TV Is Anything But Linear  
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TV Is Anything But Linear  

How this season’s Upfronts are expected to shake up the marketing landscape 

Linear, by definition, refers to a single dimension or straight line. Any marketer navigating the TV ecosystem knows that is the farthest thing from our current reality. In a world where Linear TV was once seen as a straight path, we’re exploring the unconventional twists in planning and buying, particularly as the upcoming Upfronts promise to influence the marketing landscape throughout 2024 and beyond. 

Change at every corner 

As consumers, our access points to content are more expansive and our viewing behavior has evolved. As marketers, we’ve gone from one way of buying to a dynamic makeup of buying approaches, data sets, and measurement alternatives. You add streaming into the mix and TV looks more like a web of possibilities than a straight line of execution.  

As the 2024 Upfront season kicks off, advertisers, agencies, and network groups eagerly await the next iteration of TV. Traditionally led by broadcast and cable network teams, Upfronts were showcases for upcoming content, guiding advertisers to commit to long-term media dollars. However, we’re seeing this process change. Data, interoperability, and streaming counterparts are equally featured alongside announcements promoting upcoming content and talent. Established participants like Paramount are moving away from the standard event format, shifting to virtual, and more personalized interactions. We’re also seeing newcomers like Amazon and YouTube have joined the Upfront pack, underscoring the evolving definition of TV. 

Implications for Media Buying 

Our Chief Strategy Officer, Scott Ensign was recently featured in Exchange Wire stating,  

“The TV space is changing rapidly, and innovation will be the most important dimension of its future. With increased streaming fragmentation and limited ad-supported inventory, marketers will have to focus on reaching more targeted audiences, and platforms will have to focus on enhancing the user experience. This will require innovation in a space that has largely stayed the same for decades.”  

We’re already seeing this innovation pull through in strategic audience planning, data-driven approaches, and programmatic buying options, offering alternatives to the conventional Linear TV model.  While a general demo-based approach suits certain advertisers, Addressable, Data-Driven, and Programmatic strategies have paved the way for other advertisers who previously couldn’t justify investments within the Linear TV space.  

At Butler/Till, we understand that Video tactics cannot be planned in silos and there is no singular outcome. The convergence from traditional to streaming is undeniable and both need to be considered simultaneously and rooted in richer audience consumption behaviors to find success. Our teams build strategic plans, selecting specific video channels and partners that align with clients’ objectives and audience behaviors to get them the best results available on the market. 

TV isn’t dead; if anything, it’s reborn. We’ve seen the growth of Linear TV and how it allows for a more dynamic and interconnected landscape. As marketers, we’re excited about this evolution as the future promises a more flexible, accountable, and personalized TV advertising experience. 

As you navigate the upcoming 2024 Upfronts, if you have any questions or want to learn more about Butler/Till’s process, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Linear TV experts. 

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