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CTV Market Evolves Rapidly as 5 Years of Innovation and Disruption are Compressed into a Few Months

According to recent research from The Trade Desk, 11% of households that currently have cable plan to cut the cord this year. That rate rises to 18% for the highly coveted 18-34 year-old demo. This cord-cutting rate far exceeds recent and estimated projections by analysts such as eMarketer. It speaks to the accelerating consumer shift toward streaming TV content as viewers select on-demand content while working from home, as they look to cut home entertainment costs at a time of economic uncertainty, and as live sports (the number one reason most viewers retain cable) remains in a state of flux.

Broadcasters are well aware of these consumer shifts. Almost all of them have accelerated their own streaming platforms over the last 12 months, from HBO to Disney to NBCUniversal. This surge in streaming content has helped satisfy viewer demand as they seek alternatives to cable. Indeed, Nielsen estimates that average weekly streaming minutes in the U.S. across all age groups for Q2 2020 was 142.5 billion, which is up from 81.7 billion in Q2 2019.

As consumer demand shifts and more premium inventory becomes available over connected devices, 2020 will go down as a major tipping point.

“2020 represents a changing of the guard,” said Jeff Green, CEO of The Trade Desk at the company’s recent Groundswell digital marketing festival. “Connected TV reached 80 million households for the first time. And Cable TV is estimated to drop below 80 million for the first time this year.”

Those trends are not going to reverse. And advertisers are taking notice.

“We’ve been talking about Connected TV every year (for five years)” said Susan Vanell-Charpentier, Senior Director of Global Data, Analytics, Media, MarTech and Store at Proctor & Gamble, at the Groundswell festival. “And that inflection point hopefully will now lead us into a whole new world of media that frankly would have been another 5 years if we had not had the pandemic.”

To that end, Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Proctor & Gamble, speaking at the ANA Media and Measurement Conference last week, highlighted how P&G is working more directly with broadcasters to purchase TV inventory, increasing their use of programmatic platforms in the process. P&G is one of many leading companies pushing this kind of innovation in TV advertising.

The Trade Desk has long been at the forefront of this shift, and is the leading independent DSP for streaming TV content.

“CTV has been one of The Trade Desk’s growth engines in recent years, as more major advertisers look to apply data to their massive TV campaigns for the first time,” said Tim Sims, Chief Revenue Officer of The Trade Desk. “As a result, we have established direct partnerships with almost all of the major broadcasters worldwide, all of whom are looking to access the advertiser demand that we can bring to their new streaming platforms.”

With the broad availability of streaming TV inventory on TTD’s platform, the company has been accelerating and revamping its inventory partnerships. Certain supply side relationships, such as TTD’s partnership with Amazon Publisher Services, are being phased out in favor of more direct partnerships with broadcasters themselves and with suppliers such as Magnite and Comcast’s Freewheel that offer transparent access to a wide range of broadcaster inventory. Indeed, as 2020 progressed, advertisers prioritized a more holistic approach to CTV – not limited to a single device.

“Advertisers want the simplest, most transparent path to inventory, across the rapidly growing CTV ecosystem” reiterated Sims. “We offer a clean and direct route to all premium CTV content, and we’re prioritizing those channels and suppliers that best meet our rapidly increasing advertiser demand.”