Digital Video’s Role in Traditional TV’s Decline

May 2, 2024
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    Recent news has projected the use of digital video to continue to surpass the use of traditional television amongst the U.S. adult demographic. While digital video has slightly gained an edge over traditional TV since 2022, numbers show that the gap between the two will continue to increase. Digital video is classified as online video activities, as well as content per social networks, while traditional TV classifies as any and all live and prerecorded video. The gap between the two provides interesting possibilities, as an older demographic is beginning to abandon traditional TV, thus opening the door for CTV advertising.

    While traditional TV is not gone for good, it appears to be a slow burn, as CTV and digital video begin to gain traction. With the focus of U.S. adults shifting towards digital content, the consumer focus shall also shift. As this adult demographic turns to digital video platforms for entertainment, CTV offers advertisers an opportunity to reach a much more meaningful audience. The strategies of CTV advertisers should change to target viewers who have shifted away from traditional TV but are still consuming video content through streaming services on connected devices. 

    The trends between digital video and traditional tv are fascinating, as only three years ago, EMarketer showed the lead traditional TV had amongst adults ages 18+, with “3 hours and 16 minutes per day,” as compared to digital video’s, “3 hours per day”. While this was a small lead, digital video would skyrocket, as in present day, digital video’s time spent with adults per day has nearly gone up an hour, to traditional tv declining by about half an hour. Projections also show that by next year, digital video will have about “4 hours of use per day,” as compared to traditional TV’s “2 hours and 48 minutes”. These numbers are no coincidence, as it has been four years straight of digital video numbers increasing, to traditional TV numbers decreasing.

    While traditional TV must pivot in order to keep up with digital, advertisers too must adapt and alter their content formats for the evolving digital video landscape. Short-form videos, interactive ads, and immersive experiences are becoming more prevalent on CTV platforms to capture viewers’ attention in a crowded digital environment. While some are beginning to catch up, it will be interesting to see a more drastic shift in strategy by CTV advertisers.

    Traditional television is not ultimately out of the picture. However, as the numbers continue to decrease, it would be worthwhile to assess where the real attention in content is going. It would be foolish to neglect the impact of digital video, as U.S. adults are increasingly drawn to the variety and diversity of content. The change in popularity towards digital video consumption over traditional TV suggests a glaring opportunity for advertisers to leverage CTV as a key channel for reaching and engaging audiences. This sort of adaptation would be advantageous through targeted advertising, as well as data-driven insights, resulting in a concise plan to reach the audiences heading away from traditional TV.