Newfronts: OEMs strut their stuff for linear TV ad dollars.

By C-K’s Audio/Video Investment Group

The Newfronts began with a bang as streaming TV providers lead with their growth in audiences and their ability to provide incremental reach from linear TV schedules. While this is something we have heard time and time again at the Newfronts, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are the ones pushing beyond their typical limits and showcasing themselves as a necessary element for advertisers to reach their audiences.

OEMs showcased how they can compete with linear TV in two simple ways:

  1. Grow and engage viewers
  2. Prove incremental reach

Grow and Engage Viewers

The easiest way for OEMs to grow viewers is by selling more smart TVs and that’s already happening, with reports showing a CAGR1 of 10.7% from 2020-2025 for the U.S. alone. The hurdle will be getting people to opt-in, then keeping them engaged on ad-supported platforms. And changes are being made to do just that.

Growing exclusive app content:

  • OEMs like Roku, Samsung and Vizio have their own Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV platforms (FASTs). This gives OEMs the opportunity to gain new viewers whenever a new Smart TV is sold, as a consumer can simply turn on their new TV and have free content available. They no longer need another app, like Pluto or Xumo, to get to it.

Purchasing or creating original content:

  • Roku purchased Quibi programming, which is now only shown on the Roku platform, giving them original and exclusive content. This may be a trend to watch for over the coming years from these OEMs.

Improving user interfaces:

  • Many viewers suffer from content fatigue as they struggle searching for and discovering new content to watch. OEMs are personalizing their platforms by providing suggestions of new content. This is a clever way to help consumers avoid wasting time finding something to watch. This “saved” time can be converted into time viewers are actually watching content with ads.

Provide users additional ways to watch or search content:

  • Some OEMs are incorporating mobile as a way for viewers to reach their content, like Roku, which is launching a mobile app, and Vizio has a mobile app that allows viewers to search for content and cast it to their TV screen.

Prove Incremental Reach

OEMs can prove incremental reach off linear TV campaigns. Using their automatic/automated content recognition technology (ACR) to monitor what consumers are watching and how they are watching, they can discern if a viewer has seen an ad via linear TV as well as how many did not, showing incremental lift.

With OEMs’ access to millions of viewers based on their viewing habits, the many targeting avenues available and incremental lift, you might be rethinking your strategy and budget.

But first, make sure you keep in mind the reach linear TV provides and whether OEMs can make up the difference to warrant the amount of budget you might shift.

Know Your Audience

As advertisers, we should continue to be cognizant of our audiences to ensure vendors are providing inventory that fits with our needs. Viewers are watching all over the place and there are many ways to reach your audience and that can be done without wasting impressions. Think about the media you plan to use and the reach they each provide and couple that with your desired reach for the overall campaign to drive your decisions.