How news publishers can capitalize on the connected TV

CTV is a game-changer for struggling newspaper publishers facing print revenue decline. Streaming is booming, with 238 million CTV viewers in the U.S. in May 2023, and ad budgets are following suit. Statista predicts U.S. CTV ad spending to hit $25 billion in 2023, up 22% from 2022.

Local papers face the challenge of creating compelling video content, but emerging technologies make it feasible. Free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) platforms like Pluto TV and Tubi offer opportunities for local papers to tap into CTV ad revenue. High-quality TV spots are pricey, but AI video creation tools like Waymark and inVideo provide cost-effective solutions. These tools generate 15- to 30-second ads from simple text, logos, and images, making CTV advertising accessible to local advertisers.

Publishers can now use media buying platforms like Ribeye Media for simplified buying on FAST platforms, enabling precise geographic targeting. This CTV advertising boom is a lifeline for local newspapers adapting to print declines, offering advanced targeting and new revenue streams. Here’s a tailored approach for news publishers looking to navigate and thrive in the realm of CTV:

Embrace the Shift in Culture: Utilize CTV revenue as a robust foundation for journalism funding. The allure of CTV ad rates, reaching peaks of $60 CPMs or beyond, should guide publishers away from fixating on a $500 print ad with a 100% margin. Instead, consider the potential of a $20,000 CTV campaign at a 50% margin.

Freedom from O&O Limitations: In the past, a publisher’s limitations were dictated by circulation or digital audience. In the current landscape, constraints revolve around the number of advertisers engaged and the management of omnichannel ad spend. Prioritize what moves businesses forward; it may not always be print or website traffic. Align your sales compensation structure accordingly.

Geography Shouldn’t Be a Barrier: The scope of selling CTV advertising extends beyond local boundaries. If a local advertiser aims for broader geographic reach, enable them to target states or even countries. Manage the spend strategically.

Comprehensive Understanding and Ownership: The initial approach of outsourcing CTV requests to third-party providers is outdated. Given the financial and strategic significance of CTV, internalize the processes. Dedicate resources to maintain control and avoid compromising substantial margins.

Establish an Efficient Internal Workflow: Design a streamlined process encompassing the identification of advertiser needs, the utilization of AI creation tools, and the effective trafficking of ads to streaming channels.

Start Small, Optimize Gradually: Initiate CTV campaigns with a select group of advertisers; there’s no need for millions of impressions immediately. Evaluate results, optimize, and gradually expand.

Educate Your Advertisers: Given that many local ad buyers may not be well-versed in streaming and CTV, assume the role of a thought leader. Illuminate the benefits and guide them through the entire process.

Stay Informed on Industry Trends: CTV ad tech evolves swiftly. Stay abreast of the latest targeting techniques, measurement models, video formats, and other industry trends.

Seize the Moment: For local newspaper publishers, the time to venture into connected TV advertising is now. Begin by crafting impactful spots for key advertisers. As expertise grows, integrate more advanced tactics. A well-executed CTV strategy can serve as a transformative bridge for legacy media brands adapting to the digital era, offering more promise than digital display ever did—if approached correctly.

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