2019 Travel & Tourism Trends: A Digital Marketer’s Programmatic Passport – Part 1

Summer is a little over a month away and digital consumers are just a search, scroll, and click away from taking advantage of the flexibility that the season grants, as many take a break from their day-to-day and book the perfect getaway. As one of the largest industries, projected to reach $2.4 trillion in the next ten years, digital marketers need to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, especially as consumers continue to utilize online booking capabilities. Nearly half of travelers begin trip planning with a search engine, 30% on social media and 23% watch videos, so utilizing the power of digital advertising and ensuring your brand is front-and-center in the planning process is key. It’s essential for marketers/media planners to understand the different types of travelers, how they are deciding where to go, when they’re booking and how to reach them in order to execute a winning programmatic campaign. So, Digilant has complied an infographic, based on industry research and insights, outlining the answers to all these questions.
Download the infographic here.

Part 1: The Different Types of Travelers

People of different generations will be jumping on planes, renting cars, and exploring various areas of the globe this summer for a number of reasons. Whether venturing for business or relaxation, travel consumerism is on the rise. Looking into who is traveling and why, (especially far in advance) can determine how and when your company engages with the right audience. Generations respond to ads in different ways, at different times. To resonate with targets best, consider Digilant’s findings regarding this year’s most impactful groups of travelers:

Who will be traveling in 2019?
The Dominant Force (baby boomers): Those born between 1946 and 1964, will be the dominant group of travelers in 2019. They are projected to go on 4 to 5 trips this year, particularly on longer vacations based around upgraded accommodations. This group puts an emphasis on finding the best hotel rooms, flight arrangements, and dining plans, which explains why they spend 20 to 50% more on trips than any other group. They secure excursions far in advance –  31% already booked 2019 trips by September 2018 – and actively keep tabs on future vacations. They will be traveling internationally this year, (over 40% of international travelers will be going to Europe) and domestically.
The Last Minute Travelers (Millennials): This group is also expected to take 4 to 5 trips in 2019. What’s unique about this group, however, is their universal expertise in planning at the very last minute. They leap at the opportunity to go on authentic, transformative experiences and approach their planning processes in sporadic ways. They’re not just searching for a beautiful destination – they’re searching for a destination chock-full of inspirational activities. And if that comes together a month (or week) in advance, they’ll make it happen. Because of their delayed interest in the thrill, millennials have quickly come to represent $50 billion worth of travel consumerism in the US.

Traveling for the #Gram (Gen Z):  These consumers have a completely different approach to traveling. They’ll be taking around 3 trips this year, many journeying to picturesque locations around the globe. They prioritize aesthetic and are heavily swayed by travel-based images and videos found on social media. 40% prioritize Instagrammability when choosing a destination and 51% want to go somewhere new, especially a place their friends haven’t been to before. The joy in being able to post from a vacation spot before anyone else is what compels them to invest the time and money into traveling elsewhere.
These three groups have unique travel interests, timelines and budgets so clumping them all into one big group of “travelers” is not an effective way to reach and interact with them. Utilizing programmatic tactics that allow you to specifically hone in on your ideal target is essential when determining where to place your media dollars. Interested in learning more about how to properly target different travelers in 2019? Reach out to us here.

2019 AMIN Integrated Conference Recap: Emerging Digital Channels

By: Hannah Sturgeon, Campaign Solutions Analyst and Ariel Howard, Campaign Solutions Manager

On Tuesday, April 16th, my colleague, Ariel Howard, and I attended the AMIN (Advertising and Marketing Independent Network) Integrated Conference where our CEO, Raquel Rosenthal, moderated a panel on how today’s independent agencies are leveraging newly emerging digital channels for their clients and what challenges and rewards come with integrating these channels into a brand’s media mix. The network, comprised of nearly thirty independent advertising agencies from across the country offering services ranging from creative, public relations, print, digital, and everything in between, joins together almost 100 senior marketers. Digilant was lucky enough to have a dynamic discussion between three of them:

All expert media buying professionals, Walt, Paige, and Cheryl gave us their take on everything from digital audio, DOOH, influencer marketing, programmatic TV, first party data modeling, personalization, attribution, and more. This is our summary of what was said and what we took away from the event. The responses from the panelists are not a word for word account of what was said upon answering each question.


