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OTT vs. CTV: A Beginner’s Guide

The placement of advertising content has changed dramatically over the last few years. Print, radio, and television used to rule the marketing world, but there are multiple new players on the field, all with their own advantages. Television especially has seen dramatic changes, most people now opting for a streaming service or smart TV instead of basic cable. While interest in traditional cable television has been slowly declining, streaming services and digital media players only continue to rise in popularity. In order to find the best strategy for your video advertising, we’ll break down the difference between two new giants: OTT and CTV.

What’s the Difference Between OTT and CTV? 

OTT: OTT, short for “over the top”, is video content that is played via the Internet rather than through traditional cable or satellite television. While this can be confused for the device you are watching from, it means the platform rather than the device. Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ are all examples of OTT, as this video content is accessed through an Internet connection. You could be utilizing OTT with many different devices, from your laptop, phone, or smart TV.

CTV: CTV, or connected TV, are the physical devices used to access video content on the Internet. The details start to get complex, but there are three primary categories by which to be clarified. CTV could be a gaming console like a Playstation, streaming stick like a Roku, or any general smart TV.

We get it, all these acronyms can get confusing. You’re not alone, the specifics can make anyone’s head spin at first glance. Think of it this way: The majority of OTT content is viewed with the help of a CTV. A common metaphor is that OTT acts as a pipe or straw delivering the content, and CTV is the device that it travels to. OTT covers the delivery of the content, CTV covers the physical device you stream from.

What’s the Significance for Advertisers? 

As interest in cable television has declined, interest in OTT and CTV has exploded. As of 2020, over 80% of homes have at least one connected TV, and the market is only continuing to grow. Here are a few benefits of advertising via OTT or CTV:

  • Higher Engagement: These viewers are typically more engaged in the content they’re steaming, and often cannot skip advertisements. 
  • Brand Security: Unlike other platforms where the message can be changed, OTT and CTV offer high security for high-quality delivery. 
  • Lower Costs: CTV advertising especially can be much cheaper than traditional broadcast television advertising costs. 
  • Targeting: With advanced data, OTT and CTV can often find your target audience much easier. 
  • Reach: Because OTT is platform-based rather than device-based, you are able to reach audiences without a traditional television in the home. 

While there’s certainly much more to learn, getting started with OTT and CTV is not as intimidating as it seems. With a few basics in mind, you’re better able to decide where to spend your advertising dollars. Plus, if you still feel a bit lost, AdVentures Media Solutions is here to help! Our team can help create a budget and strategy for your OTT and CTV advertisements.

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