Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Beyond ads: why brands should create their own CTV channels

by Tetyana Seredyuk,  Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at VlogBox

With consumers seeing up to 10,000 ads a day, creating a distinguished branding strategy is a challenge companies everywhere face in 2022. As a result, brands must pursue novel and innovative approaches to define their public image – something connected television (CTV) is perfectly poised to help with. 

Here, we discuss the branding potential Connected TV offers companies, and how to help brands create and leverage their own channels to reach new audiences across streaming platforms, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and more. 

The truth about market adoption

The key to any successful branding strategy is to approach audiences on their media platform of choice. This platform is constantly changing, from billboards to magazines, television, website ads, social media ads, and mobile devices.

With 92% of U.S. households reachable via CTV open programmatic advertising in Q2 2022, up 11% year-over-year, it’s obvious that CTV is rapidly turning into a profitable marketing space for brands. It’s also clear that U.S. viewers are more accepting of adverts in streaming content, with ad-supported services growing by 29% in 2022 compared to 2020 vs a 21% increase in subscription-based services for the same time period. Companies such as Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max are all responding to this increased appetite for ad-supported content by offering AVOD tiers by the end of 2022.   

Companies can benefit from a branded CTV channel in several ways. Primarily, it’s a unique branding approach that gives them total control over IPs, and provides significant opportunities to diversify into other monetization streams, such as E-commerce and product placement. In addition, it’s a relatively uncompetitive arena, with a massive, growing, and engaged viewership ready for brands to tap into.

First-mover advantage?

Most brands are still focusing their marketing budgets on other mediums, primarily social media and paid display, leaving the CTV marketplace so far unsaturated. Using these other mediums, as well as CTV, is still important for maximum reach, as brands can build a diverse cross-platform presence over social media, search, DOOH, CTV, linear television, radio, podcasts, print, and in-app advertising. This strategy can help unify a fragmented audience while at the same time capitalizing on reduced competition in the CTV market.  

But brands need to start diversifying away from exclusively using these established channels – not least because of how expensive they’re becoming. Advertising spend in the U.S. has increased by 14% and is expected to exceed $1,000 per person by the end of the year. This stiff financial competition, coupled with the sheer number of brands advertising on these channels, makes it challenging for small, medium, and emerging brands to gain recognition, making the relatively uncompetitive CTV advertising space, with its large, ad-tolerant viewer base, an ideal branding avenue for companies of all sizes.

The potential of branded CTV

The CTV ecosystem offers companies a chance to do more than put advertisements in front of a target audience. It presents an innovative branding opportunity where companies can create, promote and monetize their own branded channels to capture, engage and grow niche audiences. 

Several vital considerations make branded channels such an exciting opportunity. First, Connected TV shows improved performance in several key metrics, such as brand searches, product purchases, and store visits. Dedicated branded channels also offer the opportunity for improved engagement, audience growth, and interactive shopping experiences. Recently, Walmart and streaming platform Roku announced a significant partnership that enables viewers to buy featured products from shoppable ads, bringing the Ecommerce experience to CTV and offering enormous monetization options through merchandise and product placement endorsements.  

A dedicated channel also allows brands to diversify their genre, animation, and content style, appealing to a broader range of audiences and further engaging current viewers. For example, the LEGO Group successfully launched their own CTV channel with over 1,000 videos, featuring different franchises like LEGO Jurassic World, LEGO Marvel, and LEGO Ninjago, while also including behind-the-scenes footage of how professional LEGO sets and material are professionally built. 

Captivating an audience in such a manner can help brands tell a much more compelling, wholesome story to their viewership. Providing comprehensive coverage of production processes also helps audiences appreciate the care and effort it takes for a brand to create their products, which further endears that brand to their followers. A dedicated CTV channel is one of the only ways a brand can feasibly hope to achieve such a goal. 

The relatively low level of competition, rapid market adoption of CTV by viewers, increased viewer appetite for ad-supported content, and affordability of marketing on the platform means that there’s a huge opportunity at the moment for brands reach a larger, more engaged, and highly profitable audience. However, the opportunity won’t stay like this for long. CTV ad spending is projected to exceed $27 billion by 2027, more than double what it is now, bringing more prominent brands with bigger budgets. Those who act first will undoubtedly enjoy the best results.