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TV vs. Video Advertising—Who’s Ahead?

For the past few years, many advertising observers have suggested that TV ad spending was on the decline. Advertising companies like Facebook and Google were moving aggressively to capture more TV ad dollars, and many analysts predicted digital ad spending would soon pass TV ad spending. This hasn’t exactly come to pass. Variety reported in June 2016 that TV networks had their best upfront season in years, thanks largely to strong advertiser demand. Why has TV managed to retain this impressive hold with advertisers despite the growing appeal of video? As it turns it out, these two supposed competitors are actually great complements to one another. The combination leads to more overall investment and creativity across the industry.

Perhaps the biggest reason TV and video work so well together is the increasing interplay of the creative between the two formats. More advertisers are coming around to the possibility of using TV creative in video placements and vice versa. Online publishers have come around too. While many digital platforms once required advertisers to focus on special online-only video formats, more and more publishers now welcome :30 and :15 ad formats. This increases the opportunity for brands to use the spots they create for television  and more easily scale their digital campaigns. Some studies even suggest that using the two formats together increases a campaign’s overall reach, frequency and recall.

While there was once a clear distinction between TV watching and video viewing  on a computer, that line is disappearing. The growing popularity of “smart” and connected TVs and new TV apps that let consumers watch their favorite shows across multiple devices are blurring the lines. This mentality is also working its way into the advertising world as brands follow consumers’ attention wherever it may lead.

The increasingly blurred line between TV and video creative is also changing how agencies buy media. While  the disciplines for digital and TV were traditionally handled by separate agencies, many are increasingly merging their planning activities. According to a recent survey of media buyers and sellers by Forrester Consulting, 71% expected linear TV and video planning to merge in the near future. This is to say nothing of the growing embrace of programmatic buying, which is reframing how advertisers buy media so they can focus more on audiences and less on specific devices, formats or publisher placements.

As many brands are beginning to see, there is less need to think about TV spending and video spending as a “winner take all” game. More scalability, new types of viewing experiences, and more creative flexibility mean that TV and video are on track to enjoy a long and successful future together.