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Vantage Points: TV’s Fragmentation Empowers Local Advertisers

by | Jun 14, 2016 | BIA, Blog, Broadcast, Vantage Point

This is the latest in BIA/Kelsey’s Vantage Points series. On a semi-weekly basis, it will tap the perspectives of various lookout points from around the local media and tech sectors. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect that of BIA/Kelsey. Please contact mbolandATbiakelsey if you have insights to share. 

TV’s Digital Fragmentation: A Boon for Local Advertisers

By Justin Fromm


Streaming TV content has evolved from a way for TV viewers to catch up on their favorite shows to a primary viewing option. In fact, for many younger viewers, streaming has become the preferred way to watch TV. This massive shift in behavior has resulted in audience fragmentation and continuing erosion in the supply of available impressions for traditional TV advertisers. To local advertisers, who have always been constrained in the amount of available TV inventory, this might seem like a significant blow. But rather than see this shift as a constraint, local TV advertisers should take advantage of the many benefits that digital video has to offer.

Streaming TV – programs offered digitally via the internet to consumers’ PCs, mobile devices, or internet-connected TVs and accessories – offers local advertisers the same sight, sound, and motion that makes traditional TV advertising so effective but with additional advantages. In linear TV, local advertisers are confined to “local breaks.” Dynamic ad serving in streaming TV eliminates the local break and puts local ads on an equal footing with national ads. In digital video, local advertisers can have their ads appear throughout an episode, including in coveted A-position slots. If publishers offer competitive separation, those rules apply equally to local advertisers as well. And, as viewers shift their viewing away from linear, streaming TV can help local advertisers reach the lightest TV viewers, helping to deliver more balanced frequency across the target audience.

The advantages that result from dynamic ad serving are likely not the first that many advertisers think of with digital video. The focus is very often on the same benefits that make digital display advertising so effective. Like digital display, digital video offers one-to-one marketing for tailored messages and behavioral targeting. Digital video also offers geographic targeting, oftentimes more focused than local TV stations can offer because subscribers generally have to input their zip code for credit card validation. Perhaps most importantly, digital video offers accountability at the impression level. Local advertisers don’t have to negotiate the viewing metric (Live, Live+SD, Live+3 or Live+7) and they get full reporting of when ads are served which can be verified by objective third parties.

Streaming TV is the great democratizer of TV advertising. While national advertisers, historically heavy spenders in primetime TV, were the first to shift dollars to streaming TV, local advertisers should follow their lead and build TV plans starting with Streaming TV. Beyond being a way to build cross-platform frequency and reach lighter linear viewers, streaming TV is an egalitarian platform, treating all advertisers the same.


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKJAAAAJGQwNzAwMTA3LWI4MjItNDg5ZS04OTI4LWIxNGJmYWYyNjRkMgJustin Fromm is president & founder of JF Advisory, a strategic media consultancy that helps clients understand and navigate the media landscape. He previously led Hulu’s ad sales research group.