TV Media Planning Future of TV

Broadcasters finally prove that ad campaigns across linear and BVOD are more effective


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

November 16, 2022 | 6 min read

Amid all the talk of streaming taking linear TV’s share of audience and ad spend, new research has found that campaigns that use both in unison work better.


The research found that campaigns that use both linear TV and BVOD advertising are more effective than linear alone

A new study called ‘BVOD Almighty: Reach and Return’ from TV advertising group Thinkbox, with support from agencies Gain Theory, MediaCom, Wavemaker and Mindshare, applied mixed-mode research to learn how advertising in live TV and broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) worked together.

Linear TV views have been in shallow decline for years now, with it becoming ever-harder and more expensive to reach younger audiences this way. On-demand libraries and broadcaster streaming efforts have been effective at recapturing these audiences, however. But advertisers have struggled to compare effectiveness and ROI across the mediums to date.

The research found that campaigns that use both linear TV and BVOD advertising are more effective than linear alone. That’s a line that will drive the linear hardcore into testing the more addressable medium. Easing these concerns, the study compared the reliability of each platform in delivering what was paid for. BVOD was found to be the least risky of all video channels, delivering 20% variance compared with the median return. This was closely followed by linear TV with a variability of 24%. Social media ranked last in this particular test.

As to its ability to reach young people in the UK, BVOD added a 4% increase in incremental adult (16+) reach to a linear TV campaign, a 6% increase for adult ABC1s and an 8% increase for 16-34s. It doesn’t solve TV’s youth exodus, but it does ease immediate concerns that the medium is losing its relevance. This audience is less likely to watch TV, but in the addressable medium, the chances of reaching them when they do were found to be one in three, compared with one in 13 on linear.

Several other factors were found to bump up effectiveness, via Acacia Avenue’s ethnographic and videographic part of the study:

  • If the value exchange falls short, viewers will move on or actively avoid the ads

  • Screen size was the main driver of a shared viewing experience – bigger screens (compared to mobile, for instance) attract bigger audiences, which increases reach

  • TV ads were less scrutinized for relevance, with audiences generally understanding many of the ads they see aren’t personalized to their interests. That’s not the case in BVOD anymore, but the broader acceptance remains

PwC also published five BVOD planning tactics to increase TV reach. These are:

  • Plan across all three TV sales houses. Light viewers are more likely to be found by spreading your plan across all sales points; using three sales houses delivers double the incremental reach of a single sales house

  • Plan in and around key programming, such as Love Island (ITV) or Gogglebox (C4), or high-profile box-set dramas such as The Midwich Cuckoos (Sky)

  • Campaigns delivered across six to 10 genres yield up to three times the incremental reach, as compared to those delivered across only one in five genres

  • BVOD peak time is a longer window than linear (20.00-00.30 compared with linear’s 20.00-23.00)

  • The BVOD element of TV campaigns should run for longer than 30 days to optimize total TV reach. Campaigns that run for 30-50 days deliver three times the incremental reach of campaigns that run for under 30 days

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Matt Hill, Thinkbox’s research and planning director, said that although “BVOD is the beating heart of the growing connected TV world ... there has been relatively little large-scale evidence for its effectiveness. This study fills that knowledge gap. It hopefully gives advertisers the proof of BVOD’s effectiveness that they need.”

Jane Christian, Mediacom’s head of systems intelligence, advised: “Attitude to risk has a bearing on optimal mix and potential short-term return – even more important in tougher economic conditions – and advertisers may be comforted by the predictability BVOD seems to achieve.”

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