The State of Viewership

Rebecca Fine
Assoc. Director of Marketing Insights & Content
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How to navigate the tune-in landscape: Tips for entertainment advertisers

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Author
Rebecca Fine
Assoc. Director of Marketing Insights & Content
Jan 13, 2022
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With more and more advertisers shifting from a linear-first strategy to digital and Connected TV (CTV), it’s clear that the rules of campaign planning have changed. For entertainment TV advertisers that rely on people maintaining a certain level of TV consumption, this new landscape can be particularly complicated to navigate.

In order to plan the most effective tune-in campaign, it’s essential to look at the data. Using Samba TV’s first-party dataset, we dug into recent trends in entertainment TV advertising to help you make sense of all the shifts, peaks, twists, and turns.

Read on for some key insights, and download our full Entertainment Advertiser Playbook for a closer look.

Broadcast networks ad share dominance is shrinking.

NBC beat out CBS for the number one spot in Q3 2021, though both networks drove lower impression counts this year than in Q3 2019. By comparison, many cable networks served an increased number of impressions this year versus pre-pandemic, including HGTV, TLC, Discovery, and MTV.

PRO TIP: Put those TV dollars where they count. Consider increasing weight on cable networks that provide contextual relevance to the programming you’re advertising. 

Higher TV impressions don’t necessarily mean higher household reach for entertainment advertisers.

Linear TV advertising impressions have fluctuated over the past two years, but reach has remained relatively consistent. In fact, 97% of linear impressions in Q4 2021 only reached little more than 55% of audiences. This further highlights that when entertainment TV advertisers serve a higher volume of linear TV advertising impressions, this leads to higher frequency as opposed to additive reach – and this higher frequency could result in ad fatigue.

At the same time, one ad exposure doesn’t always cut it in the world of tune-in. Instead of risking oversaturation on TV, build frequency through digital retargeting. Data shows that increased ad exposures often yield higher tune-in rates, so find ways to reach people across their devices. 

For streaming advertisers, in particular, it can be very impactful to reach audiences across digital, TV, and CTV. This type of cross-exposure may be more likely to drive tune-ins. 

For example, a recent streaming study Samba TV conducted for an over-the-top (OTT) series that premiered in Summer 2021 found that households exposed to both TV as well as  digital and CTV ads drove a lift of 747% in tune-in rate compared to unexposed audiences. This was over double the lift that households exposed only to digital or TV alone saw. 

PRO TIP: With linear ad reach remaining steady for entertainment TV advertisers, finding fresh audiences in digital is the solution. In order to reach new people, think about video holistically, and integrate CTV and digital video into buying strategies.

Entertainment TV ads reach a similar demographic to the U.S. Census.

The population reached by entertainment ads on linear is largely aligned with the U.S. Census. This is a good thing for campaign planners looking to reach a broad audience, but less ideal for those interested in targeting specific groups. For one, while the entertainment industry as a whole reached an audience in line with the Census, the top entertainment advertisers over-index among age brackets 55 and up, along with white viewers. 

PRO TIP: Don’t fall into the trap of increasing linear TV advertising impressions to broaden diverse reach — be smart and use advanced targeting tactics to hit audiences that may have shifted away from linear. Rely on linear TV to reach a broad population, but complement your TV advertising with additional digital targeting for optimized effectiveness.

Light TV viewers are 16% less likely than the average U.S. household to see entertainment ads on linear. 

Even though Light TV-viewing households have largely shifted away from linear, they’re still watching TV in other forms. This makes it important to find ways outside of linear to reach them with ads.

Light TV viewers – often the households watching content via streaming platforms – are also more likely to be Hispanic (+8% over-index) or Asian (+21% over-index), as well as on the younger side (A25-34 over-indexed by 5%). For advertisers in the streaming space, it’s clear that linear ads (which, as we noted above, are more likely to reach older, white audiences) are not hitting a key target audience.

PRO TIP: Reach cord-cutting Light TV viewers where they are tuning in. CTV advertising is particularly important for this group, since that’s where they’re watching their shows. 

Ready to dig in further? Download our Entertainment Advertiser Playbook.

*Light, medium, and heavy TV viewers are classified by consumption duration as follows: Heavy TV viewers are the top 20%, medium TV viewers are the middle 35%, and light TV viewers fall in the bottom 45%.

Why Samba TV?

Our mission is to create data at the heart of TV, powering a more scientific approach to advertising and a better viewing experience for everyone.

Real-Time Disruption in Real-World Viewership

Audiences are enjoying more television content today. As viewership rapidly shifts across a growing set of innovative platforms, formats and devices, we provide real-time insights to help drive business decisions.

For the Love of Television

Samba TV enables marketers to build engaged audiences, and empowers viewers to spend more time with programming and brands they love. We believe data should be independent, not monopolised by walled gardens that measure their own media.

We Turn Noise into Knowledge

We utilize our AI/ML driven tech stack and comprehensive, accurate first-party data that is gathered from 24 leading CTV brands globally, to power real-time decision making and optimise audiences' consumer journey across an expanding slate of platforms.

Why Samba TV?

Our mission is to create data at the heart of TV, powering a more scientific approach to advertising and a better viewing experience for everyone.

Real-Time Disruption in Real-World Viewership

Audiences are enjoying more television content today. As viewership rapidly shifts across a growing set of innovative platforms, formats and devices, we provide real-time insights to help drive business decisions.

For the Love of Television

Samba TV enables marketers to build engaged audiences, and empowers viewers to spend more time with programming and brands they love. We believe data should be independent, not monopolized by walled gardens that measure their own media.

We Turn Noise into Knowledge

We utilize our AI/ML driven tech stack and comprehensive, accurate first-party data that is gathered from 24 leading CTV brands globally, to power real-time decision making and optimize audiences' consumer journey across an expanding slate of platforms.

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