Connected and Smart TVs have been around for what seems like forever now. The multitude of viewing options have long changed since your parents’ days of only broadcast, or even your own younger days of Broadcast, Cable TV and Paid Channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.). The world is at the viewer’s fingertips and this allows us to watch what we want, when we want. As marketers, it provides a more segmented market in which to reach consumers, and allows for increased targeting capabilities and digital-comparable analytics.

But let’s take a step back to just go over the basics. Connected TVs (also known as Smart TVs) are devices that support multi-media and connect to the internet. There is a plethora of apps now available and is easiest if you break them into three categories.

TV Everywhere Apps: Apps associated with traditional broadcast and cable stations that you need a cable login to access. (ABC, CBS, NBC, Bravo, MTV, Comedy Central, TBS, TNT USA for example)

TV Streaming Services: alternatives to cable (YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, DirectTV Now are examples) that have subscription costs.

Stand-alone specialized apps (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Disney+, Apple+, etc.) that have subscription costs.

Most everyone has used one, many or all of these different options as it is now a standard way of viewing but a common question is: Can I advertise to audiences consuming this content? As is usually the case in marketing, there is not one definitive answer to this question and it differs by app. Let’s focus on some of the larger services as it reaches the biggest audience. This does not mean these are better platforms than other smaller more targeted options, it simply depends on who you are trying to reach and your brand and business goals.

Broadcast/Cable TV Apps: Advertising on these platforms can be purchased directly through the station themselves and from cable providers. Commercial loads are usually shorter when airing on these apps than when they appear live

Netflix’s popularity has grown massively and in a relatively short amount of time. One of the factors that draws audiences to this platform is it is an “ad-free zone.” Netflix has adamantly stated that subscribers they have no plans in the future to allow advertising content.

Hulu offers different tiered packages to its subscribers and about 70% of the viewers are on the most affordable $5.99 plan that airs commercials which cannot be fast forwarded. There is a commercial-free plan that costs viewers twice the price. Hulu also offers Hulu Live so that allows to watch content as it airs.

YouTube TV: When this platform began back in 2017, Google had to compromise with content providers so that they were only able to play back content from their DVR feature which did not allow for fast forwarding. Now they have finalized many deals with networks that allow viewers to play recorded versions of programs which provides full access to pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding during playback even during commercials.

This is merely an introduction to Connected TVs and how advertisers can (or cannot) reach viewers with their brand messaging. What remains constant, whether it be through traditional TV, connected TV opportunities or digital advertising, is that relevant content, messaging and placement is key. You want to engage with viewers, not act as an annoyance by running your message in content that will not reach the right audience or to wear out your welcome by over-saturating the frequency of your message.

KSA would love to educate you directly regarding these different options of connecting your brand with the right audience and our many other capabilities. Reach out and let’s meet in person so that we can provide a deeper understanding of emerging, digital, and traditional platforms and how they can be used to extend your reach to the correct audience.