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Smart TV makes for Smart DRTV

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

About twenty or so years ago, the television landscape was comprised of several dozen channels, providing a limited playing field in which DRTV agencies could compete for space.

Today’s television landscape is vastly greater, comprising several hundred viewing channels. And yet, even with the greatly enhanced playing field, experts predict this is just the tip of the digital iceberg.

With more than 80% of millennials never having a subscription to a cable or a satellite, DRTV agencies who do not expand their reach will ultimately become irrelevant in the not-too-distant-future.

Steve Anderson of American Country Media operates two popular Smart TV channels; Country Star and Wilderness Channel, told us that they abandoned the cable distribution search-and-hunt game because the viewership for niche services like theirs is so much higher on popular platforms like Roku and Apple TV.

These networks average one million viewers per month, watching for an average of 45-minutes per viewer. That’s approximately four minutes of commercial exposure following the American Country Media format, or about four-million commercial minutes viewed everyday over a thirty-day period.

Compare that to fledgling cable networks and local network affiliates, and the opportunities for Smart TV become increasingly alluring. Consider the improved outreach if advertising was possible on Netflix, or if you could get your Direct Response message out on Hulu! While these two platforms may not yet be available, there are a host of other platforms available to help tap into this vast market.

Smart TV is, however, much more than just increased distribution; it’s a new way to interact with viewers.

As the DVR increased in popularity in viewer’s homes, so did commercial-skipping. Commercial-skipping predates the DVR, however, as many of us can recall fast-forwarding over commercials of our favorite shows recorded via VHS, dating back to the last century.

Ad-rolls during Smart TV are notoriously short and viewers do not have the habit of fast-forwarding past them. They know that in many cases, ad-rolls can be skipped after a certain amount of ad-exposure has played; much like a YouTube video. The commercial intrusion does not feel the same as it does for traditional television viewers.

Industry prophets foresee a near future where viewers of direct response on connected television screens will have online order pages appear beneath the screen, or perhaps a one-click button to purchase items via the customer’s service provider account. Indeed, the new-found opportunities of the internet could create a closer strategic alliance between direct response marketers, Smart TV platforms and cable systems that employ aspects of Smart TV or connected TV. QVC and HSN have made inroads into this strategic alliance by providing viewers can click a button on their remote control and order an item, which will be shipped to their home. The transaction can then be viewed on their television, computer screen and on their monthly bill.

Smart TV allows the possibility of a ‘Call-to-Action’ button that prompts viewers interested in a product to enter directly into a new Smart TV app and get more information about a product or service than a 60-second spot could provide.

According to Anderson, Agencies that want to restrict direct response television to traditional television screens are fooling themselves. “If a channel is on cable then it is available to many subscribers on smartphones, tablets and even computers via platforms like Xfinity.” He continued “Many viewers are already watching their favorite cable channels on portable devices, so the only real question becomes how we can turn this curve-ball into a home run.”

What people have been heard saying:

"Addressable TV ads offer a more efficient and and precise means to promoting products, services and programs. Agencies gain the opportunity to create more meaningful and relevant ads.''

Claudio Marcus, EVP at Visible World

''The concept of addressable television ads has been proclaimed for years as the Holy Grail of advertising.'' Mike Proulx, Social TV

''Leverage the power of the platform. We get TV creatives for digital platforms all the time. Each platform has unique capabilities and the creative should leverage the power of those capabilities.''

-Rick Mander, VP of ABC Digital Media

''Smartphones and tablets have come into the picture, thereby enabling an entirely new world of interactive that we call the second screen. Taking an easy-to-use mobile device and tying it to television unlocks a tremendous amount of potential.''

Cory Bergman, Founder of Lost Remote

If you'd like to join an ongoing discussion of this topic use the email below for an invitation to a great brainstorming session.

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''We are most likely at the coming-of-age for Direct Response TV, not its twilight.'' Enzo Stephens in ''How Internet Killed the DRTV Star''

'' The concept of addressable television ads has been proclaimed  for years as the Holy Grail of advertising.'' Mike Proulx, Social TV

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