Raquel kicked off the panel asking the group the following:

What new channels excite you personally and what will you be using more in 2019?

Cheryl jumped in first and talked about the excitement that she and her team at Signal Theory have around the advancements being made in programmatic TV, specifically leveraging OTT platforms through CTV (Connected TV). After working on an addressable TV campaign for six years targeting rural households of cattle producers through purchasing ad inventory on linear television in counties with high cattle populations, the prospect of executing a campaign that reaches the same audience leveraging the individual viewing habits of users within a DMA and deterministic matching to increase conversions and ROAS is highly appealing. Paige echoed Cheryl’s excitement surrounding CTV, noting that for Slingshot it has facilitated the connection of the digital and broadcast worlds. Audio Content Recognition (ACR) allows her agency to get a better understanding of what content audiences have been exposed to while they’re watching TV and then remarket to these audiences while they’re scrolling through Instagram and other social platforms on their mobile device and watching video content in their living room.
Despite privacy being a top concern for consumers and advertisers in today’s market, Walt loves that things are getting highly personalized in the digital space through multilayer targeting. A few years back, he and his colleagues were discussing a whiskey brand in the office and a half hour later began receiving banner ads for the brand. With home assistants becoming a standard item in U.S. homes, the opportunities that voice search marketing presents are very promising.

Which new channels present the greatest challenges, inefficiencies, or unknowns for your clients’ marketing efforts?

Influencer marketing is one channel that Cheryl feels is going downhill quickly, with frequent cases of what should come across as a genuine endorsement of a brand turning into a “DJ testimonial.” Although a lot of her clients are interested in adding it to their media mix, if it’s not authentic, then influencer marketing can go bad really quickly. It needs to make sense and brands need to partner with an influencer who will be a true evangelist of their product or service.

Paige noted that one of the biggest hurdles her team has when presenting new channels is navigating concerns that the channel won’t naturally integrate into the client’s media mix. She chimed back to what Walt mentioned regarding the high levels of personalization and targeting that can be achieved through mediums like voice that some clients think will come across as invasive. Although similar levels of data collection may be occurring through other channels that they’re already running media on, their mindsets aren’t there yet.

Walt also struggles with explaining to clients the benefits of more niche channels, such as DOOH. If there isn’t a billboard on their way into work or right outside of their office, they don’t want to do it. However, now that these new types of inventory are biddable, brands are slowly beginning to come around to them. Additionally, trying to define what OTT is and what it isn’t, while also explaining how different platforms like Hulu fit into it, has been a challenge.

 


How are traditional channels working with digital channels and are they starting to merge? Are the budgets still broken out and siloed, or is it treated as one budget planned by one media team.

Although budgets are continuously shifting to be more digitally-focused, Cheryl underscored that you can’t put everything into digital and need to have a robust media mix. The Signal Theory media planning team decides what forms of media they’ll run on through thorough research of their clients’ customers’ behavior. Their planners are channel agnostic and both plan and buy for the client to provide a holistic view of the campaign from start to finish. Paige said that her team members work similarly. Everything is planned around campaign goals and they often set up flowcharts broken out by video for example, where digital video, broadcast, and other mediums are all included together rather than divided out by traditional and digital. For Walt, traditional and digital have merged together based on where they can best reach different target audiences. With the rise of cord cutting and expansion of OTT platforms it’s harder to market to younger through traditional TV advertising, so a single campaign aiming to reach a broad range of age demographics will involve purchasing ads on channels like Hulu through CTV and linear TV to younger and older audiences respectively.

Do you have an attribution strategy for media performance across channels?


