Streaming’s Ascension: How Strikes, Sports Rights and Political Ad Spend Are Shaping TV’s Future in 2024

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Cover image for  article: Streaming’s Ascension: How Strikes, Sports Rights and Political Ad Spend Are Shaping TV’s Future in 2024

2024 promises to be a watershed year for the TV and streaming industry, with a confluence of events including the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Writers Guild (WGA) strikes, the rapid migration of sports rights to streaming platforms, and an influx of political ad dollars. Each of these factors contributes to a shift that’s been in the making for years: the accelerating move from linear TV to streaming.

There should be no question that streaming, both video and audio, is the future of TV and Radio. In fact, streaming is already happening every day in nearly every home in the U.S. according to new research from Comscore on the State of Streaming 2023.

In a very bright light for the ad industry, consumers are also embracing ad supported tiers now more than ever but the forces at play stand to change TV forever.

1. The SAG and WGA Strikes: A Catalyst for Change

The recent strikes by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Writers Guild (WGA) have disrupted the traditional TV ecosystem. Major studios faced significant delays in the production of TV shows and movies, leading to gaps in the programming slate for many broadcasters. This created an opportunity for streaming platforms, which often have diverse content libraries and the agility to roll out new, often international, content rapidly. As viewers face a dearth of new content on linear TV, many will turn further to streaming platforms to fill the void, as they did during COVID, catalyzing an already burgeoning migration.

2. Sports Rights: Streaming’s New Frontier

For years, live sports were the last bastion of linear TV. It was believed that the immediacy and communal nature of watching sports would keep audiences tethered to traditional broadcasters. However, 2023 witnessed a seismic shift as major sporting events and leagues began striking deals with Apple, Amazon and other streaming platforms and many more are expected.

With tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple entering the bidding wars for sports rights, traditional broadcasters are finding it harder to compete. As more premier sporting events become exclusive to streaming, fans have compelling reasons to migrate, further chipping away at linear TV’s hold. The promise of streaming and sports for advertisers also means a new level of targeting and reporting often yearned for by advertisers and agencies, but out of reach due to broadcast's inability to provide data and insights.

Imagine a full Super Bowl, World Series or NCAA series entirely streamed where insights and targeting are possible. Not only does this offer opportunity for brands who once could never afford live sports, like local brands, but it also provides a view into insights that brands have dreamt about forever.

3. The Power of Political Ad Dollars

Political campaigns have always sought the most effective ways to reach voters. Traditionally, this meant heavy ad spends on linear TV with secure pricing. However, with the rise of targeted advertising capabilities, the significance of digital and insights on the ability to influence an election outcome and the power that streaming platforms can therefore provide, campaigns in 2023/24 are starting to allocate more of their TV and overall ad budgets towards streaming.

Streaming platforms offer campaigns advanced targeting, ensuring their messages reach specific demographics and interest groups with attribution and optimization not possible in TV. This efficiency not only makes political ad spend on streaming more attractive but also further legitimizes streaming platforms as primary content distributors.

To sum it all up, the trifecta of the SAG and WGA strikes, the transition of sports rights, and the allure of political ad dollars on streaming platforms signals a profound shift in the TV landscape. As viewers’ habits change and content distribution evolves, streaming platforms are poised to become the dominant force in the entertainment industry. For advertisers, content creators, and audiences alike, understanding and adapting to this new landscape will be essential for success in the years to come.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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