MVPD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor)

What is MVPD?

Today, studies show that many viewers seek a balance between convenience and price when choosing what to watch in the dense world of video offerings. That’s where MVPDs, or Multichannel Video Programming Distributors, come in. MVPDs provide bundled offerings to give audiences access to multiple TV channels through a single service provider. Some of the first, and still most familiar, MVPD companies are Comcast and Spectrum.

Today, MVPDs have grown in the connected TV (CTV) world as well: ad supported streaming services such as Hulu TV ad YouTube TV aggregate content from hundreds or thousands of content providers, all accessible to viewers with a single login.

In exchange for access, MVPDs charge a regular, monthly subscription fee from the user. Often there are various levels of access, either providing more channels, premiere or early access, or an ad-free experience (an offering sometimes offered by CTV streaming platforms). Some linear MVPDs bundle the TV subscription service with phone and/or internet bills, as a full telecommunications service package.

Often, the audiences who subscribe to a linear TV MVPD overlap with the audiences who subscribe to a CTV MVPD. In one November 2021 Nielsen study, MoffettNathanson Research found that around 83.5 million U.S. TV homes have either a cable, satellite, or telco service, while the number goes up to 94 million -- 77% – when CTV is added to the mix.

One of the benefits of MVPDs in placing advertisements is their access to data.  MVPDs have access to data collection tools that give an in-depth picture of a user’s viewing habits across channels and networks, as all are accessed through a single login. This is invaluable TV audience data that can help advertisers inform their targeting strategy. This MVPD audience data, however, often comes at a price. A brand will want to use an ad-buying platform that partners with networks and MVPDs and has access to their data. Leveraging these working relationships will help to inform the brand’s strategy and pivot in a profitable way when bringing the campaign to scale.

The MVPD space offers a growing opportunity to reach audiences where they are watching. While Nielsen has been the industry standard for defining TV audience reach since TV advertising’s inception, new, digital, data-centric and customer-first TV ad buying platforms provide new and more granular insights into who is watching, and where.

Simulmedia offers a wealth of opportunities to enter into the MVPD space. TV+®, our cross-channel planning and buying platform allows your campaign to run on linear TV, CTV or both – finding your unduplicated audience wherever they’re watching or streaming. TV+ includes direct integrations with over 250 linear and CTV networks and publishers, as well as partnerships with data providers such as Foursquare, Experian and AppsFlyer, who gather first- and third-party data sets and can track behavior and show  attribution across purchasing platforms.

For MVPD TV audience targeting, we also partner with data providers like LiveRamp, who allow us to leverage third-party audience information and ingest first-party audiences, so lookalike audiences are easy to generate for when a campaign goes to scale. As your team learns more about the trends in who engages and converts to customers from your ads, these lookalike audiences are key to finding gaps in audience targets across these subscriber bases.