CTV: Time to unleash the potential

By Lily Bauld and Georgia Izon

What does David Bowie have to do with the TV Landscape?

The Starman was the master of reinvention – across generations, music and fashion – a constantly evolving cultural icon.

Like Bowie, TV has had many faces over the years, from the launch of commercial stations – ITV in 1955, Channel 4 in 1982 and Channel 5 in 1990 – to Sky’s UK launch on paid TV in 1990.  Since the rise of the Smart phone and internet enabled AV devices the evolution continues to this day with Connected TV.

JAA has a track record of industry leading expertise in broadcast media and we are constantly looking to unleash the potential of AV platforms for our clients to reach mass and diverse audiences.

What exactly is CTV?

The C stands for connected. Specifically connected to the internet. Enabling video content to be delivered to the screen. CTV.

It can be accessed from all sorts of devices:

  • Smart TVs with an active internet connection
  • Streaming Media Devices such as dongles and set-top boxes – think Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast etc
  • Games Consoles with a media streaming functionality e.g. PS5, XBox
  • Pay TV Set-Top-Boxes that provide access to apps and video players e.g. Sky

So CTV is literally the device, so what does that mean for us media planners?

Well, for us we leave linear and BVOD (Broadcaster VOD) such as ITVx, Channel 4 Streaming, Sky Go at the door of the CTV realm. Essentially – anything else that can be delivered as premium TV content on a connected device.

Here at JAA we break CTV into three categories that we, as advertisers, can access:

  • AVOD – Advertiser Supported Video on Demand
  • FAST – Free Ad Supported Streaming TV
  • DEVICES – Connected TVs or Devices

Who is watching CTV?

We as viewers don’t consider CTV a conscious choice, nor do we discriminate as to where we consume our content. We simply are just looking for something to watch on the big screen. With the vast choice and diversity that CTV offers today, viewers can choose through an array of devices or apps.

We know that 70% of UK audiences take a hybrid approach to their TV watching – less than 1 in 5 of us only watch linear TV*. As we know when it comes to live events (sport, major news events etc) linear is still very much king. However, there are significant demographic differences in viewing habits.

  • Gen X are watching most TV, with a slight skew towards CTV watching​
  • Boomers are next in line in terms of TV watching, but skew heavily towards traditional TV​
  • Younger generations watch significantly less TV, and that watching skews more to CTV the younger the audience gets​

Interestingly, there are also marked differences in the first place people go to when they turn their device on without a particular appointment to view. Over 45s are more likely to head to linear TV whereas younger audiences are likely to pick an SVOD service, not exactly surprising but important.  Especially when we consider the status of the SVOD market.

Post pandemic it appears we have seen the peak in subscription services however, by Q3 2023, this began to plateau due to market maturity, the cost of living crisis and the increase in toggle behaviour. (This is where audiences subscribe to short term contracts to watch a particular programme or series and then cancel.) In the UK we are also subject to Ofcom’s regulations on the amount of advertising possible.

*Source: Magnite: CTV is for Everyone, Unlocking TV’s New diverse audience 2021/22, EMEA Report  

How to advertise on CTV?

Magnite’s research tells us that 81% of CTV viewers watch ad-supported content (AVOD) and that 40% of CTV viewing time is watching AVOD. So the opportunities are growing. The CTV advertising market has been a long time coming but we now have a credible landscape within which to advertise.

There are three core ways to reach viewers on CTV:

  • The biggest SVOD players in the market have all recently launched their ad tiers – Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime. In fact, Amazon is in prime position to monopolise the space thanks to Prime video, Fire TV and Freevee products overlayed with immense consumer first party data.
  • FAST – While this area of CTV is a smaller part of the market, research from Kantar shows that 16% of UK households are regular watchers of these emerging platforms, while Statista estimated that there were 16.8m FAST users in the UK in 2023.
  • DEVICES – LG & Samsung’s sponsored formats deliver in a high impact environment and allow us to reach audiences who may only use ad-free services, such as high-income households​.

Why advertise using CTV?

  • CTV allows for greater addressability
  • We can target viewers in multiple, in-depth ways
  • Creative differentiation from linear TV – integration of QR codes or 3D imagery
  • CTV measurement is evolving at pace

In a nutshell advertising on CTV combines the big screen experience of TV with the targeting, wider creative options and trading associated with digital.

This is just the beginning

Whilst CTV is not a new concept, here at JAA we have been testing, trialling and exploring the plethora of partners, digging into the research and frankly waiting for the product offering to mature enough to bring to market.  It’s been an 18 month journey behind the scenes to ensure we are ready to make the most of CTV for our clients.

One thing we would say is that this is a fast-paced world, that is constantly evolving. Client may hear a lot of bias narratives, hyperbole and hearsay. We are here to help navigate that.

Meet the CTV Team

Our CTV Team here at JAA is made up of experts from the world of AV and digital as this is where these two worlds collide. The team includes Our Chief Digital Officer, Nick Smith and Head of Digital Operations and Innovation, Georgia Izon alongside Sarah Jennings, AV Director, Dan Denman, Head of AV and Lily Bauld, AV Account Director.

Their key takeaways for you are:

  • CTV is a complex landscape, but we’re here to help
  • Hybrid viewing is the new normal – due to this, CTV is a huge growth area for media ​
  • The ad-supported space is still nascent and is continually evolving​
  • CTV delivers greater addressability than a linear approach, allowing access to niche audiences 
  • If you want to find out more, get in touch!