There’s still a long way to go to make implementing
multi-touch attribution for omni-channel media buying campaigns a seamless process. Cheryl and Paige note that there’s so much data required from the client across the board from offline to online efforts that all contribute to sales, but more often than not clients associate results with last touch attribution. Paige cites a campaign of a client that wanted to drive form completions of home leasing applications that saw programmatic display as the last touchpoint before converting. Although they were using additional channels, like audio and video, they couldn’t directly see that without those higher funnel tactics, their conversion rate would be lower.


Client data is the most powerful data out there. Let’s talk about our clients giving us access so we can reach their audience.

A commonality in the responses from each panelist was that there’s generally a want from both the advertiser and the agency to have the brand’s first party data shared, however, clients don’t know how to handle their data or aren’t fully equipped to do so. In these instances, Cheryl’s team pulls in members of their analytics team to explain to their account managers what reporting and insights will look like based on the data to which they do have access. If CRM data or an email list can be shared that’s most helpful, but otherwise Paige and her colleagues at Slingshot will use second or third party data to make their campaigns as smart as possible, customizing targeting and messaging to reach customers in a more personalized and relevant way.
At Richter7 the degree to which they’ve been able to leverage first party data has been truly unique to each client according to Walt. He’s had clients that face restrictions when even simply exporting email lists to those that have gathered data from their POS systems along with users’ matching credit card data to create audiences based on loyalty and then load those custom audiences to Facebook to then activate the data to run campaigns against them. Having access to this level of granular data yields incredible insights and can help him and his team decide where digital media is or isn’t working.

Before the event concluded, Raquel opened up the discussion to receive questions from the audience.

 

To what degree are you telling clients in advance that you’ll be able to hit a conversion goal beyond awareness?

Given the multifaceted nature of the campaigns that agencies are taking on in 2019, all of the panelists emphasized that it’s difficult to determine what they can promise to deliver to their clients beyond awareness. Despite some clients asking to receive guaranteed lifts in sales, Cheryl and Walt both said that they instead establish front end benchmarks for KPIs that they determine by referencing industry research or historical data from previous campaigns. Although it’s a challenging conversation to have with the client, it’s essential to be transparent. Paige mentioned that benchmarks can vary greatly depending on vertical, market size, and other factors, so rather than guaranteeing a precise number of people moving into homes, like a performance marketing or guaranteed lead program, they’ll instead offer up an estimated conversion rate based off of similar campaigns.

Although the discussion could have gone on for much longer, we wanted to respect our panelists’ time and allow them to enjoy the rest of the conference. As campaign solutions analysts and managers, we gained a lot of insight into the evolving needs of today’s independent agencies and are excited to apply what we learned into our day to day work executing digital media buying campaigns on these new channels for our clients at Digilant.

Interested in learning about how your brand or agency can create and execute an innovative omni-channel digital media buying campaigns? Feel free to reach out to us about our custom programmatic offerings here.

SEM: What is it and Why Should it be part of your Digital Media Plan?

Search engine marketing is not something to miss out on when it comes to advertising to today’s digitally-oriented consumers. These are people who find answers to their most pressing, personal questions through a search bar — and they aren’t interested in searching for very long. Patience is limited and annoyance is rampant as users travel to the second or third pages of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). To serve them best whilst simultaneously increasing site traffic, a brand must strive to be a leading, first page result. Search engine marketing, or SEM, is the solution that, when navigated correctly, can increase a brand’s awareness by 80%. And as little as $5 per day can get a company started when choosing to work with pay per click (PPC) advertisements. 
SEM is an effective, low-cost solution that marketers and media planners across industries are using to increase site traffic. By using Google Ads, (a popular SEM management platform,) any business has the ability to double their marketing investment. Users can customize ads by type, consumer segment, and geographic location to reach the most promising, profitable searchers possible. And when SEM is paired with programmatic, a brand not only turns up on the first page, but does so in a relevant, highly engaging way. The following information serves as an SEM refresher for any brand hoping to become a leading search engine competitor in 2019 and beyond. By understanding this information, your company can surely rise to the top of the page and to the top of a consumer’s mind:

