The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

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Future of TV Addressable TV AVOD

Why the streaming wars are heating up on accessibility, addressability and affordability


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

April 7, 2022 | 4 min read

The streaming wars are heating up. Netflix’s dominance looks to be fading and everything from OTT apps to national broadcasters are playing for keeps. The Drum has identified accessibility, addressability and affordability as three vital battlegrounds that must be won by the eventual sector winners. Experts discuss at the Digital Transformation Festival.

Streaming Wars

The streaming wars intensify on accessibility, addressability and affordability

During the panel (watch here) Sean Cotton, president of digital ad agency Coegi, tackles addressability. Are the streamers as good at knowing us as we think they are? Cotton believes curation is key and thinks the market leaders could learn from the TikTok algorithm.“Viewers develop new interests and discover new types of content that they ordinarily wouldn’t have sought out,” when it’s applied correctly.

But broadcasters have also recognized that they should perhaps be keeping their best content – be it Disney pulling Marvel content off of Netflix or CBS keeping a tighter hold on its Star Trek properties.

Cotton says: “It’s a smart decision on behalf of the broadcasters to monetize their content, regardless of where people consume it, whether it’s linear or a streaming environment. And the people with the best content will continue to rise to the top.”

And that leads to the rise of AVOD. If there are more and more services, people are not going to be able to easily access or afford them all. Free ad-funded streaming could be the answer.

Safiya Pomell, head of business at Wilderness agency, points to broadcasters tapping into and “being able to break out all the content they’ve had over the years and put it forward to their audience in a way that feels new. Many of these are free [and] accessible, and they need to shout about that more.”

Sophie Pesenti, head of product at FX Digital, agrees that the broadcasters have been around so long, and all have a huge, largely-unseen archive. She believes they should “leverage that old-school vintage content” (just like UK broadcasters are doing in the UK with BritBox).

“Most new streaming organizations don’t have content.” She adds: “They should create an offering that either is free, or leans toward the ad life model where you pay, but it’s less impacting for the user.” This will allow the second- and third-tier streamers to build up momentum against the market leaders.

Pomell points to Wilderness research claiming that gen Z’s top four platforms didn’t include a linear TV catch-up service. Broadcasters need to make sure they are reaching out to those audiences and bringing them in. James Gibbons, Discovery+’s general manager, discussed it in the newly-launched podcast from The Drum, TV Talks.

Cotton leads on to the bundling of services, hinting that broadcasters must be hungrily looking at the likes of the youth-orientated CW channel as a solution to the youth problem – with it already satisfying that audience with a range of long-running dramas.

Pommel adds: “If you manage to create partnerships that are highly targeted, and highly personalized to the people you want to engage with, then suddenly you become appealing.”

She expects the continued integration of TV and streaming services into social media platforms. “That’s where the conversation is happening, and we’ve seen it amplify many different TV shows this year.”

Meanwhile, Pesenti predicts that paid subscription streaming is suffering from “fatigue” and will “die out” from its current prominence in favor of ad-lite and free ad-funded models.

“Viewers might just be willing to see a few ads every now and then. Especially if the ads are relevant to them, less intrusive and less disruptive.”

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Future of TV Addressable TV AVOD

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