The Continued Evolution of Video Consumption

Media consumption across all mediums has shifted dramatically over the last 10 years, but none quite like the shift in video consumption. How we consume video has changed, as well, so has the definition of what constitutes a video. 

As 360-media experts, we consider how people consume media regardless of digital or traditional.  We then delineate between Traditional TV (Broadcast and Cable) and Digital Video (Pre-roll and Social). From a consumer/consumption standpoint, it all blurs together. Today users can watch “TV”– or video – on any device, anytime they want, which presents unique buying challenges within such an innovative and quickly shifting media space. To clear the air a bit, here are a few terms and definitions that may help when working within and considering the video space:

SVOD (subscription video-on-demand): a service that gives users unlimited access to a wide range of programs for a monthly flat rate; examples include Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney +.

OTT (over-the-top): any app or website that provides streaming video content over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution; examples include HBO Now, YouTube, TLCgo.

Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (vMVPD): an OTT service that delivers content from multiple TV, cable or satellite channels in real time. Examples include Hulu Live, YouTubeTV.

Pay-TV: television programming delivered by cable, satellite, telecom or fiber operators, multiple system operators (MSOs), multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) or major TV broadcast and cable networks.

Addressable TV: Target ads delivered on a home-by-home basis via set-top boxes.

The world of video is as convoluted as ever. We continue to hear the narrative that TV viewing is down, and while that may be true, if we look at video as a holistic tactic does that narrative still stand true?  

From 2016 to 2019 “time spent with TV” – defined as live, DVR and other prerecorded video –decreased from 245.3 minutes per day to 209.8 minutes. That number increased in the first two quarters of 2020 due to Covid-19, but we do not expect that trend to continue; and e-Marketer projects that by 2022 the total time spent with TV will be down to 204.3 minutes per day.

However, “digital video consumption” – defined as video viewed via desktop/laptop, mobile, game consoles, connected TVs or OTT devices – significantly increased in the last few years.  From 2018 to 2020 viewership rose from 90 minutes per 120 day. So yes, TV viewing decreased over the years by 35 minutes, and digital video likewise increased – by 30 minutes. 

Overall, video viewing holistically has stayed fairly consistent, further proving that we need to think of video as a whole and not simply as TV vs. Digital. The actuality of planning and buying it as a whole, however, can present challenges:

  • TV and digital audiences are spread across multiple devices and services which means understanding the true reach amongst various platforms is nearly impossible. 
  • Lack of audience identifiers across most digital video platforms as well as TV platforms.
  • Many of these platforms adopted what’s called a “walled garden” – where within their service offerings, they own and control all the data around audience targeting and reporting. This leads to inconsistent audience targeting and time consuming, as well as inconsistent, post reporting that has to be pieced together from each and every video platform being used. 

While these challenges feel overwhelming, it helps to acknowledge that right now we are in the growing pains of integrating so many new platforms in such a short time period. Over time we will begin to see standardized audience data as well as consistent post-campaign measurement.  In the meantime, keep things simple. Don’t put too many KPIs into a single campaign. For example; I want to reach 75% of my target audience. Even if a platform can tell you 100 different data points, keep the KPIs simple across all platforms as to get the best apple to apple comparison and consistent post campaign reporting.