Here’s How Broadcasters and Advertisers Are Leveraging OTT


MIAMI BEACH — Over the Top (OTT) video consumption is the newest trend to capture the attention — and time — of consumers. With the success of new content services, distributors and hardware platforms, OTT has become an important platform that enables broadcasters and advertisers on a local and national level to extend the research of their content and capture incremental audience.

What does this mean for broadcast TV station owners? All of these developments are positive, and position UHF and VHF stations in a far more favorable light than before thanks to improved metrics and new research on how broadcast TV meshes with OTT offerings.

For Kelly Abcarian, SVP/Product Leadership at Nielsen (seated, at left), the latest insights and trends in the OTT space provided good context for how broadcast TV can use digital assets to broaden its ROI opportunities.

For instance, some 74 million (or 62.5%) of TV households have an internet-enabled streaming device. That’s up by 10% from just one year ago, she notes.

Furthermore, Netflix penetration has surpassed half of all U.S. households.

Abcarian also showed data reflecting device-only and TV-only viewership by DMA. This reveals some socioeconomic and cultural differences about how TV programming is consumed. Miami, a highly multiethnic market with greatly varying household income levels, has the lowest amount of streamers and the highest percentage of TV-only usage of the biggest DMAs reviewed by Nielsen.

The market that was the exact opposite? To little surprise to those from the Pacific Northwest, it is Portland, Ore., with no one market seeing higher reach via internet-connected devices in a typical day.

This could explain why TEGNA NBC affiliate KGW-8 offers a full newscast — including all advertising — on its Roku app, as viewers may elect to view the station’s news in this manner than via an over-the-air signal.

Speaking of Roku, the market with the highest household penetration is St. Louis, followed by Orlando.

In a post-session interview with RBR+TVBR, Abcarian — joined by Nielsen Managing Director for Local Client Solutions Jeff Wender — explained that this data proves marketers need a Roku strategy in these markets to effectively reach local consumers. Understanding the dynamics of this penetration could also benefit local TV station owners, Abcarian adds.


On the panel, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations SVP/Business Development and Strategy Shawn Makhijani called OTT “a great opportunity for local broadcasters.”

Why? Because it helps broadcast media get their content to everyone based on where they wish to view it. “Consumption through ‘TV Everywhere’ proves that content resonates and is still being consumed,” Makhijani says. “Clear data show younger people want to consume data. They just want to consume it a different way.”

Federica Tremolada, head of international partnerships for YouTubeTV, couldn’t agree more.

While YouTubeTV is still “a very nascent business,” as it launched last year, it has seen healthy growth, starting in five markets and now in more than 80 DMAs.

“People are watching and consumption is shifting,” she says. While millennials were the first target for YouTubeTV and they responded, the mobile-centric approach for YouTubeTV seen at its onset is evolving.

There is now a “living room App” for connected devices, making YouTubeTV an option for those that wish to “cut the cord.”

Stacey Schulman, EVP/Strategy & Research at Katz Media Group, is well aware of how time spent with digital media vs. traditional media is changing. “At Katz we don’t call it the next wave. We call it the tsunami,” she quips. “We live in a world of exponential choices and sometimes that freezes us and we do nothing.”

But, like others who have spoken at NATPE Miami panels, she believes it is all about how the consumer is able to get the content and engage with that content. This is where broadcasters should raise the ante on digital delivery. “We haven’t really thought much about the user experience,” Schulman says, comparing what broadcast TV has done versus big OTT players.

Makhijani agrees. “Broadcasters need to be open to new ways of how our content is being consumed,” he says.

By embracing and integrating OTT, broadcast TV could further solidify a future that will largely rely on something not yet spoken of at NATPE Miami: the next-gen ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard bringing addressable advertising to VHF and UHF stations.

Schulman notes, “Even as our society becomes more digitally progressive and everything becomes more fragmented, we are going to have counterbalance of those needed shared cultural experiences. We will enjoy the best of both worlds: finding experiences to share and engaging and engorging ourselves in the things we love.”

RBR+TVBR is on-site at NATPE Miami through Thursday, Jan. 18.