming services,” he said. “And we’ll be watching the NBA. The league’s TV rights deal ends after the 2024-25 season, and several streaming services are rumored to be courting the league. We wouldn’t be surprised to see key games in the NBA In-Season Tournament, a smash success in its first season, wind up exclusively on a streamer.”

Innovid: Attention Metrics Take Too Much Attention – Measure What Matters

“While conversations around attention metrics continue, whether or not a consumer has “paid attention” to an ad does not define campaign effectiveness – and in an environment that has seen significant investment, such metrics shouldn't be the main focus when measuring performance in CTV. In the new year, we can expect to see advertisers not only come to the realization that there are other ways to measure campaigns, but that there are better methods like interactive ads that actually give insight to outcomes without question. – Dan Mouradian, vice president, global client solutions, Innovid.

Not Your Father’s Ad Server: “Ad servers have evolved in amazing ways,” added Laura Foster, vice president of product marketing at Innovid. “The modern ad server is like an iPhone – users depend on their smartphone in the same way that advertisers depend on their data-driven ad servers. But in order for an ad server to survive in today’s competitive market, it must remain independent – making the best decisions on behalf of the customer while ensuring transparency and trust as a neutral third party. We’ve already seen the importance of independence, with Amazon planning to shutter its ad server at the end of next year. In 2024, ad servers will be seen as more than counting clicks and impressions: they are a critical pathway to transforming everyday advertising into direct value.”

The Path to Purchase on CTV is Accelerating: “Consumers have yet to fully embrace shopping via the TV – but this will change in the coming year or so,” explained Krista Panoff, senior vice president of global enterprise development. “As the worlds of retail and CTV continue to converge, advertisers who leverage shoppable ad formats will succeed in influencing consumer decisions and drive tangible outcomes for their businesses. For many advertisers, CTV’s role within the media mix has traditionally focused on awareness, but the technology is in place today to drive outcomes at scale.”

The MRC Will See Another Day (or two): “It's not untrue that the MRC takes longer to approve and the industry will evolve to address that,” Blair Robertson, CTO of InnovidXP, Innovid. “The solution in 2024 will be clear: the higher up the analytics stack you go, the less appropriate it is to have accreditation, because that would risk stifling innovation. MRC or any third party auditor should not get into the validation of higher level analytics, but the MRC must give a view on standardized, fundamental building blocks. In tandem with the long progress, the MRC is stringent, and that’s what gives the confidence for those basic building blocks that the data we have is correct. And then the industry will innovate on top of that.”

Adjust: Better Measurement Crucial for Streaming Success

Gijsbert Pols, director of connected tv and new channels at Adjust’s list of major trends for 2024 include:

Embracing sophisticated approaches to measurability will be crucial for standing out as a streaming service: “FAST channels that want to be taken seriously by advertisers need to stand out with measurability,” said Gijsbert Pols, director of connected tv and new channels at Adjust. “A move toward more advanced measurability will likely drive a standardization within the industry to ensure that metrics are comparable across different platforms and campaigns. Brands and companies will increasingly move beyond simplistic attribution models and adopt multi-touch/cross platform models to consider the full customer journey and understand how different interactions contribute to conversions and LTV.”  

The fusion of content and commerce will redefine the TV-watching experience: “Retail media will become a pivotal part of the future of advertising as consumers are able to make purchases directly off their TV screens,” he said. “Perhaps one of the most obvious examples, cooking programs could seamlessly integrate with grocery delivery apps, allowing viewers to purchase ingredients straight off their screen to their doorstep. The fusion of CTV and commerce creates an interactive platform where every click has real-world implications.”

CTV will become the household’s central digital hub: “In 2024 we’ll see CTV offering a transformative user experience that transcends traditional boundaries,” Pols explained. “Just as the smartphone revolutionized what can be done using a phone, the digitization of TV will do the same for television. In fact, CTV has the capability to transform the TV from a device for watching content to the central digital hub in every household. The convergence of stationary and social will not only elevate user engagement but also create more robust opportunities for advertisers to connect to consumers with many different interests,” he said. 

