Media agency brand executives and sales leaders who gathered to share the initiative they are using to navigate through the pandemic at Ad Age’s digital conference, “TV Pivot: The Way Forward” last week also covered the efficiency OTT has demonstrated throughout the outbreak. The speakers included representatives from giants like ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, A+E Networks, Discovery, and several others.
Despite production and budgeting delays and cancellations, and the fact that the pandemic rolled around during the time TV networks were preparing to host their upfront presentations, the speakers agreed that the outbreak has provided an opportunity for networks to engage with OTT since viewership has accelerated. ViacomCBS Ad Sales Chief, Jo-Ann Ross believes “OTT is in the future,” and that despite the uncertainty of how many years it will take to replace linear TV programming, the transition will eventually occur. The representative highlighted some of the company’s positive experiences with OTT, including a “great” streaming record, OTT products, the success of CBS all-access, and more. “We are all learning so much more about consumer behavior and where it is going and how people are reacting and it's not a one size fits all. It differs by parts of the country, it differs by category,” Ross said during the conference.
Pluto will form part of the upfront conversation as a free platform for Consumers. According to Ross, while some shows like “Awesomeness” will play a big role in OTT, others won’t, and the company’s main priority is to find a reliable way to detect an audience. She admits that the combining of the two companies gives ViacomCBS an advantage in terms of brand partners and clients. CBS still has a Nielsen demo, which is designed to offer both, targeting and broad audience based demographics. The usage of the program will continue to be in conversations as deals are discussed with youtube and other platforms.
According to Alison Levin, VP of Ad Sales and Strategy at Roku, OTT has helped companies notice the trend of consumers watching ad-supported streaming to avoid extra costs, making it the fastest-growing segment of viewership on the platform. Levin stated that with streaming serving as up to 80% of “big brands of focus,” OTT also assists marketers with findings the right consumer at an appropriate time, and successfully analyzing measurements. OTT is used for precision and shouldn’t be used like linear TV, to successfully see every impression that runs through the platforms. “This is the future of how TV will be viewed," Levin said. "There’s no better time to reassess and plan for the future of TV."
During the conference, Brad Feinberg, VP of Media and Consumer Engagement for North America, Molson Coors Beverage Company, said that few brands have launches that are still on track. He noted that numerous marketers have revamped their media strategies as a result of OTT, and a shift to e-commerce is currently taking place. Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and PR Officer, Ally Financial says the e-commerce will “persist now that people have experimented online” during the pandemic, and behaviors will be reinvented.
Feinberg mentioned that OTT made major investments in some of the most popular platforms that were recently launched, including NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Feinberg highlighted the importance of the relevancy of social media and the increasing time they are spending on social media. There are constant conversations to depict how sports deal sponsorships are going. It is predicted that broadcast networks are investing in ott platforms since many advertisers continue to ask for scheduling and budget flexibilities. Matt VanDyke, Director, U.S. Marketing, Ford Motor Company believes video platforms should continue to focus equally on both, ott and linear to see a scatter market in the future, and make way for better business planning, data, and measurements for the following upfronts.
This is the future of how TV will be viewed. There’s no better time to reassess and plan for the future of TV.” Alison Levin VP of Ad Sales and Strategy, Roku