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TV Media Buying + "Video 360°"

“Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. We define entire epochs of humanity by the technology they use.”
– Reed Hastings

TV Media Buying 360°

Forget what you’ve heard: TV is not dying, it’s evolving. We consume video in theaters, on phones, tablets, and laptops; the device is secondary to the addiction. So how do brands make the most of TV media buying strategy when TV isn’t necessarily happening…on TV?

In an era of omnichannel content, we shift conversations about TV media buying (or “programmatic TV” or OTT, CTV, whatever) to an approach built on “Video 360°.” This shift in perspective turns talk of platforms and devices into one about audience journeys and how linear + digital video strategy can work to grow brands and impact the bottom line.

So how can smart brands find engagement at scale, and capture audiences across so many screens?

Read on to learn more.

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TV vs. Programmatic TV?

First, let’s define terms. What is traditional TV vs. “digital video” or “programmatic TV”? For a brand-side paid media decision-maker, TV advertising reach and engagement can be achieved in two ways: through Traditional TV and through programmatic TV.

Traditional TV includes terrestrial, cable, or satellite – it’s “linear” meaning it’s generally bought and viewed based on daypart, geography, demography, and channel (contextual). Its pros are its scale, reliability, and the certainty that comes from knowing exactly when where, and in what programming your ads run. But linear viewership is slowly declining. And the process of buying traditional TV is “clunky” at best.

On the other hand, programmatic TV, or digital “video” advertising has many names. As we define it, video covers content consumable via any connected device (TVs included!). A digital video strategy includes video ad investment purchased by the audience using digital means. This includes: “Audience-based” or Addressable TV, which targets specific populations usually using 1P or 3P datasets. “Over-the-top” (OTT), Video-on-demand (VOD), or streaming TV is usually what we’re discussing when we talk about “Programmatic TV.” This can include YouTube’s TrueView, Roku, Apple TV, Firestick, the short-lived Instagram TV…and many other digitally purchasable channels.

But the key point is that audience and content are divorced from the device. TV is happening everywhere and TV media buying needs to embrace this new frontier.

Do I need a TV media buying agency?

Programmatic TV – which includes CTV and OTT – promises advertisers trackability and efficiency. This is why CTV spending grew 316% in the last 5 years and is on pace to double again by 2028 (1).

But with this gold rush came a wave of ad fraud, unclear outcomes, and marketers wondering if the investment was moving the needle: Did we reach treasured prospects or trolls? Did our ads run during a bingeworthy show, or after a cat video at 4am?

Programmatic TV promises simplicity. But in a fragmented viewer universe – with a solar system of ad tech SSP and DSP intermediaries all taking a cut of spending – there are 3 core challenges for programmatic TV media buying:

  1. There are profound differences in measurement and buying strategy from channel to channel. Consider just Facebook, Instagram, and Google’s YouTube.
  2. Even audience-based targeting isn’t a perfect solution. Granular targeting risks oversaturating smaller audiences. Have you ever watched a show and seen the same ad running 10x, every single break? This is a common risk with first-party data targeting.
  3. Finally, the mass adoption of programmatic TV media buying has driven prices upward at a staggering rate. Despite its slow shrinkage of viewership, traditional linear TV wins for affordable reach at scale.

Video killed the radio TV star

Traditional TV ad spend – terrestrial, cable, or satellite broadcast – still receives the majority of video-allocated ad dollars globally. Yet traditional TV viewership shrinks 5-9% year-over-year as TV audiences worldwide “cut the cord.”

Still, the broad reach and reliable targeting of TV is, arguably, far from obsolete. Even tech giants and digital startups spend more on TV advertising than digital video. And when it comes to live events, 85% of people globally have watched live-stream video in the past 12 months.

If your goals are driving brand or product awareness, TV is irreplaceable.

And TV networks are evolving to fight lower CPMs from programmatic while delivering the demographic guarantees and broad reach advertisers love. To shore up TV ad rates, many networks are decreasing the number of commercials available. Supply and demand dictates this will have 3 outcomes:

  1. Share of Voice: This move offers TV advertisers a greater share of voice (at a price);
  2. Viewer Experience: Fewer ads may help coax viewers back to TV;
  3. Proof of effectiveness: With TV now compatible with multi-touch attribution, TV will continue to lead in recall and direct response.

A Bespoke TV Media Buying Agency

Demand for TV and video content is not diminishing – it’s simply changing form. Smart marketers know the most effective video media buying embraces a perspective “neutral” across platforms.

Take, for instance,, an undeniably digital brand. sells digital products and domains worldwide, but built its global growth strategy through the power of TV.

When a brand reaches a certain point in its growth, TV media buying becomes essential. While programmatic wins for targeting precision at lower budgets, brand awareness goals may demand TV. Ultimately, the mix should be determined by the habits of the audience.

As an independent media buying agency, we carry no baggage of entrenched upfront commitments to “sell-through” to clients. Criterion Global works to deliver the best strategy for its clients.

Reach out to schedule a 30 min conversation with our strategists to learn how TV media buying can catalyze your brand’s growth.