What SEM Terms Should A Brand Become Familiar With?
The following concepts are essentials. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, marketers and media planners become better prepared for SEM implementation and management. How, when, and to what degree they’re used depends on the brand’s desired goals:

  • SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages: The pages chock full of ads and links that pop up when a consumer conducts an online search query.
  • DAs, or Domain Authority: The strength of a domain that determines its placement on a SERP. This term was coined by Moz, an SEO software company, and compares the power of one domain to another, (allowing the stronger, more applicable site to show up first.)
  • Paid Keywords: Paid keywords come into play when a company pays to have their website show up near the top of a SERP. This is the allocation of funds toward certain keywords or phrases that a target consumer would likely type into a search bar. By paying to be associated with certain words, your brand is able to increase reach and site visibility to target audiences.
  • Organic Keywords: Organic keywords are unpaid words or phrases that trigger your website to show up in an SERP. These words lead to a natural ranking of websites based on search engine algorithms. To increase chances of being a top SERP link, a brand is encouraged to adjust their SEO practices as applicable, (i.e include popular search words in website links, titles, and descriptions).
  • Long-Tail Keywords: Longer queries that are recorded in a website’s search bar. These keywords are longer than three words and are typically highly specific questions or requests.
  • SEO vs. SEM: SEO, or search engine optimization, and SEM are used conjunctively to increase a brand’s visibility on a SERP. SEO is an unpaid tactic that falls under SEM and is all about researching, adjusting, and implementing certain tactics to make a brand’s content a top SERP result. SEM, or search engine marketing, involves both SEO and paid (possibly PPC) search ads or listings. It’s the larger umbrella term that accounts for any initiative made by a brand — paid or unpaid — to reach more people from a desired SERP placement.

What are the Common Search Ad Formats?

  • Traditional PPC Text Ads: Text-based advertisements that can be found at the top, bottom, or side of organic SERP listings. These postings must display themselves as ads, (via icon or statement) and are only paid for when a consumer clicks on them. A brand chooses which keywords trigger these ads to appear and what circumstances to take into consideration, including timing, location, and demographics. These ads operate on a bidding system, so the higher a brand pays, the higher their website is displayed, post-inquiry.
  • Google Shopping Ads: Search engine shopping ads are commonly used by e-commerce retailers. These ads pair photos with product details and are displayed on SERPs and Google’s Shopping tab. They pertain to certain keywords, (paid or organic) and compare prices to similar products posted by other merchants.
  • Display Ads: Google’s Display Network can be used to promote display ads on Google’s search engine and alternate sites. These photo or video ads appear naturally as users peruse through hundreds of websites and apps. Brands can even choose to serve up retargeting PPC display ads to consumers who had already purchased from them or visited their site within a certain timeframe. It’s a strategy that reaches 90% of internet users globally, allowing companies to reach users off-site in an attempt to reign in interest at a low cost.
  • Video Ads: Video ads have been increasing in popularity thanks to advancements in the form of faster speeds and higher-quality digital platforms. YouTube — purchased by Google in 2006 — is now the third most visited site on the web. More than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every single day. To hone in on this market, more advertisers are beginning to communicate with target audiences via video ads across video platforms. These PPC ads can be displayed in the form of banners, in-stream video ads and in-video overlay ads.

Why Pair SEM With Programmatic?
SEM initiatives are promising. But when SEM is paired with programmatic, expect even greater results. The data gathered from consumers through programmatic campaigns is extremely insightful. Having this information on-hand can help marketers gain an understanding about the audiences they’re hoping to target with SEM. Knowing how, when, and why someone searches can assist advertisers in writing ad copy, choosing keywords, and reaching the right people on the right sites. Simply put: programmatic is the roadmap that tells you exactly what a consumer is searching for. And our team at Digilant can assist in combining the two together to reach the strongest results possible. For more information, learn about our Search Engine+ Solution here, which unlocks quality URLs and relevant ad placements for brands across industries.

