Digital Advertising Series: Stream Big – But Stream Smart

December 8, 2022

Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, HBO Max, Discovery+

With the seemingly endless list of streaming services available to advertisers, it can be hard to tell where the value really lies.

Not all streaming services are equally effective – and you can’t assume the latest is always the greatest (well, you could – but you’d be wrong). Testing each provider can be time consuming and costly if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Good news 🎉: the PLUS team has already done the research and testing to help you achieve your streaming dreams.

Our tips to help you stream big:

Distinguish between Subscribers and Ad-Supported Subscribers
There is a trend in the up and coming streaming services to release their subscriber number, but not specify their ad-supported subscriber number.

This is an important distinction. Although 26M platform subscribers sounds great, that is not how many users advertisers can actually reach. Ad-supported subscribers are essential to understanding how many users in a target audience can be reached.

We tested two of the newest streaming providers (Paramount+ and Peacock) with the same target audience, budget and flight dates – to get an understanding of how they compare in terms of cost and reach.

At the onset, Paramount+ had a higher CPM compared to Peacock, but throughout the campaign, Paramount+ reached 2x more users compared to Peacock. This resulted in Paramount+ reaching unique users for a third of the cost compared to Peacock.

Evaluate Ad Load Time
Every streaming provider has a set amount of ads they allow per hour to protect the user experience – also known as ad load time. New providers are incentivized to keep ad load time low to attract new users and grow their ad-supported subscriber base.

This impacts the amount of inventory available to advertisers.

When inventory is in limited supply, it requires providers to increase their CPM’s to handle demand. This isn’t to say the least expensive option is always the best (as the above Paramount+ versus Peacock example highlights), rather, the budget should be scaled based on unique users reached and the average cost-per-completed second on each platform.

It’s also important to remember that ad load time is not set in stone – and providers will update it as subscriber bases grow. A provider may not be the right fit for your campaign today, but that doesn’t necessarily extend to tomorrow.

All in all, there is a lot of glitz and glamor in the streaming circuit. As these services continue to proliferate, we make it a point to stay on top of the data to ensure our clients get the strongest campaigns from the smartest buys.

Contact us to see how PLUS can help you stream smart.