TV is About to Change Again — What Does That Mean for Broadway?

A Reflection on the TV of Tomorrow Conference

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I love traveling, so I was elated to fly to San Francisco, California to represent Situation at the TV of Tomorrow Conference.  In addition to speaking on a panel of fellow Ad Strategists, I participated in conversations about the future of television content strategy, ad buying, and consumption habits. The two-day event overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge was a fascinating look at trends in the connected and linear TV space…but I kept thinking, what does all of this mean for my Broadway clients?

As Broadway marketers, there are three questions we tend to hear from our clients when it comes to TV:

  1. Where can we find new audiences?
  2. How can we be more efficient with our ad dollars?
  3. How can we sharpen our tracking and attribution so we can see what is working and what isn’t working?

Fortunately for Broadway marketers, these three topics came up consistently in many of the conversations I had at TV of Tomorrow. Below are a few key learnings about these three hot-button issues and how we can leverage TV marketing to answer these questions.

TV Consumption Habits: Move Over CTV, FAST Is on the Rise

10 years ago the big shift looming was the meteoric rise of connected TV and streaming apps as a replacement for traditional cable.  That rise has reached its apex in both consumption and ad revenue and now a new shift is on the horizon.  FAST (free ad-supported television) channels, like Fox’s Tubi and Amazon’s Freevee, are becoming the new norm and could quickly replace the need for several different paid streaming channels (many of whom now offer free ad-supported plans anyway). This is especially true for younger generations who are ditching the paid TV model altogether in favor of multiple FAST Channels (many of which are pre-loaded onto smart TVs before you even purchase).  Instead of committing a large CTV buy to one provider, programmatic CTV will quickly become a major investment for most advertisers as they seek to reach a wider audience in a more targeted way – choosing an audience-first approach as opposed to a channel-first approach. To learn more about this, check out the piece I wrote “Developing a Long-term Relationships with the Latino Community about how FAST Channels have already made a significant impact on the American Latino population – which represents the 5th largest GDP in the world.

Cost and Spending: Choose Efficiency

Everyone knows that traditional linear buys are more costly than CTV buys. Yet many CTV and FAST channel providers still take up a larger chunk of most advertising budgets. How is that so?  The ability to focus on targeting who (based on actual digital demographic data) alongside when and where means a better use of larger ad dollars for connected TV.  Another large topic was the large resurgence brands being incorporated into the content rather than just traditional 15 or 30-second ads. With the growth of multiple new FAST channels, more cost-effective branded entertainment is becoming accessible and viable for smaller-budget advertisers who don’t have large holding company budgets to play with.  Instead of costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to have your product featured in programming, the growth of content on FAST channels has opened the door to more variety in programming (and thus lower costs) for integrated branded entertainment to a wider selection of advertisers.

Tracking and Attribution: Programmatic Is the Future

Everyone loves being able to tune into their specific broadcast TV program and know exactly what time, what position, and near what content their ad was aired.  However, the trackability and attribution of that broadcast buy is minimal. CTV still struggles with these figures, but the ability to at least know confirmed impressions (and in certain ad formats, visits to the site) is a clear preference for most advertisers. Using buy-side platforms like The Trade Desk (which we work with at Situation) allows advertisers to further add to the attribution, especially as we consider where CTV fits in the funnel.  We can see where the impression fell in the funnel of purchase to help us better predict when we should be buying any form of TV – by letting us understand when the TV impression happened vs when the conversion happened.

The landscape of TV (both linear and connected) is at a major precipice of change. And the future has never looked brighter, more connected, and more data-driven.

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