Advertiser Perceptions: Prioritize Content Discovery

“To reduce churn and drive audience engagement CTV/Streaming publishers will prioritize content discovery with ideas borrowed  from social media’s playbook,” explained Erin Firneno vice president business intelligence Advertiser Perceptions. “Expect a lot of experimentation as publishers determine best practices. They’ll test the effectiveness of  allowing consumers to select auto-play on their settings.  When a consumer opens their app, the show they’ve been binging will auto play, or a brand-new title will begin based on an algorithm’s recommendation.  Home screens will change, tapping into TikTok’s success in promoting streaming content discovery, publishers will add a new category “Trending on Social Media.”  Publishers will test chatbots that pop up when consumers have been scrolling through titles too long. After a few questions about their mood, who they’re watching with, preference for comfort/familiar fare or something new, streamers will  serve up a curated recommendation.  Advertisers will benefit from title sponsorship opportunities, deeper insights into consumer preferences, and more engaged viewers.”

More sports on Streaming Platforms: “With the NBA’s existing broadcast rights with Disney’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery set to expire after the 2024/25 season, the league will follow the NFL’s and MLB’s approach, announcing partnerships with both broadcast networks & a streaming service,” explained John Bishop vice president business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions. “ESPN will agree to a new deal, joined by Amazon Prime, as well as NBC in their return to the NBA after more than two decades. ESPN’s recent announcement of their online betting platform (ESPN Bet) along with the increasing cultural relevance of the NBA will motivate Disney to find the investment necessary to retain broadcast rights. Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football success will serve as a model in featuring NBA games on the streamer. NBCU’s significant investment in the Big Ten, including Saturday prime time games, along with the Premier League, NFL and Olympics show their continued commitment to live sports.”

Agora 2024 Predictions: Synchronized Viewing Experiences and a  Major Expansion of Sports Streaming

The growing importance of Ultra Low Latency (ULL) streaming in sports for the purposes of synchronization: “For a sports fan heavily invested in an exciting game, there is nothing more frustrating than hearing a celebration from a fellow fan watching next door, whose feed is more up-to-date than yours,” explains  Brad Altfest, managing director of media and entertainment at Agora, provider of real-time engagement solutions. “This ruinous experience often happens in high-density areas where streams are subject to higher latency, but it’s also detrimental in an age of high fan interactivity, where viewers cannot take full advantage of live features if their streams are behind. In 2024, streaming platforms will begin to double down on ultra low latency, ensuring all streams are fully synced for the ultimate fan experience.

Adding more user interactivity to the “lean back” visual experience: “In 2023, we learned that even for passive live event fans, there are opportunities to incorporate interactivity, especially via real-time technology,” Altfest said. “The NFL’s recent collaboration with Disney, Pixar, and ESPN presented an alternate Toy Story-themed broadcast of the Jaguars vs. Falcons game. Building on previous partnerships with Nickelodeon  featuring interactive visual overlays, this introduced an engaging element for younger viewers without disrupting the lean-back viewer experience. This was accomplished by placing chips in players' helmets relayed real-time positioning and movements, demonstrating an innovative way to entertain and retain fans. Imagine being able to watch games with specialized avatars on different screens, as viewers customize how they can watch events. That is the future we expect to see real-time technology unlock going forward.”

More platforms get onboard the sports streaming bandwagon: “In the past several years we’ve seen a shift in how sporting events are streamed, thanks to major players getting the rights to stream games from multiple leagues – Apple is the exclusive streaming service for the MLS and airs Friday night MLB games, Amazon Prime now airs Thursday Night Football games, and Youtube TV is the exclusive home of NFL Sunday Ticket,” he said. “The market is there for other players to join, and it will be interesting to see if any take the big leap. One league to watch in 2024 is the NBA – its current media rights deal with ESPN and TNT expires in 2025, opening the door for other streamers to own a greater share of the market.”

