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The State of TV and Video: 4 Things to Know at Mid-Year

Phil Sandler
Phil Sandler  |  SVP, Marketing and Growth
Updated: Nov. 08, 2021
Published: Jun. 24, 2021

With 2021 already half over, it’s hard to believe how much we know now that we didn’t when the year began – about COVID, about our society, about our economy, about our leaders, and about ourselves. And the same holds true for the TV and video industry, which has experienced one change after another over the past six months, from the launch of new ad-supported platforms to crumbling cookies to mega-mergers.

But before we look ahead to where we’re collectively going, let’s take a beat to see where we are as Q2 comes to a close and summer heats up:

1. Consumption Is Steady We know innumerable habits have changed after a year-plus of pandemic living and working, but when it comes to television and video, consumption has actually remained steady and robust: the average time spent watching has been – and continues to be – over five hours per day. And even as some version of normal life resumes for most Americans, we don’t expect that behavior to decrease.

2. Streaming Is Here to Stay The conventional wisdom about CTV is right in at least one respect: consumers are indeed spending more of their time watching streaming services and programming at the expense of linear television, and the trendline is only growing. But despite years of hype and headlines, cord-cutting is not yet king – linear is still by far the main source of viewing, time spent and ad inventory.

Bar chart showing average time spent for adults 18+ per day on video across live TV, TV-connected devices, video on computer, smartphone and tablet.

3. Linear Still Provides the Greatest Scale Although more streaming services are launching ad-supported tiers (welcome to the party, HBO Max!), linear still provides more than eight times the impression volume of CTV, giving advertisers their greatest opportunity to scale on both live and time-shifted television. We’re talking a difference of trillions and trillions of impressions, according to Nielsen.

Estimated impressions delivered in 2020 on linear TV (8.52 trillion) and AVOD (1.04 trillion)

4. Video Games Add a Missing Link We’ve been hearing how blockbuster video games rival – if not surpass – the biggest Hollywood hits in terms of popularity (and gross revenue) for eons now. But more importantly, what’s now indisputable is that gaming must be part of the consideration set for any advertiser trying to reach the 18-34 male demographic, who aren’t tuning in to linear or even CTV. The average gamer spends seven hours per week doing nothing but playing, with a hardcore subset spending that much time per day. In-game advertising packaged with gamer rewards will be key to marketing to this coveted consumer.

Download our Cross-Channel TV Playbook for a detailed guide on how to unlock audiences on both linear and connected TV.

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This article was adapted from a presentation given at the Adweek Elevate “TV and Video Measurement” event on June 9, 2021.