Linear vs. Connected TV: What's The Difference?

Linear vs. Connected TV: What's The Difference?

It’s hard to ignore the fact that television has consistently evolved since TV made its way into home living rooms starting in the mid-century. Since then, we have seen rapid change and advancement in the way we consume television, particularly in the last decade.

For so many of us who enjoyed traditional, linear television programming for so long, it can be hard to differentiate between linear and Connected TV (CTV), and the modern advantages CTV provides. To help provide a little bit more distinction, we’re diving more into the history of how we have consumed television throughout the years, and the difference between CTV and Linear TV.

Linear TV

Ah, the good old days! Limitations in technology made linear TV watching the default choice for most people through the majority of the 20th century. People would gather together, sitting down at a particular time to watch the shows they enjoyed. And if they missed an episode, they simply had to wait for the network to rerun the program. Advertisers had a captive audience, allowing them to collect measurable data that helped them craft their marketing campaigns. This can all sound very nostalgic looking back if you have moved past traditional linear TV, but it’s no secret that this kind of programming has many modern limitations when it comes to convenience and advertising capabilities.

DVR Technology

Things started to change with the introduction of the VCP when DVR technology appeared on the market starting in 1999. People could now record shows and watch them at their own convenience. While that did bring about some change in viewing habits, advertisers still had a sizable audience that primarily stuck to watching TV programs during their scheduled run time.

However, DVRs improved upon the traditional VCR’s limitations, allowing viewers who did choose this method to bypass ads entirely and view shows at their convenience. This meant markets then had to come up with more creative ways to market to consumers.

Connected TV

As streaming services like Hulu, Youtube TV, and ESPN+ started to quickly increase in popularity, CTV services were able to start shifting the tide back toward advertisers. Many people use CTV to access programs aired through their favorite streaming service. While few of them are entirely ad-free, many offer lower price tiers to customers that require ad viewing. CTV helps advertisers re-establish their brand in the minds of targeted consumers who have left traditional, linear TV viewing in the past.

Advertising Advantages to CTV

  • Highly Specialized Targetability: By using the information collected through CTV, you’ll be able to shift your marketing dollars to programs your target audience prefers. This helps keep you from spending tons of money on people who have no interest in what you’re offering.
  • Cost-Effective Creative Use: Because platforms like YouTube TV allow ads to stream during video programs in various time increments, you can make ads as long or as short as needed. This creates a cost-effective solution for companies to reuse and repurpose advertisements.
  • Real-Time Adjustments: With CTV, you’re able to measure who’s engaging with your ads in real-time, tracking where they are when they view your ads, and what services they use to view them. This allows you to make quick adjustments in your marketing strategy if needed that can help improve your conversion rate. 

CTV streaming services are super popular right now, so why not take advantage of this method of entertainment by looking into advertising on CTV services? Our team of marketing experts have proven track records of helping local clients get real results through CTV, and would love to see how we can help you make the shift to this modern and sophisticated advertising method. Contact our team today to learn more!

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