Advanced TV Advertising is About Destinations Not Definitions

Patrick Hanavan  | 

Confused about the difference between OTT, CTV and Smart TV? Or TV everywhere and advanced TV? You’re not alone. In fact, if you ask three industry experts for help in distinguishing between these terms, you’ll likely get three different answers. We can’t untangle the linguistic challenges associated with the evolution of the video/TV ecosystem, but Extreme Reach can simplify and streamline the delivery of creative ad assets across it. And for ad buyers trying to capitalize on the significant OTT/CTV/advanced TV opportunity, expertise at getting ads to their destinations on time, in the right format, and with Talent & Rights in place, likely ranks higher than splitting hairs over definitions any day.

Charting New Territories Is Hard
For brands, the opportunity is a big one. As we’ve covered on this blog, consumer adoption of OTT/CTV, and all its many iterations, is exploding as viewers gravitate to new platforms and devices in order to watch video content on their terms and at their convenience. MediaPost estimates that taken together, three out of four of today’s consumers have either an OTT or CTV device. Advertiser uptake, however, has not kept pace. There are plenty of reasons for marketers’ hesitance—lack of scale among platforms, fragmentation of ad inventory or the absence of standardization in measurement practices are a few cited by eMarketer. But the biggest impediment may be the simplest—advertisers simply aren’t clear on the terminology. And that translates into a hesitance to transact on OTT/CTV inventory.

You like Potato, I like Potahto…
Even the experts are having a hard time getting a clear read on the space. OTT/CTV has been in the Digiday WTF glossary for more than 3 years. The IAB, in its most recent report on the state of video advertising, devoted 20 pages to defining the terms and acronyms that fall under advanced TV. In its CTV study released in August, eMarketer noted how the industry uses the terms interchangeably and confusingly. It describes OTT as video that’s delivered independently of a traditional pay TV service, irrespective of the device it’s ultimately played on. If that video plays on a TV screen, then its CTV. But IAB and Nielsen see the OTT streaming video experience as being within the confines of a TV screen, enabled through various technologies from streaming sticks and boxes (Apple TV / Roku / Chromecast), to video game consoles and Smart / Connected TVs.

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Done
It’s tough to parse through the semantics. But advertisers really don’t have to. Definitions are slippery, but destinations are not. In a creative everywhere world, it’s getting the asset where it needs to go that matters most and that’s where ER comes in. We know that how you define OTT/CTV/SVOD and all the other three- and four-letter words for advanced TV depends upon who you are (agency, media buyer, brand) and that where you want the creative to go will influence how you define it. At ER we’ve spent 10 years paving every “road” to linear and digital destinations alike to ensure your creative plays perfectly on every screen. If you have questions about advertising on OTT, please get in touch. Our experts are at ready to get your ads everywhere they need to go.

Patrick Hanavan

Patrick Hanavan

Chief Client Officer, Co-Founder
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Patrick Hanavan
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