The Difference Between Linear TV, Addressable TV, OOT & CTV

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If you have sat in any media discussions recently you have heard all the latest media terms. Linear TV, Addressable TV, OTT and CTV. What do they mean? How can each work for your benefit? Should you take advantage of these technologies to increase the number and types of cases you are getting? What’s the best way to go about it? Before we get to the actual answer to those questions, let’s first explore the definition along with the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Linear TV

Linear Television is simply what we all know as simply TV. Any broadcast station or regular cable, satellite or internet subscription that is broadcast to a TV through an antenna or through a cable box is considered Linear TV. The same people watch the same ad in the same geographical area on the same program.  There is no targeting, simply just broadcast to the masses.

Addressable TV

Addressable TV is different than normal TV. Ads are targeted based on household-level data and segmentation to serve ads during TV programming. You used to see cereal ads in the morning while watching the morning news. With addressable TV, you and your neighbor could both be watching the morning news on the same channel.  However, your TV shows you an ad for moving companies, because you have been searching for new homes online. While your neighbor is served an ad for Minivans because based on both online and offline data, they know she recently had her third child and drives a four-door sedan. Yes. It is getting to be that specific.

With addressable TV, we target specific people rather than specific programming. A big challenge for marketers interested in addressable TV, however, is the lack of scale. These ads are currently only available to be served on limited networks and on a limited scale in limited markets through specific providers with the most up to date equipment. But it’s expanding fast and is the future. The closest thing to Addressable TV is OTT and CTV. These are often used to represent the same type of platform, but there are a few differences.

Over the Top

Over the Top or OTT relates to any targeted video played through streaming devices including Connected TVs, Smart TVs, computers, mobile devices, and gaming consoles. This includes any of the streaming apps and services that allow insertable advertising — Hulu, Crackle, Tubi, Sling, News Apps, and thousands of other streaming apps available to consumers. This would be more premium content than a standard programmatic video pre-roll campaign like YouTube or other digital video.

Davis Miles Referral

Connected TV

CTV or Connected TV does the exact same thing as OTT, however, is specific only to Connected TVs and does not include mobile devices, computers, or gaming consoles. Both OTT and CTV include household and device specific targeting capabilities.

CTV is arguably the most quality form of targeted video advertising for several reasons. CTV advertising also allows marketers the opportunity to weave in more data and better types of data and marketers can take advantage of large, full screens that provide 100% share of voice (SOV), brand-safe environments, and a proven medium for engaging audiences as a cohesive portion of a larger omni-channel campaign. These aspects are key drivers in the explosion of CTV advertising we are experiencing today.

The question now becomes, should you be using any or all of these video platforms to deliver your message.  The short answer is YES. Google said, “Video is King” and there is not a better and more impactful way to deliver your unique message to your audience than through a video message.  It reaches more senses and generates more impact and a longer lasting impression than any other form of advertising.  Which platform and how many of them you should use depends on your market, your audience, your product or service, and your budget.

Larry Wright Advertising

If you’d like a no-obligation advertising tune-up, give me a call and we can discuss how to best navigate the ever-changing media waters.

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