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GhanaWeb started GhanaWeb TV, as the first mobile TV station that brings our video content to the consumer anytime, anywhere. The video content can be consumed at the choice of the consumer and that is really different from linear TV.

Why do I write this article? Well, we have noticed that quite some advertisers that spend their money on TV are not fully aware of the new developments and what opportunities the new technologies and new channels offer. But first some introduction on these developments.

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Let’s Start With the Basics

When you’re comparing linear vs. streaming for your advertising strategy, it helps to know the difference between them.

Linear viewing refers to the traditional television model where consumers watch content that the provider presents. Linear advertising can also mean Connected TV (CTV) and Over-the-Top (OTT) options. The user watches a program and is served a commercial or in case of streamed TV a pre roll banner ad or another video. The platform or network selects content, creating a passive viewer experience. Another challenge comes from certain DVR services that allow the viewer to fast forward through or skip ads on recorded programming. 

Streaming or mobile TV gives the viewer control of their experience. They choose what they want to watch on demand and can start, pause, rewind, and fast forward content. The streaming model is now the preferred method of watching television for consumers in the US and Western Europe. Time spent streaming surpassed linear viewing in 2019 and has continued to increase over time.

Benefits Comparison

Linear content consumption has been around for a long time and is familiar for users. Decades of data are internationally available to understand the demographics of viewers on different networks. This data shows how to best engage consumers with advertisements. One way to boost linear ad engagement is to purchase spots during the morning or evening news. This is when viewers are more “tuned” into the program and less likely to skip or miss ads. However, the lack of consumer control is the primary downfall of linear viewing. Some consumers flip through channels rather than watching ads. Others change the channel to avoid watching commercials. Sometimes the Television is on but the possible audience does not pay (enough) attention to what is happening on the screen. Many don’t want their viewing experience dictated by the provider anymore. 

Streaming services allow the consumer to choose what they watch at any time and creates several key benefits to advertisers:

  • As noted in a recent Think With Google Article, “According to a Google-commissioned Nielsen study, YouTube reached more adults ages 18 to 49 in the U.S. than all linear TV networks combined in March 2020.” Read Article >>
  • Promotion on streaming services means advertisers are reaching an audience that can easily be tracked. While some streaming ads are not clickable, it’s still possible to capture view-through traffic. Some platforms. Like GhanaWeb TV can pair an ad viewed through streaming with a website visit, providing evidence and ad effectiveness. 
  • Subscriptions within streaming platforms have concerned advertisers who feared they’d be unable to reach a majority of users. However, ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) that is being embraced by GhanaWeb TV is the fastest growing viewing platform. 
  • Trends show AVOD reach more viewers than linear. AVOD is also growing faster in average time spent than subscription video (like Netflix) on demand.

What Does This Mean For Your Strategy?

Unsure whether to include linear or streaming ads in your strategy? Consider who you’re trying to reach with what message. Does research show that your ideal audience tends to watch certain networks or types of programming? Do they use mobile devices to consume content or is television their go-to? If you’re unsure, consider doing some research or deeper analysis to define your audience or trying to attribute some of your advertising budget to an AVOD provider like GhanaWeb TV. 

To reach a wider audience, advertising on both streaming and linear services is your best option. Customize the ad type and messaging to connect with distinct audiences on different platforms while maintaining a cohesive brand voice. An ad on traditional network television should be crafted with that format in mind and not used interchangeably with ads built for streaming services. On GhanaWeb TV, we can even stitch your existing commercial to our streamed video content.

The AVOD measures exactly how many viewers there are and if there is an action to be monitored, how many times that happens. For TV-planning purposes the specialists work with a frequency optimum. The assumption is that the optimal impact of a commercial is that consumers are exposed to the commercial with a frequency of not more than 5-6 contacts. Any more contacts than the optimal frequency is considered waste. To phrase it bluntly, we mean advertising money that is thrown away. If TV budgets are only spent with a few big TV stations, then the risk of overexposure to more than 5-6 contacts will increase. Every TV network has a solid base with hard core viewers. There is no use showing them a specific commercial over and over again. That will not contribute to the return on investment of your TV advertising. Therefore, we advise you to allocate your TV budget diligently to more TV stations in order to reduce the risk of waste.

Since GhanaWeb TV, with its mobile TV proposition, reaches another target group, it is quite likely it will add to the audience you already reach and decrease the risk of waste due to overexposure of your commercial.

As more consumers shift to streaming platforms, your budget should transfer accordingly. An international report carried out on behalf of Samsung reports that:

  • Streaming commands 63% of consumer viewing time and is expected to follow the same trend. 
  • 75% of Samsung viewers spend 87% of their time streaming vs 13% watching linear programming. 
  • Advertisers who continue to solely invest in traditional linear advertising are missing 7 in 10 viewers

Four key linear vs. streaming takeaways:

Advertising within streaming and linear services provides brand lift. They should be used in tandem with other tactics that guide the consumer toward consideration and conversion. Your goal should be to increase brand awareness and ad recall across multiple channels, not rely solely on these ads to drive visitation.
Deliver impressions that inspire, spark imagination, and encourage the viewer to seek out additional information about your destination. Tailor your brand message to the platform your ad appears on. On AVOD, like GhanaWeb TV, you can add a call to action to the ad experience. Your contacts are clickable to reach your call center, your customer service or your email directly.
While linear advertising is still valuable to reach particular audiences, destinations need to consider the audiences they aren’t reaching if they don’t incorporate streaming. All signs are pointing toward streaming services becoming the primary placement to reach consumers while they watch TV. Mobile TV gives the viewer the opportunity to see video content, anywhere, anytime.
In the current TV marketplace of Ghana, it seems obvious that allocating part of your TV budget to AVOD will reduce your advertising waste, and reach a larger and substantial  audience.
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