Linear TV

What Is linear TV?

Linear TV is another term for traditional broadcast television, which is programmed and watched as scheduled, and is not streamed to specific users on demand. It generally caters to prime-time viewing, which is when most people are in front of their screens. 

The term ‘linear’ refers to the method by which television programs and content are consumed. Rather than on-demand viewing, which can happen at any time and in just about any order (as is the case with all modern streaming services), linear programming, as the name suggests, is viewed according to a predetermined broadcasting schedule, in a predetermined order.

Changes in consumer’s consumption habits have greatly impacted the way marketers perceive linear TV – in fact, according to Ebiquity, linear TV will see an estimated 21% fall in commercial impact by 2025.

How does linear TV work?

For most linear TV programming, pre-recorded programming plays on a set schedule. These days, that programming is hosted on servers and software is used to determine both the time slots for the shows and the accompanying advertisements. 

The exception is live events, where raw footage is received, edited in real-time, and sent to viewers on a slight delay.

Benefits and challenges for advertisers

On-demand streaming on CTV platforms is quickly pulling ad revenue away from traditional broadcast TV advertisers, and the challenges include declining viewership and little ability to measure or attribute conversions accurately, but that doesn’t mean linear advertising is over, and it still has a few unique benefits. These include:

  • The ability to advertise during live events: Advertising during live sporting events, news shows, or shows where the audience votes to determine outcomes, live event advertising can bring in valuable business. 
  • Reaching older demographics: Around 38% of individuals who are 55 and older spend more time watching linear TV on cable than on any other platform, versus 21% of Gen Xers, 16% of Millennials, and only 9% of Zoomers.

Segmenting by air time, channel, show, or region: Although advanced audience targeting options are limited compared to CTV, linear still allows targeting viewers by channel, air time, or show, as well as the region of broadcast.

Interested in learning more?

Keep up with the latest mobile gaming trends.

Visit our blog
Resources Company