Video Essentials

Digital TV and Traditional TV Viewers: Plan a Marketing Campaign


Who is the digital TV viewer and who prefers traditional pay TV viewing? At an Adobe Summit session called “Over-the-Top Media and the Evolution of Television,” Phillip Cowlishaw, head of the Adobe Ad Cloud unit in Australia and New Zealand, provided some data.

digital TV

Phillip Cowlishaw

When Adobe asked traditional TV viewers why they watched TV the way they do, here’s what it heard:

  • 66%: it’s easy
  • 17%: they prefer only paying for content they want
  • 14%: they like watching what they want when they want
  • 3%: they enjoy the content

And when it asked digital TV viewers why they watched TV they way they do, it heard this:

  • 41%: they prefer watching what they want when they want
  • 26%: they prefer only paying for content they want
  • 18%: it’s easy
  • 15%: they enjoy the content

So traditional TV viewers prioritize ease, while digital TV viewers prioritize value.

Cowlishaw also explained how online viewers get their programming.

  • 84%: through connected TV devices (with Roku the clear leader)
  • 11%: through gaming consoles
  • 5%: through TV apps

There are vast demographic differences between the traditional and OTT viewers, Cowlishaw said. The traditional viewer has an average age of 54 and an average income of $51,000. The OTT viewer is 31-years-old on average with an average income of $62,000. Cowlishaw expects the OTT average age to drop even lower.

Online measurement can be a challenge for advertisers who have only used TV buys before, so Cowlishaw showed what can be measured with each type of distribution. Buyers often expect that OTT video should be able to measure the same areas as digital content, but that’s not the case.

  • Online TV (programming watched through a web browser or device) can measure clicks, engagement, completions, and location. This area offers high completion rates, since viewers watch content they select themselves and really want to see.
  • Set-top cable boxes (such as those from Comcast) can measure audience delivery, GRPs, dayparts, DMAs, and networks
  • OTT TV (programs watched through a connected TV device) can measure 1st and 3rd party data, surveys, online conversions, and offline conversions

Primetime is still primetime, Cowlishaw said, no matter how viewing is done. While linear TV viewing is down 24 percent since 2013, that’s offset by increases in OTT views.

“People still want to consume brilliant high-quality content,” Cowlishaw said. They’re just shifting how they do it.




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