The news that Netflix is raising prices drove a flurry of social posts last week, suggesting that higher prices will cause viewers to be more selective about their streaming programming subscriptions. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but media companies, small and large, are making investments in free OTT (over-the-top/streaming) services. That didn’t come as a surprise to me because several months ago I spoke with Jack Perry, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Syncbak. His position at the time was that local broadcasters had a huge role to play in the future of streaming television and that more and more viewers would be getting their television through streaming services. Beyond the recent press, growth at Syncbak just since the summer bears that out.
As we enter 2019, brand marketers and media buyers have higher expectations than ever for television. Whether it's addressable or over the top, there have never been more ways for viewers to watch television and premium video and for media executives to buy and measure it. As valuable as these new tools are, they are still dwarfed by consumer viewership on, and brand investment in, traditional TV. According to Nielsen's Total Audience Report, most viewing today is still linear and live, and the $70 billion U.S. television market is still dominated by ad agencies' investments in network television. Brands need scale, association with brand-safe and relevant content, and proven effectiveness -- and agencies need ease of purchase and efficiency, all areas where traditional network television excel.
Almost 20 years ago, Amy Leifer was, as she is today, on the ground floor of a big movement in media. As Vice President of Sales Planning and Operations at Xandr Media, Leifer (pronounced Lifer) now leads a team of more than a hundred and oversees operations for the AT&T; unit's traditional and advanced TV ad products, including some of the most talked about and fast-growing advertiser tools and addressable television. But while her work today takes place in Xandr's Rockefeller Center headquarters, back in 1999 it began on the back of a napkin.