Insights…From Our
Desk to Yours


This will be the first in a series of joint articles about Streaming TV from McGann Media Group and KONETiQ. We will cover the basics in this one to give us a foundation for the next pieces where we will explore everything from limitations in video, to new innovations, to the super click-baity title of “You are Probably Missing the Best Advertising Opportunity in the Last Twenty Years” – okay that is probably too long to use, but you get the point. The goal is to help you understand the video ecosystem, how it works and who the players are. In addition to laying the foundation in this one, we have also laid out some typical CPMs you should expect to pay.


The title here is a straight rip from the title to a presentation that a friend of mine used a number of years ago. But… it is perfect to describe the confusion surrounding “Digital Television,” I mean… you are reading this right? Why would we not just use one of the acronyms above? Well for starters, it’s because they are not technically synonymous; each of those acronyms mean something specific, though people use them interchangeably to reference the idea of streaming long-form content on a device. We’ll get to the idea of long-form content in a minute, but first a bit geeking out about the acronyms:

  • OTT – Over the Top – a reference to where the stream device sat in relation the cable box (literally over the top of it), OTT is streaming video that is mostly “streaming TV,” though some providers have hijacked it by stringing together a bunch of shorter content segments and sticking ads in between (look up the FailArmy channel on your streaming device for an example).
  • CTV – Connected TV – sometimes also called “Smart TV,” this is specifically referencing the type of device, i.e. TV that is connected to the internet. Because of this, it does not actually refer to the content.
  • FEP – Full Episode Programming/Player – this is actually the closest to capturing the whole of streaming TV, but very few people understand it and fewer still use it consistently.
  • OLV – Online Video – short-form video that sometimes gets referred to as “Pre-Roll,” though it can be before, after or during a short video. The most common way to think of this is YouTube-style videos (YouTube is mostly UGC, but OLV can be either produced or UGC)
  • UGC – User Generated Content – Content produced at the individual level vs being content from a studio.

Why Long-Form Matters

There are two core types of video content on the internet, and it is important to distinguish between them. There’s long-form and short-form content, and the most critical distinction is that short-form content is not, in fact, Streaming TV. So, what’s the difference? To begin with, long-form references content that is generally longer than 20 minutes. Short-form content is usually less than 20 min and should go by OLV (Online Video). Sometimes it can also be called ‘Pre-Roll,’ though that is a misnomer as OLV can have pre-, mid-, or post-roll ads. Think of the difference in content length like this: a football game vs the highlights reel, or a movie vs the trailer. For simplicity’s sake, we will use Digital TV going forward to reference long-form media and OLV for short-form.

So why would it be important to delineate the two? There are a lot of reasons – from how to engage people using the psychology of lean-forward vs lean back, to how it is bought, to click-ability, but the really important reasons are centered around availability of targeting and reporting. In general, Streaming TV does not give you very robust options for either, whereas advertising in the short-form ecosystem almost always does.

The reason that this matters, is that there are a LOT of vendors out there selling you on “OTT” or “CTV” (ostensibly long-form formats), when much of the inventory is made up of OLV. Why would they do that? Well, OLV is usually significantly cheaper, and it adds more robust targeting and reporting. This represents a classic “bait and switch” model of selling. You are sold on idea of TV and instead you get between 20% and 80% remnant, non-TV inventory. Oftentimes the salesperson knocking on your door does not even know the difference and so is not actively trying to deceive you. That said, we do think it is incumbent on salespeople to know not only their products, but also how they fit into their clients’ media plans. In our experience, more often than not, what vendors are selling is this mixed offering. It’s completely fine to choose to run your media this way, as long as your vendor makes it clear that this is what you are buying, and it’s acceptable to you.

There are a lot of reasons to not run a mixed media approach under one buy. For starters, OLV is a mid-funnel execution. It gives you targeting and reporting that is very detailed and robust, it means your ads are clickable and often skippable, and it also means that most of your ads run on the small screen – tablets, phones, and computers. Success is measured as CPCV (Cost per Completed View). Digital TV on the other hand has more limited targeting and reporting and mostly runs on the big screen. This, plus the fact that CPCV should be about equal to CPM, makes Digital TV an awareness tactic – though there are ways to adjust some interesting innovations on the horizon (more about that in a forthcoming article).

What to Do Now

So… what now? Well, to start please follow both McGann Media Group and KONETiQ to make sure you see the rest of our forthcoming Streaming TV content, and other articles we are planning. This one was just a primer on the streaming front; in the next ones in this series, we are going to get specific on topics. I the meantime below you will find a chart of expected CPMs you should be in the ballpark of with your current agency. If you are well above these numbers, you should have a conversation with your vendor (and then maybe a conversation with us).

What I Should Expect to Pay for Video Advertising:

Digital TV (OTT, CTV, FEP)

  • Adults: $35-$45
  • Adults + Targeting (Auto Intender, Travel Shopper, Millennials, $100k HHI, etc.): $35-$55
  • Adults + Targeting + Downstream Reporting: $40-$60
  • Adults + QR Code: +$2-$3 CPM Increase
  • Adults with at least 50% guaranteed placement (Cable TV Networks, specific publishers, etc.): $45-$60
  • Direct Placements (Hulu, Netflix, etc.): $30-$100 – usually has a minimum spend in the $10,000-$250,000 range

Online Video (Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll…don’t buy Post-Roll)

  • Adults: $12-$20
  • Adults + Targeting + Downstream Reporting: $15-$25
  • Adults + QR Code: +$2-$3 CPM Increase

Mixed Video

  • This is 100% tied to the mix ratio between Streaming TV and OLV
  • Yay Math… Force the vendor to tell you the mix so you can calculate an appropriate CPM.
  • e.g. (50/50 mix): $25-$35

All This to Say…

If a vendor wants to charge you more than the rates above, hold them accountable in being very specific about what the extra layer is actually doing for you – and why it is worth an extra upcharge.

Thank you for taking the time to engage with McGann Media Group’s and KonetiQ’s inaugural co-authored piece! If you have questions, or just want someone to give an opinion on your vendor’s program, please just send us a direct message.

We’ll be happy to help.