Connatix: New Regulations for AI

Connatix, CRO and president, Jenn Chen said that her important trends for 2024 include new regulations for the AI market: “Biden’s executive order to guide responsible AI development comes as no surprise; in fact, last year, we predicted that the rise of generative AI would create a need for clearer regulations (and risk management tools) around content ownership and privacy,” she said. “In 2024, this conversation will continue to dominate, and we will see new privacy regulations, initiatives, and consortiums emerge as companies seek practical ways to standardize and enforce Biden’s EO. Increased adoption of AI tools by companies will see on-premise/private models allowing companies to leverage their own data, without data leakage or privacy concerns. Publishers will need to embrace and ramp up the adoption of AI tools for content generation and enhancement. As advertisers and publishers future-proof their targeting solutions for whatever privacy changes come next, there will be new advances, and increased investment, in sophisticated AI and ML technologies. Co-existing and adopting technology that understands the content and context of a page or video and then serves relevant ads to consumers without relying on personal data is where both consumers and publishers are heading.

Cookie Deprecation Timeline: “With Google's cookie deprecation deadline looming, now is the time for the industry to test, refine and diversify their strategies,” she said. “2024 will bring a greater focus for both publishers and advertisers on combining privacy-first solutions to future-proof strategies. We'll see a greater focus on contextual, and increased efforts on leveraging universal identifiers, both probabilistic and deterministic, which will be helpful for effective monetization after a tough year economically in 2023. There will be a race to interoperability, and we hope this brings the industry together vs. further fragmenting it.

CTV in the Privacy Conversation: “CTV continues to become a more important piece of marketer’s cross-channel strategies,” she added. “We’ve seen advertisers increase their request for contextual and data on a show level programmatically and in '24 we believe more content providers will do so; even if it’s with strict spend commitments. Publishers and content creators will set more precedence here based on how they leverage contextual and tech to help classify, qualify, and merchandise.”

Dstillery: A Good Year If The Measurement Problem Is Solved

Mark Jung, vice president of product at Dstillery believes that 2024 will be a good year for CTV if advertisers and agencies approach it through the programmatic side and solve the ‘measurement problem’. 

“Momentum is starting on the programmatic side with more DSPs like The Trade Desk and others going all in on CTV; with programmatic-like hands-on keyboard capabilities power, advertisers will be able to leverage their programmatic experience and planning to get the most of their CTV buys — especially as the targeting landscape changes post-cookie and more budgets start flowing into CTV,” he said. 

Other important trends include: 

The TV measurement problem: “One of the wonderful parts of programmatic is the speed at which we are able to understand and solve problems,” he said. “While CTV may not have a clean KPI, such as CTR, folding CTV into programmatic buying platforms and leveraging clean room data matching will allow a much better understanding of the impacts of CTV advertising vs standard linear.

Linear loses to programmatic: Agencies and brands are trying to get as much of their video/linear budget into programmatic CTV and an interesting dynamic at play as linear tries to fight back the explosive growth in CTV targeting and measurement technology will change the landscape,” he explained. 

Hard to watch without logging in: “One of the biggest challenges in CTV right now is having a third-party cookie-like identifier that works across all players in the space,” he said. “The industry is moving more to the idea of authentication-based IDs as a replacement for third-party cookies, which will play well into CTV due to the general nature of logging into most devices and efforts by content gateways to crack down on sharing accounts.”

What makes something premium in CTV? “The programmatic goal of finding the right person at the right time will shake up platform preference,” he concluded. “When advertisers are not paying for it in the CTV space like Linear TV, what adds value in one channel vs. another when it’s the same person watching the same movie or show?”

As the end of 2023 approaches, I wanted to offer some predictions from Digital Remedy (performance marketing company). Their CEO and CRO, talks about everything from pushing more dollars to capture the Gen Z market and heightened scrutiny of streaming TV to the streaming vs. linear debate.

Digital Remedy: Brands Need a New Playbook for GenZ 

Predictions from executives at Digital Remedy include: 

Digital takes center stage in TV advertising – as linear becomes a role player: “While advertisers will continue to invest in linear TV, the expectations of the medium and what its role and purpose are in the broader ad ecosystem will largely evolve,” said Mike Seiman, CEO and founder, Digital Remedy. “That’s because increasingly Digital TV is no longer ancillary for brands or consumers. The medium inherently provides advertisers better ways to hold spend accountable to ROI in ways that linear simply can’t, which will impact spending allocations in a much bigger way in 2024.”

