Guest Blog: Looking into the Media Crystal Ball for 2019

The Ward Group would like to thank Eric Atchley of Spectrum Reach for this guest blog.

The advertising industry is evolving at a rapid pace – what’s “in” this month may no longer be relevant the next. If you try to keep up with every twist and turn the industry takes, you’ll not only get some pretty bad whiplash, but you also won’t be able to plan strategically to make the most of new marketing opportunities.

As you plan your media buying strategy, Spectrum Reach’s industry experts put together the top five media trend projections for 2019.

  1. Data-driven solutions will lead to the adoption of audience-base buying

  2. TV will no longer be defined by the large screen in your living room

  3. The subscription VOD/OTT landscape will become more crowded

  4. Pay TV audiences will create more opportunities for marketers

  5. Blockchain will be a big topic of conversations among marketers and advertisers

1. Data-driven solutions will lead to the adoption of audience-base buying

The current media ecosystem is comprised of data companies, traditional media agencies, content providers, MVPDs (Multi-channel Video Programming Distributor), vMVPDs, and ad tech companies. The marketplace is anything but simple. The one thing each of these players can all agree on is the impact and importance of identifying and reaching targeted audiences, and thanks to the increased availability of data, that process is becoming more and more precise.

For television advertisers, advances in targeting and audience segmentation are enabling advertisers to reach their audiences directly. There are already 60MM addressable TV households across 8 MVPDs, with 30+ technologies and over 100 data partners.

Source: Nielsen, eMarketer; April 2018

2. TV will no longer be defined by the large screen in your living room

The average U.S. household with internet access has 10 connected devices, ranging from smartphones and tablets to PCs and gaming consoles. The average U.S. household also has an average of 2.9 TVs (.9 TVs may or may not become a thing in 2019), and time spent watching live video on TV has increased. But consumers no longer rely on just one device to watch premium video content, and your media buying strategy should reflect that.

Smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Smart TVs remain the most popular connected devices for consumers. Spectrum Reach Sr. Product Marketing Director Scott Eifert says that it’s now crucial to rethink what “TV” is. It’s not just the screen in our living rooms; it extends well beyond the home. “If you have the right audience data and targeting capabilities backing you, you can reach customers with any creative: pre-roll, short form, and more,” he says. “From live TV, On Demand content, network apps, to digital and search, your business can reach the right audience however they’re connected.”

Overall video use amounts to nearly 6 hours per day and includes time spent with a TV set, computer, smartphone, or tablet. Consumers will choose the platform that best suits their needs to view content whenever and wherever they want it.

Source: Nielsen Media Research Total Audience Report; Q1 2018

3. The subscription VOD/OTT landscape will become more crowded

Have you included streaming in your media buying strategy, yet? Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon aren’t alone. Today, there are 200+ subscription video-on-demand/over-the-top services in the marketplace. That’s an increase of 238% over the last year, as estimated by eMarketer.  As “convenience viewing” increases, more streaming solutions are surfacing to reach this fragmented audience.


int: for a growing percentage, the sheer volume of TV sources is getting to be a little too much.

Source: eMarketer U.S. Subscription Video Landscape 2018, comScore OTT Intelligence; U.S. April 2018. HUB Research; The Best Bundle Report; 2018

4. Pay TV audiences will create more opportunities for marketers

Despite the noise centered on pay TV subscribers declining, getting older, and consuming less video content, the MVPD subscriber is a highly attractive audience for marketers in 2019. According to the “What’s TV Worth” study by HUB.

Research, over three-quarters of subscribers still have a traditional pay TV subscription, while Cord Cutters and Cord Nevers represent just 13% and 10% of that same audience.

MVPD subscribers also tend to be much more passionate, avid TV fans than Cord Cutters (Don't have to pay TV now but did in the past) and Cord Nevers (Don't have to pay TV now and never have). They watch more shows, spend more time watching those shows, and view TV as an important form of entertainment.

Source: HUB Entertainment Research; 2018 What’s TV Worth; April 2018

5. Blockchain will be a big topic of conversations among marketers and advertisers

Over the last few years, Blockchain, an all-in-one crypto company, has garnered a lot of buzz amidst the Bitcoin cryptocurrency frenzy. The digital marketing and media industry are taking a closer look at whether this new technology could be a unique addition to a media buying strategy and help solve some industry challenges in 2019.

At its core, Blockchain provides value, trust, and reliability throughout the transaction process, which could address some of the current issues around transparency, fraud, and privacy. While it has yet to scale in digital advertising, this will be a big focus in 2019. We could see Blockchain being used in Ad Inventory Requisitions, Content Collaboration, Identity Management, Ad Display Verification, Media Buy Management, and more. We can definitely expect more media players to test, learn, and pilot this technology for the benefit of the local, regional, and national advertising ecosystem.

Source: eMarketer; Blockchain Promise Report; May 2018 and EY Blockchain Awareness Report

About Spectrum Reach

Spectrum Reach™ is the advertising sales division of Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR). Spectrum Reach offers targeted advertising solutions to national, regional, and local businesses utilizing 50+ national cable networks, 19 local news networks, 5 regional sports networks, digital advertising, including social, mobile, and search, all supported by marketing, research and production services.

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At The Ward Group, quality stewardship is something we hold in such high regard that we actually put it in our name - 'Media Stewards.'  


Stewardship is critical to ensuring the integrity of any media campaign is maintained throughout the process and that every media dollar is accounted for – from research and planning to invoice auditing and post analysis.

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