2019 Travel & Tourism Trends: A Digital Marketer’s Programmatic Passport

Summer is a little over a month away and digital consumers are just a search, scroll, and click away from taking advantage of the flexibility that the season grants, as many take a break from their day-to-day and book the perfect getaway. As one of the largest industries, projected to reach $2.4 trillion in the next ten years, digital marketers need to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, especially as consumers continue to utilize online booking capabilities.
Nearly half of travelers begin trip planning with a search engine, 30% on social media and 23% watch videos, so utilizing the power of digital advertising and ensuring your brand is front-and-center in the planning process is key. It’s essential for marketers/media planners to understand the different types of travelers, how they are deciding where to go, when they’re booking and how to reach them in order to execute a winning programmatic campaign. So, Digilant has complied an infographic, based on industry research and insights, outlining the answers to all these questions.

The infographic features:

1. The Different Types of Travelers

There are key generational differences between travelers – what they are seeking, when they book and their most desirable destinations.

2. How and When Travelers Book:

Consumers are booking last-minute trips and activities now more than ever, especially on mobile.

3. The Impact of Social Media on Travel

Younger travelers prioritize sharing their trips on Instagram, so much so that they will not book a destination if it isn’t  #instaworthy.

4. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Hone in on the business traveler with artificial intelligence who are quickly moving from destination to destination so they’re looking for any way to make their traveling easier.

5. The Power of Programmatic… Next Steps

Digilant has outlined our top tips to make sure all digital marketers are ready for a successful 2019 summer travel season.

Interested in expanding your travel or tourism brands’ digital marketing presence? Reach out to us here to learn more.

Programmatic: A Great Fit for Retail Brands

Retail brands are beginning to outfit themselves head-to-toe in programmatic. The fashion industry is evolving quickly for small boutiques, large wholesale chains, and everything in between, and consumer shopping habits are changing. Technological advancements have made shopping digitally simple, (and, for the most part, preferred) but ample consumers still find joy in shopping at brick-and-mortar locations. So how can programmatic be used both online and offline to effectively reach today’s active, digitally-minded consumers? This year, more than 95% of retailers are planning to increase their online media spending significantly. And as more people shop for clothes —  something that will never go out of style — the more pertinent programmatic becomes. As a media planner or marketer working in fashion, consider the following information as you begin to allocate your attention to the digital space:

Why Now? What’s Been Holding the Fashion Industry Back?

The apparel industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. People find joy in buying and creating outfits, but shopping habits have become confusing. Today’s consumers are especially mixed when it comes to how and where they buy their newest attire. That being said, data has become an essential competitive advantage among retailers of any size. It unlocks information about past shopping habits, item preferences, geographic locations, and so on. But many fashion brands don’t know where to begin when it comes to using, (and finding) data to personalize offers and enhance retail experiences. Other industries are soaring ahead when it comes to using programmatic as those in fashion are held back, hesitant and confused. This hasn’t been a voluntary choice for many. Ample retailers are constrained by fast fashion’s rapidly changing discounts and product assortments. SKU numbers are complex and competition for ad space is intense. What’s worse, ⅓ of fashion brands currently lack the expertise necessary to realize the full potential, power, and profitability of digital marketing. Simply put: the fashion industry has been missing out on digital because it’s a field that hasn’t been prioritized. Through data enforcement and the creation of new, in-house tech teams, retailers have the power to leap ahead of age-old industry roadblocks. And by implementing programmatic, (or the buying and selling of ads in-real-time) communication can be established with consumers in seconds. It’s the digital tool retailers have been hoping for that keeps up with the industry’s speed while simultaneously increasing brand awareness.

What are the Pros of Programmatic?

