With so many innovations taking place among connected TV, streaming and other platform-based viewing experiences, the trends shaping TV and digital video consumption seem to be in a constant state of change.

While traditional TV and over-the-top streaming once offered drastically different viewing experiences, both mediums have attempted to enhance their products by adding features and capabilities typically associated with the other end of the spectrum. Streaming services, for example, are increasingly invested in delivering live content, while connected TV continues to place a greater emphasis on providing on-demand content through app-like experiences.

For businesses looking to advertise across these channels, these changes are important—in particular because they can create new, innovative ad opportunities at a potential value relative to more established ad options. Emerging trends can also help you revisit your existing ad strategy to determine whether your audience might be better served through campaigns that account for shifting audience ad preferences and viewing experiences.

With that in mind, here are some of the top connected TV and streaming trends shaping the year ahead.

Connected TVs are More Widely Used Than Smart TVs

Smart TVs offer the convenience of built-in apps and streaming capabilities, along with other features that move these TV sets further in the direction of a computer or personal mobile device. But rather than dominate the TV market through their all-in-one hardware and software offerings, smart TVs lag behind connected TVs in terms of overall usage.

Recent research shows that connected TVs—which include any TV that accesses or streams content through a connected device, such as a Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or cable TV box—are used daily by 25 percent of all households in the United States, compared to just 21 percent for smart TV devices.

Connected TV has maintained its popularity for a number of reasons. First, cable TV services have improved their streaming and on-demand options, giving them broad appeal to a diverse audience. Connected devices are also more flexible and easier to update: although smart TVs can age quickly if their operating systems aren’t kept up-to-date, consumers can enjoy a like-new viewing experience on an old TV simply by updating or upgrading their connected device.

It remains to be seen whether smart TVs will be able to maintain their increase in market share, or whether connected TV experiences will continue to modernize and offer convenience, value and diversity of choice for TV viewers.

App Dashboards are Merging Cable TV and Streaming Experiences

Both cable TV and other connected TV experiences continue to embrace alternative content packaging options that include app-like experiences curated for specific audiences.

The 2022 Winter Olympics is a perfect example: NBCUniversal, which owns the rights to Olympic television coverage, reached deals with a number of streaming and cable TV companies to create Olympics video dashboards that organized and featured a wide range of Olympics coverage for interested audiences.

With these app-like dashboards comes increasing content curation—including curation that is specific to the individual user or account owner, resulting in personalized content recommendations and dashboard features. Although this curated approach has long been a strategy used by major streaming brands like Netflix and Hulu, it is now becoming a bigger selling point for TV Everywhere (TVE) and other connected experiences.

As this curated, personalized approach becomes more widely available, it also brings new targeting opportunities for advertisers seeking cost-effective options to target a niche audience and maximize engagement.

Streaming Service Prices are On the Rise

Many of the leading streaming services have announced rate increases in recent months. Netflix’s standard streaming tier now costs $15.50 per month, making it the most expensive per-month streaming service—and marking its third rate hike since 2019.

Hulu similarly announced a $1 per month subscription increase in September 2020. Amazon Prime, meanwhile, is raising its annual cost to $139, although this price packages streaming TV and movies with premium shipping, music streaming and a host of other benefits.

As those costs increase, it’s worth paying attention to related consumer interest in alternative streaming and TV viewing experiences, which may range from traditional cable to ad-supported, free streaming services. Where advertising through Netflix and other streamers isn’t an option, local businesses may be able to reach a similar audience through alternative ad options that come at a lower price, due to the reduced competition for that specific inventory.

Even as revenues rise for those mainstream streamers, some consumers are sure to start exploring more cost-effective options—and savvy businesses should be ready to cash in on this shift.

As traditional TV, TVE and OTT streaming adapt and evolve to better serve their customers, local businesses should seek out opportunities to increase their ad reach and overall advertising ROI. A digital advertising partner could be the resource you need to identify these opportunities and strike while the iron is hot.

Cox Media can help your business stay ahead of the digital advertising curve. Contact us today to learn more.