TV Advertising in a Multiscreen World

TV Viewership has changed in many ways over the past few years, and the days when a family would sit down to watch a scheduled program at night are long gone. Along with all the streaming and on demand options, the addition of the second screen has had a huge impact as people browse social media, work, or play games while the TV is on. While this seems like bad news for DRTV advertisers, there are ways that these behaviors can actually build engagement too.

1. On-Demand Viewing

Traditional TV schedules can be less relevant now as on-demand streaming services let viewers watch the content they like whenever they want. But this behavior allows DRTV advertisers to better target specific viewers through CTV advertising, build engagement through QR codes, and even retarget those viewers over the next few days.

2. Multi-Tasking

Since viewers are muti-tasking anyhow, the second screen is an opportunity to build search activity based on your DRTV ads. Memorable phrases, prominent brand placement, and a well thought out SEO strategy can lead to more visits based on your ads.

3. Personalized Content Consumption

Streaming services use algorithms to recommend content based on individual preferences, leading to a personalized viewing experience. While this can further fragment attention as viewers switch between different shows or genres based on their mood or interests, it also builds a profile that allows advertisers to target the right prospects.

4. Social Viewing Experiences

Despite the rise of individualized viewing habits, social viewing experiences still exist, particularly for live events like sports or award shows. During the 2023-24 TV season, the top 3 programs were all weekly NFL football broadcasts, so advertising during this programming has continued to hold.

5. Emergence of New Content Formats

Short-form content and web series, often found on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, are gaining popularity, especially among younger audiences. These formats cater to the shorter attention spans and on-the-go lifestyles of modern viewers and allow new ways to advertise that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

6. Memorable Ads Still Work

In an advertising class years ago, we had a long conversation about the “best” ads of the day, and people talked about the characters, locations, jokes, and tag lines that stood out. Toward the end of the conversation, the professor broke in and asked who the advertiser was, and most people had no idea, and he reminded us that those were in fact terrible ads at that point. Ads that are relevant, memorable, and stand out will always work, no matter how much viewer habits change.


Overall, the multiscreen environment has made TV viewership more flexible, personalized, and interactive, significantly impacting the traditional television industry and paving the way for innovative viewing experiences that still allow DRTV advertisers to succeed.