How should brands navigate the confusing and plentiful streaming terrain?

Thirsty for that OTT knowledge? We've got the information hydration.

We get it -- the streaming world is an absolute goulash of confusion.

But worry no more, my friends. For we have gathered knowledge from those deep in the weeds of media space as it relates to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, whatever the hell Peacock is, as well as live platforms which live on social media.

Campaign US asked those smarter than us: From a media planning and buying standpoint, how should brands best navigate the confusing and plentiful streaming terrain?


Allison Felter, SVP Account Sales, VideoAmp

The explosion of streaming services entering the marketplace is creating massive fragmentation across TV viewing households. So, how do buyers keep up while still spending dollars wisely? 

1. Remember OTT & streaming aren’t the same as traditional linear TV.
Marketers should resist the urge to buy programs and opt to purchase addressable audiences and high value dayparts where OTT viewing patterns mirror linear. 

2. Make sure you manage reach and frequency.
Despite implementing frequency caps at the service provider level, viewers flip between multiple apps, so there is potential for over exposure leading to wasted budget and poor user experience. Leveraging a platform that enables holistic reach and frequency management across linear, OTT and digital video is key. 

3. Determine success metrics upfront.
The most important parameter for a marketer to consider is how the success of a campaign will be measured. With OTT platforms, marketers are more empowered than ever to optimize to an audience or desired business outcome. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity

4. Consider the device.
Viewers stream content from all screens. Each device drives different types of engagement and creates different value for brands. Test and learn what’s best for your campaign.

5. Resist putting all of your eggs in one basket.
OTT viewership is fragmented. Buyers should plan and buy across a diverse portfolio of providers to ensure they are building ample reach.


Daniel Khabie, Founder, CourtAvenue

Brands face massive challenges in today’s media landscape as the advent of new viewing options create an audience that is increasingly fragmented.  Choosing between traditional and digital platforms is one thing, but toss in the growth of streaming services like Youtube, Netflix and Amazon (among others), and cracking the code of where to spend  -- and with whom -- becomes tricky, to say the least. The solution to this conundrum lies at the intersection of data, customization and creativity.

According to Deloitte, between 2009 and 2017, the number of U.S. households subscribing to paid streaming video services increased by 450 percent. Layer on podcasts and music services and you're now looking at over 500 percent growth –an increase that brands can’t ignore when allocating ad dollars. But those who: 1) invest in data to better understand their audiences, 2) adapt to different emerging platforms and 3) create innovative and engaging methods to insert themselves into popular content will ultimately win in this space.

Hint: Looking ahead, the forecast calls for streaming services to skew increasingly toward mobile and allow brands to deliver not just an ad, but an activation. For instance, a car manufacturer can apply their insights to connect with those streaming services that best align with their particular users and ultimately offer an experience (location, offer or functional-based), that audiences get exclusively from them.


Amy Armstrong, U.S. CEO, Initiative

For me it’s still all about the content! That will be the deciding factor between whether or not people/viewers have any more bandwidth for the new and albeit exciting entrants into the streaming market. The quality and relevancy of the content being hailed as ‘must-stream-tv’ is what Brands continue to have to pay attention to.

Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu have become formidable in the space and on those platforms alone exist shows that shape and shift people’s outlook on culture. But paying attention to content quality isn’t enough -- people are already talking about subscription fatigue so as the streaming terrain welcomes new entrants, such as Peacock, HBO Max, and Quibi, brands will probably need to take this into consideration.

For us, regardless of the platform, brands need to keep in mind what matters to their audience, and where and when they’re accessing it, making sure that the brand is present in a culturally relevant way. 


Greg March, CEO, Noble People

I'd navigate the streaming terrain first and foremost by using your reason for being there as your compass. And brands 'use streaming' lots of different ways.

Is it ads on Hulu? A brand running their own Instagram Live Feeds?  Product placement inside of Netflix movies?

All three of these things, and more, are part of the "streaming terrain" but all serve brands in different ways. Ads on Hulu, serve a similar purpose to historic TV ads with some added targeting capabilities and nuances. Instagram Lives Feeds are similar to CRM, creating direct relationships with customers or people who choose to hear more from you.  Product placement connects your product to a character or moment or zeitgeist in a certain subconscious way. 

If you think of it as an approach to streaming, I worry you might miss the reason your in the space, to begin with. If you think of the streaming terrain as a place to enhance your strategies for ad distribution, CRM, or celebrity affiliation (or other objectives) you'll have a better launchpad and structure to have great ideas and optimize results.


Simon Francis, CEO, Flock Associates

Streaming offers some great opportunities for those that are prepared to find original programming, or go for tight product integration or placement. The rapacious appetite of the streamers means that they need high quality content, and lots of it. The advertiser that can provide it has a good potential niche audience.

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