Streaming TV will gain more scrutiny: “As streaming competition rises, and CTV budgets surge, the quality of streaming ad inventory will come under the microscope,” he said. “Clearly, not all CTV inventory is equal when it comes to content quality, audience, engagement and attention. Thus, brands are going to start to insist on more transparency in inventory, and a push toward pricing that is reflective of quality. As a result, long-tail inventory and online video, while still playing an important role for brands, will be viewed as ‘less premium’ compared to top flight CTV. “

Brands start to reckon with Gen Z’s very different attitudes and behaviors - and will finally throw out the old playbooks: “Advertisers are finally going to come to grip with the fact that traditional media planning approaches no longer make sense when targeting younger audiences – particularly those that have grown up with streaming, YouTube and TikTok – and these brands are going to seek new and more effective ways to reach these consumers,” said Jeremy Haft, CRO, Digital Remedy. “Gen Z’s demographics and content consumption habits are markedly different, and thus brands will need to rapidly adjust and optimize their own strategies. That will require pushing more dollars into a broader array of platforms, including Performance CTV and influencer channels.

IRIS.TV: AI and Video-Level Data Better Address Brand Safety

Field Garthwaite, CEO and co-founder of IRIS.TV offers predictions about leveraging video-level data, AI-driven targeting, contextual alignment to enhance campaign performance, and other issues. They include: 

Right Mindset + Right Creative = Better Campaign Performance: “Video-level data enables brands to better identify consumers, ensure they’re reaching the right audiences and better place ads within the context of the content they’re engaging with,” he said. “Research shows that consumers pay 4X more attention to ads that are relevant to the content they are watching. AI and machine learning offer promising avenues for ad creative development and targeted messaging. However, the challenge lies in ensuring ads align with audience mindsets. As the advertising landscape evolves, reaching consumers in the right mindset becomes as critical as crafting quality creative. Misalignments can result in negative brand perceptions, impacting political campaigns as well. In fact, according to the AVCA, more than half of consumers were less interested in the brand and products found in contextually misaligned ads. For brands that are looking to better increase campaign performance in 2024, it's crucial to not only leverage video-level data but emotional and AI-driven data to deliver the right ad, in the right context and right mindset of the consumer.”

Trust and Transparency Reign Supreme in Political Advertising: “Trust is paramount in this election season, especially amidst the proliferation of misinformation on social media platforms,” he said. “Streaming TV presents a critical medium for persuading undecided voters, reaching them with targeted messages while they engage with relevant content. Investing in content alignment is crucial. Specifically, video-level contextual targeting to reach viewers during discussions on specific topics like business, jobs, taxes, local news, finance, and weather can significantly impact undecided voters. The mastery of CTV's capabilities by political parties to reach households with precision and within the right context could define the outcome of this election. Perhaps most importantly, brands need to reconsider their use of blocklists. It is possible to only target brand safe news which is proven to be an effective medium for engaging audiences.” 

Blocklisting is Old and Dusted; AI and Video-Level Data Better Address Brand Safety: “No brand wants their ad placed next to inappropriate or unsuitable content leaving a poor brand association with consumers,” he explained. “However, brands that continue to leverage blocklisting solutions to address brand safety are doing more harm than good. Blocklisting is outdated and causes brands to avoid inventory that is high quality, more efficient and at a lower price. Brands have been leveraging genre and channel level blocklists, thinking they’re leveraging safer inventory, to then have their ads run in TVMA comedies and horror movies. Video-level data is going to be critical for brands transitioning budgets from cable/linear into FAST and streaming. This applies to both targeting and measurement. New breakthroughs in the availability of computer vision AI data from companies like IAS make it possible to monitor FAST inventory that was previously opaque. Leveraging new technologies like the IRIS_ID to access video-level data is now the most reliable, scalable, and cheapest way to address brand safety.”

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