The consumers of today are practically feeding their personal information into the digital space. The phones in their hands, the receipts at the bottom of their bags — the data readily available to fashion brands is alarming. Programmatic makes this data mean something. And its benefits, highlighted below, can reap major rewards for those hoping to dominate the retail space in 2019 and beyond:

  • It stresses personalization: Less than 10% of fashion brands are personalizing communications via email, paid social, and display advertisements. But with programmatic, a tool that uses data to individually reach people at the right place and time, past marketing behavior becomes revolutionized. What’s most interesting about this lack of digital personalization is the fact that retail is known for forming personalized, mutually beneficial relationships with consumers. Thankfully, with programmatic, the same can be done in the digital space. It’s a tool that allows a brand to greet, understand, and recognize consumers again in a luxurious and intimate way.

 

  • It expands reach: Programmatic strengthens relationships with current consumers. It can also help retailers reach future consumers who are likely to be attracted to their brand’s offerings. In an industry that is always expanding and growing, this ability to target lookalikes with catered products and services has become increasingly important.

 

  • It creates an impressive data portfolio: Data gathered from programmatic initiatives can be altered at any time. Messaging can be amplified, designs can be changed — It streamlines creative with numbers to paint a picture of total campaign effectiveness. Programmatic’s data builds a single view of every single consumer a company comes into contact with. It records how they react to ads and, most importantly, what actions they take after seeing them. From there, a brand has the power to use what was learned in the past to create a stronger future.

More and more consumers are beginning to expect personalized treatment from brands across industries. In fashion, retailers that plan to use technology, especially in the form of programmatic, to better understand the past, present, and future behavior of consumers will rise ahead. They’ll obtain optimal market share, awareness, and satisfaction from consumers. And as the landscape of retail changes daily across touchpoints, they’ll be the digital, confident, well dressed stores left standing.

Jewelry, Watches and Digital: The Perfect Match


After decades of reaching consumers behind clear displays of beautiful diamonds, rings, and necklaces, jewelry brands are beginning to notice changes in consumer behavior. In just a few short years, the physical and virtual paths to purchase have converged. Partly because of the adoption of mobile devices and social networks, but also because of how jewelry brands are starting to market their products. Once rooted in traditional modes of advertising and customer service, the jewelry category is starting to shift more and more of their attention to digital advertising channels to keep glimmering in the eyes of consumers.

Think for a moment about how your customers are experiencing your brand today. Where do they learn about new products and collections? Which channels or devices do they use to interact with your brand? Do they look to social media channels to find information about your brand? At what point does a customer make a purchase? Where do they make that purchase? Online? In-store?

These are all questions jewelry brand marketers should ask themselves. The answers to these questions are not straight forward and are indicative of a new customer journey – a journey that is more maze-like than it is linear, especially when we consider millennial and gen z audiences.

With digital advertising, companies have the power to share engaging stories and make product introductions directly with consumers via programmatic, search, social, native, influencer ads and beyond. These virtual touchpoints are lower cost than traditional ad placements like print and OOH and accelerate the path to purchase whether consumers make purchases right from their mobile device or desktop or in-store at their local retailer.

To keep up with the rapidly changing jewelry category landscape, brands need to take an integrated approach to market and advertising – one that embraces the efficiencies that digital advertising brings and focuses on a seamless customer journey that includes the online brand experience. To give you a leg up, we’ve laid out four things to consider for developing your digital advertising strategy.

  1. Audience targeting in digital can be surgical. Stop wasting budget and impressions on more traditional channels like OOH, TV, and radio where the ability to reach your target audience is limited. Be sure to leverage data like household income, geo-location, and even shopping history to find consumers more likely to buy from your brand.
  2. Online advertising results in in-store purchases. Make sure you have a framework in place to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing spend.
  3. Make sure your co-op program and national programs complement each other. These two budgets should be working together to reach and convert your target audience.
  4. Your brand is one of your most important assets. Be sure to have a plan to ensure your creative is showing up on premium publishers alongside content that elevates your brand.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of incorporating programmatic advertising to your brand’s advertising efforts? Contact us here.

