Adapting to the challenges of the Total Video evolution

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In recent years, the world of television has witnessed a remarkable transformation, with Connected TV (CTV) screens driving increased competition between traditional linear TV and digital platforms. This has unlocked new opportunities for targeted advertising but has also brought about a profound change in audience behaviours. As viewers increasingly engage with content across a variety of platforms and screens, the TV industry has had to adapt to meet their needs. This article explores the changing world of television, content creation, new viewing modes and how advertisers are striving to meet the demands of this dynamic ecosystem.



How content is adapting to new viewing modes – some success stories

Linear television still has the power to captivate audiences – particularly for live events. The final of the 2023 FIFA World Cup, a thrilling match between France and Argentina, attracted a staggering 1.5 billion viewers worldwide, according to FIFA. Similarly, the Eurovision Song Contest consistently ranks in the top 10 programmes in 14 different countries. In addition, linear TV takes centre stage during major yearly milestones, with New Year’s Eve programming featuring in the top 10 lists of 23 different countries, boasting an average audience share of 42%.[1]

Linear TV continues to be the preferred platform for consuming entertainment, with 39% of viewers declaring their preference for this genre. TV broadcasters and producers are continually searching for the next big prime-time entertainment concept, following the success of shows such as The Masked Singer in Europe in 2019. Notably, RTL4 in the Netherlands introduced a successful entertainment franchise called The Traitors, which aired in a number of European countries including Germany, Belgium, the UK and Spain.

There was a remarkable surge in fiction programming in 2022, with this genre representing a 13% increase from 2021. The success of local blockbusters such as Trigger Point on ITV in the UK and HPI on TF1 in France and Belgium played a significant role in this rise.

How viewers are engaging with content

The way in which viewers engage with content has undergone a significant shift. For example, the drama series Unforgotten on ITV1 and ITVX saw 31% of its audience engage with the content through pre-broadcast VOD, surpassing live broadcast (29%) and time-shifted viewing (29%).[2]

The streaming landscape is evolving rapidly. In France, Netflix’s market share declined from 85.8% in January 2020 to 57.5% in March 2023.1 In the US, Nielsen’s Gauge report from July 2023 indicates that Netflix accounts for 20% of total streaming time and faces competition from major players such as Amazon Prime (8.8%) and Disney+ (5%). Smaller players such as Tubi, HBO Max, Peacock, PlutoTV, and Roku are gaining 2-3% of viewing time.[3]

Free Ad Supported Streaming Television (FAST) is experiencing substantial year-over-year growth, with the UK seeing a 90% increase in channels and a 50% growth in viewing hours, according to Amagi.[4] It’s important to note that the European FAST market is less mature compared with the US, with only 20% of weekly FAST users in Europe, while the US has a 51% share.[5] The FAST market is fragmented, with various types of players, including global media companies such as Paramount, manufacturers such as Samsung and Xiaomi, and broadcasters launching FAST channels on their Broadcast VOD platforms, such as 6play and ITVX.

Bridging the gap between linear and non-linear media

The widespread adoption of smart TVs in Europe has unlocked new digital advertising opportunities on the big screen. These opportunities are manifested through both streaming platforms, where a substantial portion of Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD) is consumed on TV screens, and within the linear signal itself, using technologies such as HbbTV and IPTV for targeted advertising.

Unlocking digital capabilities on big screens

Lack of targeting has been a significant concern for marketers in the CTV space. However, there is a growing opportunity to implement precise targeting on the big screen. Key BVOD players such as 6play in France and ITVX in the UK, with their mandatory registration policies, offer advertisers the ability to target interest-based user groups based on viewing behaviour. This approach enables advertisers to reach specific demographics, such as cooking or home improvement enthusiasts, on the big screen.

“As economic constraints limit the resources available to agencies and advertiser media teams, automated solutions have become essential for streamlining the buying process.”

In 2022, Belgian advertising sales house DPG introduced a data-matching option on VTM Go, its BVOD platform. This innovative concept allows CRM data from advertisers to be matched with VTM Go registered users via email addresses, with privacy measures taken within a “Clean Room” system. Similarly, M6 Publicité in France leverages the clean room technology of LiveRamp to match its subscriber base with Carrefour’s cardholders, one of the main retailers in the country. This collaboration results in a range of consumer segments available for advertisers on Broadcast VOD and Addressable TV.

Advertisers are increasingly seeking optimisation in allocating their reach and frequency across linear TV and streaming. Broadcasters and manufacturers are developing ways to facilitate interoperable data between the two platforms. Return path data from IPTV and HbbTV enables broadcasters to identify households exposed to specific advertising messages on linear TV and retarget them effectively. TV manufacturers such as LG and Samsung have introduced Audio Content Recognition systems, which identify ads in the linear signal and retarget viewers accordingly.

Pricing and distribution

Inefficiencies in planning and buying systems for CTV have hindered investment for many buyers. As economic constraints limit the resources available to agencies and advertiser media teams, automated solutions have become essential for streamlining the buying process. Broadcasters across Europe are progressively providing online access to addressable and linear TV inventories. Solutions include the creation of buying platforms, such as Planet V in the UK, launched by ITV in 2020 and joined by Sky Media in July 2023. Additionally, collaborative partnerships have formed between broadcasters and existing players in the market, such as RTL AdAlliance, smartclip, and The Trade Desk, aiming to enhance Addressable TV capabilities across four European countries.

Achieving a unified pricing model is crucial in a world where TV and online video are purchased on a common basis. Spanish sales house Atresmedia took a pioneering step in Europe by transitioning from Cost per Gross Rating Point (GRP) to Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM). This conversion resulted in a 2€ CPM, in stark contrast to the 35€ CPM offered by Netflix in the market, with a clear focus on premium TV advertisers


Attracting digital advertisers to linear TV

The success of digital giants is not solely attributed to their relationships with large advertisers, as these entities continue to rely heavily on traditional media. Their success can also be attributed to their ability to attract a vast number of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to their platforms. In Europe, where 99% of companies are SMEs, broadcasters have an opportunity to leverage this previously untapped market segment.

Germany, with its 15 million Addressable TV households[6] presents a promising opportunity for SMEs to make their presence felt on the big screen. Retailers can target customers on a zip code level within their service area. Moreover, an innovative customisable L-Shape format that appears during programmes, distinguishing itself from traditional ad breaks, offers a compelling option. This inventory is made accessible to resellers, such as small marketing agencies, enabling SMEs to book the volume they need to reach their desired audience.

The automation of targeted TV campaigns is facilitated by self-booking tools that empower resellers to purchase, plan and book campaigns with just a few clicks on an online platform. On the broadcaster’s side, a creative approval platform can ensure that creative work is suitable for TV, streamlining the campaign delivery process.



[1] Glance/relevant partner – reproduction forbidden, all rights reserved by Médiamétrie.

[2] Glance/relevant partner – reproduction forbidden, all rights reserved by Médiamétrie.


[4] continues-to-dazzle.

[5] RTL AdAlliance, “The new life of the living room” (2023).

[6] Source: Smartclip, June 2022.

TV Key Facts

TV Key Facts

TV Key Facts editorial team, RTL AdAlliance

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