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What Is OTT and CTV? Should I Buy Digital Marketing From A Media Company?

20 November 2023
 What Is OTT and CTV

As someone who has worked in broadcast media during the initial phase of digital media integration, I've witnessed firsthand the transition and challenges that come with it. This experience gives me a unique perspective on the current landscape of digital advertising, particularly in understanding the nuances between Over-the-Top (OTT) and Connected TV (CTV), and the pitfalls in dealing with digital services offered by traditional media companies.

OTT vs. CTV: Clarifying the Concepts

Over-the-Top (OTT) is about delivering film and TV content via the internet, bypassing traditional distribution. Services like Netflix and Hulu are prime examples.

Connected TV (CTV) refers to the use of devices like smart TVs or consoles to stream OTT content. It's a more specific term, indicating the actual medium through which viewers consume streaming content.

Both are integral in modern digital advertising strategies, but understanding their differences is crucial for effective targeting and budget allocation.

The Inside Scoop on Media Companies Selling Digital Services

My time in broadcast media revealed a significant trend: as digital media emerged, many traditional media companies didn't have a team of digital experts. Often, there was just one individual who was more knowledgeable than the rest, playing a pivotal role in bridging the gap between traditional and digital media. This person often accompanied sales representatives to help sell combined digital and traditional media services, despite the lack of a broad in-house expertise in digital media.

This practice raises concerns for advertisers today:

Third-Party Dependence: Many media companies outsource digital campaigns, leading to potential issues with transparency and control.

Divided Investment: With outsourcing, your budget is split between multiple entities, diluting the focus on your campaign.

Expertise Gaps: The lack of in-house digital expertise can impact the quality and effectiveness of the services offered.

The Case of Radio Groups

This trend is not exclusive to TV and billboard companies. Radio groups, too, often sell digital services executed by third parties, leaving clients in the dark about the division of their investment.

Key Takeaways for Advertisers

Informed Decisions: Understand the difference between OTT and CTV and how they can benefit your strategy.

Demand Transparency: Inquire about how much of your service is managed in-house versus outsourced.

Assess the Expertise: Evaluate if a media company’s digital service is a core competency or an add-on.

Budget Clarity: Ensure clarity on how your investment is being used and what portion actually goes towards your campaign.

Being aware and vigilant helps advertisers navigate this complex landscape more effectively, ensuring that their investments in digital media are sound and fruitful.


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