Audience Insights: The Dynamic Duo of Linear TV & Streaming

06.01.2023 David Gustafson4 min

Throughout my lifetime, numerous writers, directors, producers, and actors have put their own unique spins on Batman.  Some of the portrayals have been panned, while others have been met with critical acclaim.  Some have been more upbeat, while others have explored the darker sides of this complex character.  Through all the variations, though, the definitive version of the Caped Crusader for me will forever be the TV version that made its way into my family’s living room on a regular basis when I was growing up.

Starring Adam West and Burt Ward, that “Batman” series debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons – but its brilliance and occasionally buffoonery made it a staple of syndication for decades after.  The show took a more comedic approach to capturing the crime-fighting exploits of the Dynamic Duo – Batman and his trusty sidekick, Robin.  Along the way, their antics produced some memorable and curious dialogue, including this Batman observation on media:

“A reporter’s lot is not easy, making exciting stories out of plain, average, ordinary people like Robin and me.”        

Thankfully for this researcher who once considered a career as a reporter, crafting an interesting story from the similarly dynamic duo of Television and Streaming seems comparatively easy.  Here now is a look at five facts and figures that frame up the importance of this combination for advertisers:

Traditional TV usage continues to be “nearly ubiquitous.”

That is how Nielsen described the current state of traditional “linear” TV, which includes live viewing and time-shifted DVR viewing.  According to the company’s December 2022 Audience Insights report, that combination reaches three out of four (74%) U.S. adults on a weekly basis – and nearly nine out of 10 (88%) each month.

Linear TV remains “the most effective way to reach audiences at scale.”

Researchers at Effectv reached that conclusion based on analysis of approximately 37,000 multiscreen advertising campaigns that generated more than 3 billion audience impressions during the second half of 2022.  According to results published in the company’s TV Viewership Report, across all those campaigns an estimated 78% of the overall audience reach came from traditional TV.

“Lead with Linear, Support with Streaming.”

That is how the Effectv team ultimately summarized their findings, noting that the addition of Streaming to a Linear TV ad campaign drives incremental audience reach.  As summarized in Multiscreen TV: Reaching Audiences Wherever They Watch, that reach boost is particularly prevalent within homes that under-index for Linear TV viewing, as those homes are four times more likely to be exposed to Streaming ads.

Cable continues to capture majority of Linear TV viewing – and Streaming is here to stay!

According to the latest version of Nielsen’s The Gauge, which breaks out U.S. viewing time by category, Cable garnered nearly 58% of the Linear TV total (i.e., Cable plus Broadcast) for the month of April.  Streaming, meanwhile, maintains its status as the single largest subsegment, again accounting for more than a third of total viewing time in April.  To put Streaming’s surge in perspective, additional Nielsen numbers reveal that “Americans watched more than 19 million years’ worth of streaming content in 2022.”

More Streamers are flocking to FAST channels.

According to Statista figures cited by Suzy Research, nearly three out of five (58%) U.S. TV viewers streamed content from a free ad-supported television (FAST) channel in 2022.  That represents a ten-point increase over 2021 FAST viewing levels.  Similarly, the Suzy team found that a majority of consumers surveyed (56%) indicate a willingness to watch ads on free streaming platforms – an impressive number for an issue that historically does not poll well.

Yes, much like the vintage Batman and Robin from the ‘60s TV series, the modern-day combination of TV and Streaming is indeed a powerful pairing – expanding reach and improving the effectiveness of customized advertising campaigns.  To put it another way, we’ll paraphrase Batman’s response from the second season when Robin asked, “Where’d you get a live fish, Batman?”

The true marketer always carries everything they need in their utility belt, Robin!

When you’re ready to restock or reimagine your advertising utility belt, Cox Media is here to help.

Questions?  Use the form to the right to connect with a Marketing Expert or contact your local Cox Media team today!

Headshot_David Gustafson
About the Author

David Gustafson

As Cox Media’s Director of Audience Research, David drives positive outcomes for marketers by applying a unique blend of data-informed analysis, industry expertise, and storytelling skills that have earned him a tenured role as the company’s “Professor.” Specializing in audience measurement and market intelligence, David is a member of the Ampersand Cross-MVPD Research Committee, Nielsen Local Policy Guidelines Committee (PGC) and VAB Measurement Innovation Task Force, as well as client advisor to Comscore.

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