Apple Takes a Big Bite Out of the OTT Marketplace

On Monday, March 25th the cord cutting trend was celebrated in Cupertino, California. Apple streamed their event which featured exuberant introductions to the company’s new credit card, Apple News Plus app, and Apple Arcade outlet. The announcement regarding Apple TV updates – primarily the introduction to Apple TV Plus – was dramatically saved for last. High-energy clips of the company’s upcoming original content were plastered across the big screen. Well known actors, actresses, and directors (including Big Bird from Sesame Street) strolled onto the stage. The world of Hollywood and the realm of tech combined seamlessly as crowds erupted in applause. But what does this match mean for the future of cord cutting? And how does this new option stand out in today’s crowded streaming arena? Society’s preconceived notion of television is quickly changing pace and consumers are unsure how to keep up. There are millions of routes to follow when it comes to watching desirable content. Apple TV Plus, though exciting, will only contribute to this confusion after launching later in the year.

Apple TV Updates: What’s Happening Here?

Apple is known for insane technology that challenges the old and puts users first. As this predominantly product-oriented company dips into the world of entertainment, the same principles ring true. The following is a recap of the new television-based updates that Apple users can expect to come into contact with over the course of 2019:

  • Apple TV Channels: A new section of the Apple TV app that will act as a house for all of a consumer’s favorite entertainment outlets. It’s a safe haven – a place where a user can easily access their third-party cable and streaming subscriptions, sans Netflix. Consumers will only pay for the services they desire and no advertising will be involved. Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, Hulu, HBO, Comedy Central, etc. have already agreed to participate, making it seem like a viable option to cable users who are bombarded with tons of channels at once. This new outlet is expected to launch on Apple TV in May and across Mac devices in the fall.
  • Apple TV Plus: This is where the brand’s original content comes into play. This is the platform chock full of shows, movies, and documentaries that Apple hopes will propel them above the ranks of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. It is an ad-free streaming service, accessed on and off Apple TV devices (think Smart TVs, Roku, Amazon devices) that will offer curated, one-of-a-kind entertainment to viewers. New shows will become available each month and episodes featuring the likes of Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Oprah, and Reese Witherspoon are already in the works. Pricing for access has not been released, but the quality of Apple’s original programming, (worth $2 billion) may call for a premium rate. Compare that spend to the $13 billion Netflix reserved for original content in 2018. Little about the platform has been revealed, but the stakes are high and the competition is on.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Television?

Consumers now have multiple OTT (over-the-top) television options when it comes to replacing cable services with streaming subscriptions once and for all. The typical streamer pays for three services and 60% of young professionals consider these services to be the best way to watch television. ⅔ of US households are still holding onto cable TV, however, due to its familiarity, ease, and access to hundreds of channels. Apple TV+ and Apple TV Channels challenge these areas by aligning the different types of entertainment into one hyper-organized platform. And because Apple has access to 1.4 billion Apple device users, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and cable companies need to be on the lookout. If everything – phones, watches, computers, and now, televisions – can be combined under one proactive, reputable brand, why wouldn’t a consumer be interested? That’s Apple’s competitive advantage, but users are unpredictable. Loyalties and perceptions are all over the grid. To assume that everyone will drop competitors for that shiny Apple logo is a strong statement to make. But cord-cutting – or the act of leaving linear TV behind – is a trend that keeps on growing. The number of OTT video service viewers is expected to rise to 188.3 million by 2020 and there are now more subscriptions to streaming platforms than there are subscriptions to cable and satellite providers. The addition of Apple TV Plus will add to these numbers significantly. At the end of 2019, expect to feel the pressure of leaving linear behind for good. And if you’re already a cord cutter, expect to be faced with even more services and payment options as Apple TV + runs onto the digital playing field.

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